Freedom’s just another word

Janis Joplin “Me and Bobby McGee”

To call Janis Joplin a legend is not an exaggeration. So many musicians and singers have named her as their role model. Sadly, her moment in the sun was only fleeting but she left a legacy that still echos today.
Janis was born in Port


Arthur Texas in 1943. She first big break was in 1967 when she fronted Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Monterey Pop Festival and then as a solo artist in 1969 at the now legendary Woodstock Festival.
Her hits included this week’s track and “Piece of my Heart”, “Mercedes Benz” and Summertime”. She had a raw earthy blues voice and I picked “Me and Bobby McGee” written by Kris Kristofferson as a wonderful example of her work. Sadly, she died in October 1970 of a heroin overdose at the age of 27.
The song tells the story of two young people hitch hiking across America and contains this amazing line, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”. It struck me the first time I heard it and I have thought about it a lot over the years.
I was never that freewheeling spirit, travelling where the mood took me. I left school at 16 and started work straight away. Since then, I have been tied to things like my family, my kids, work and the truth is, I like that. To be truly free as an individual can mean being without all the things that have been important to me.
There is a more positive and beneficial side to freedom and that is our collective freedoms. In our country we do have many political freedoms such as the right to vote, the right to the protection of the law and to live in peace without the fear of violence and discrimination. Sadly, today I feel that these rights are under threat and we need to stand together to protect them.


Freedom’s just another word

A ship needs a harbour
A boat needs a dock
Trousers need a belt
Shoes need a sock

Sentences need words
You need tyres on a truck
A bathtub needs a plug
Lollies need a suck

A kiss needs lips
Nudists need the sun
Ducks need a puddle
Joggers need to run

Freedom needs limits
Floating voters need to float
Socialism needs planning
Democracy needs a vote

Children need a parent
Northern summers need heating
Problems need a solution
The Tories need defeating

Teresa May needs a backbone
Boris Johnson needs a gag
Jeremy needs our backing
He’s the only hope we have

© Jeff Price April 2018

There is an adult version of this poem Freedom’s just another word (adult version) if you would like to read it click the link

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