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Help: Me and Bobby McGee

02 Nov 01 - 03:07 PM (#584899)
Subject: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Francis

Hi. Does anybody of you know what's the meaning of Janis Joplin's *Me & Bobby McGee*??? The backround or the history, perhaps? I love this song, but I can't understand all.

Thanx, .F.


02 Nov 01 - 03:20 PM (#584908)
Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: ME AND BOBBY MCGEE (Kristofferson)
From: UB Ed

Me And Bobby McGee
by Kris Kristofferson / Fred Foster

(G) Busted flat in Baton Rouge, heading for the train
Feeling nearly faded as my (D) jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained
Took us all away to New Or(G)leans
I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana
And was blowing sad while Bobby sang the (C) blues
With those windshield wipers slapping time
And (G) Bobby clapping hands we finally
(D) Sung up every song that driver (G) knew

(C) Freedom's just another word, for (G) nothing left to lose
(D) Nothing ain't worth nothing but it's (G) free
(C) Feeling good was easy Lord when (G) Bobby sang the blues
(D) Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby Mc(G)Gee

(A) From the coal mines of Kentucky to the California sun
Bobby shared the secrets of my (E) soul
Standing right beside me Lord through every thing I done
Every night she kept me from the (A) cold
Then somewhere near Salinas Lord I let her slip away
Searching for the home I heard she (D) owned
And I'd give all my tomorrows for a (A) single yesterday
(E) Holding Bobby's body close to (A) mine

(D) Freedom's just another word, for (A) nothing left to lose
(E) Nothing ain't worth nothing but it's (A) free
(D) Feeling good was easy Lord when (A) Bobby sang the blues
(E) Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby Mc(A)Gee


02 Nov 01 - 03:21 PM (#584911)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST

Taken from this page:

This song is very powerful and has great meaning. Undoubtedly, noone can really understand the true underlying meaning better than the writer, Kris Kristofferson. In an interview he gave with The Dallas Morning News in 1990, he expressed deep emotion when talking about the song. In the interview he stated, "I was writing about the irony of personal freedom. It's like a two-edges sword. The freest you are, the loneliest you are. But it's something that I need."


02 Nov 01 - 03:34 PM (#584927)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Jack the Sailor

I thought it was about hitchhiking and losing a girlfriend. I never realized Chris was so deep!


02 Nov 01 - 03:46 PM (#584933)
Subject: Lyr Add: ME AND BOBBY MCGEE (Kris Kristofferson)
From: GUEST,Fiver

What don't you understand? Here are the lyrics, from the DigiTrad:

ME AND BOBBY MCGEE
(Kris Kristofferson)

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train
Feeling near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before a rain
Rode us all the way to New Orleans
I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana
I was playing soft while Bobby sang the blues
With the windshield wipers slapping time
And Bobby holdin' hands with mine
We sang up every song that driver knew

Cho: Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose
Nothing don't mean nothing but it's free
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee

From the coal mines of Kentucky to the California sun
Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Standing right beside me, Lord, through everything we done
Every night she kept me from the cold
One day near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away
Lookin' for that home I hope she finds,
I'd trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday
Holding Bobby's body next to mine

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose
Nothing left is what she left for me;
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues
Feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee

The song is about a man who hitch-hiked around the country with a woman named Bobby McGee. In the first verse, he remembers a time that she got a ride for them, and he played the harmonica while sang for the driver. ( Some people wonder he could have played the harmonica and held hands with her at the same time). In the second verse, he lists many of the places that they traveled and explains that she left him near Salinas,(a town in the agricultural country in California) because she wanted to settle down, and he just kept travelling--In the end, he regrets that he let her go, because being with her and listening to her sing, was the most important thing in her life.

Is that what you wanted to know?


02 Nov 01 - 03:57 PM (#584944)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Steve in Idaho

No no no no Fiver - it was the most important thing in HIS life -

I'd use the blue clicky thingy but am to butt stupid to figure it out *BG*

Steve

BTW - If you are new - Welcome and ignore the rantings and love the intrigue!


02 Nov 01 - 04:00 PM (#584948)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Fiver

I meant to say "his life". and "busted flat" means that they had no money.


02 Nov 01 - 04:12 PM (#584956)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: SharonA

Thumbed a diesel down = hitchhiked, and the driver of an 18-wheel truck stopped to let Him & Bobby McGee ride in it
Harpoon = harmonica


02 Nov 01 - 04:36 PM (#584979)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Genie

Kris's original lyrics are more like the ones UB Ed posted above than they way Janis sang it (the ones Fiver posted). The original line did not have anyone holding hands and playing the "harpoon" at the same time. Also, the line " Nothing left is what she left for me," (or "Nothing, that's all that Bobby left me") was Janis's variation. Kris K.'s line was "Nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free.!"


02 Nov 01 - 04:46 PM (#584986)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Jack the Sailor

I guess the chorus, as it should, sums up the meaning of the song, having, no money, no home means freedom. But it also means loneliness. He'd like to still have both his freedom and the girl but he has lost that and wistfully remembers that time.


02 Nov 01 - 05:01 PM (#584995)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Fiver

Just thought I'd mention that I first heard this song by Gordon Lightfoot, and first knew of Kris Kristofferson as the person who wrote this song--Any idea which version of the lyrics he sang?


02 Nov 01 - 05:21 PM (#585005)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Francis

I thank you very much!!!


02 Nov 01 - 09:03 PM (#585121)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Jon Freeman

Drifiting off the answer but tell me something, I'm I alone in wishing they were the one in the truck with Bobby McGee? Nothing to loose but the friend/love with you. I'd never be brave enough in real life though - it just paints a sort of dream picture to me.

Jon


02 Nov 01 - 10:42 PM (#585157)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Art Thieme

Schizophrenia means you never have to dine alone.

Art


03 Nov 01 - 09:02 AM (#585299)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: jaze

I think its a great romantization(?) of the old "hippie dream" of being free to go where life takes you, and finding love along the way. Reality sucks doesn't it?


03 Nov 01 - 09:41 AM (#585307)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: John P

jaze, do you mean that the reality of job/home/family sucks when compared to the dream of freedom? I grew up during the hippie era and was fed that dream as a desirable thing. I think most ads for SUVs are the sad descendants of that whole ideal. What I have come to realize, however, is that being free to go where life takes one not only causes lonliness, it prevents one from being fulfilled in some important ways. Somewhere along the line from my hippie roots I bought a house, have been working the same job for twelve years, and have been married for sixteen years. What I have found is not a loss of freedom, but rather the addition of a sense of roots. I used to say, "Be Here Now", but now I finally feel all the way here -- emotionally and physically as well as spirtiually.

The singer of the song lost Bobby McGee and regretted it, as well he should. There is nothing quite like being in love with someone for decades, knowing that there is someone you know so deeply and can trust so completely. I guess I'm lucky -- a lot of guys my age feel trapped by their marraiges and their mortgages and their jobs. I feel empowered, and that helps make me free.

Nah, reality doesn't suck at all.

John


03 Nov 01 - 10:13 AM (#585321)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Uncle_DaveO

Second the motion, John! After thirty-seven years, I'd marry her again tomorrow! This afternoon! In ten minutes!

Dave Oesterreich


03 Nov 01 - 10:27 AM (#585327)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Maxine

Am new to all this so hi everyone. Just thought I'd say I love Gordon Lightfoot's version of this song but struggle listening to Janis Jopplin - all that screeching - is it just me? Having said that, I like anything Gordon Lightfoot does. Kris Kristoffersens is great too. A great song to sing on your own in the car, when you can really go for it! maxine


03 Nov 01 - 10:46 AM (#585339)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Amos

Janis' screeching, as you label it, is part of her trademark style, a sort of vamped up hyper-emotional blues style which tears the vocal cords apart in its urgency of expression. Bobbie McGee is probably not the best sample to use to appreciate the power of the style. It is more melodic than a traditional blues form, and more of a ballad in some ways. Find some core blues numbers she has cut and it will seem, perhaps, more appropriate. She was a very whole-heart gutsy singer, took a lot of risks musically and personally, died young.

A


03 Nov 01 - 11:24 AM (#585360)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Jeri

Jon - sorta, but it's just a fantasy. I've been in a rather crappy mood lately. Last night, on the way to the session, I thought about stuffing the car full of clothes, food, and sleeping gear, and just taking off on one big road trip. I couldn't come up with anywhere to go, though. I couldn't come up with realistic reasons for going anywhere, and all the crap I wanted to leave behind would come along with me in my head. I think there's fodder for a song in there - something about -
"I wanted to leave my worries behind,
But I carried them along in my own mind.
Oh, I was the baggage I was trying to unload
And my own private (insert name of horrible place you've lived) was every place along the road."

I guess we all have starting-over fantasies. That's why songs like Bobby McGee - hobo songs, really - are so popular. In reality, those guys were probably pretty miserable.


03 Nov 01 - 11:54 AM (#585379)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Big John

Nobody can give that song the "HEART" that Chris puts into it. Personally, I like Jerry Lee Lewis's semi-rock version.


03 Nov 01 - 12:22 PM (#585395)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Biskit

Dear UB ED, I've never noticed, certainly never played it that way, but the song begins in the mellow key of (G) and then at the begining of verse 2 you change it to the key of (A) now I've played this song in both (G) and (A) but never at the same time....am I missing out on a new form of musical expression?? or am I just being blinded by a childish need to be sarcastic...(sigh) I tried playin' it with the change, and it really sucked perhaps due to bias ie; (I've played it this way so long I know it has to be right....) Help me out here EH! PEACE ~Biskit~ ;p


03 Nov 01 - 01:15 PM (#585416)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Frug

Biskit..........The step up to A is correct as written and performed by Kristofferson.

Frank


07 Nov 01 - 04:24 PM (#587736)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: UB Ed

Bisket, sarcasm is a high artform and not the least bit childish. Reference Spaw.

The version I gave came from a Dogpile search; I personally have never modulated to A, but now that you mention it, I have heard versions that do. (We know Kris did; did Janis?).

I think if you play the first A for one measure to establish the new key before vocals might work.

Ed


07 Nov 01 - 05:04 PM (#587762)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Steve in Idaho

I've been taught how to do the key change - and it adds "Drama" to the second "loss"/line/verse of the song. But I play/sing it in G and don't modulate to A cause I've never done it. I always forget when I'm singing it to do this - I'm not a purist so don't go by my account!

Steve


07 Nov 01 - 05:49 PM (#587794)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: SharonA

Sorry, Amos, but I agree with Maxine: trademark-vamped-up-hyper-emotional-blues style or not, Joplin's vocals still sound like screeching, and she is indeed a struggle to listen to. I also agree, Maxine, that Lightfoot's music is great to listen to (and sing with) while driving!


07 Nov 01 - 08:44 PM (#587918)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: catspaw49

I'm always surprised that no one mentions Ramblin Jack's version of this song......Starts out with him talking about trucks.....it's great. I suppose the song would be okay even if he started by talking about Osterizer blenders, but the truck thing is a tad more appropriate I think........

Spaw


08 Nov 01 - 07:36 AM (#588133)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Steve Latimer

The best version I've heard of this is Willie Nelson sped up, almost rocked up version from the Willie Sings Kristofferson Album.


08 Nov 01 - 01:36 PM (#588351)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Nick

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Gratefull Dead Version of this song.

Alos I wonder if the line is not " I pulled my harp on outa, my dirty red bandana... not harpoon."


08 Nov 01 - 01:47 PM (#588368)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,maxine

Thanks SharonA I think maybe we're more 'folky' than 'bluesy' Still, that can only be a good thing eh?


21 Sep 12 - 12:33 AM (#3408077)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST

so anyway i play one o them harpoons they mention in the song... anyway... my question is about the key change, does it change to A?


21 Sep 12 - 02:10 AM (#3408087)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: michaelr

yep


21 Sep 12 - 06:26 AM (#3408152)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,henryp

Roger Miller recorded this - and was apparently the first person to record a song by Kris Kristofferson.


21 Sep 12 - 08:21 AM (#3408179)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Well, of course, the composing credits to this song list the writers as Kris K and Fred Foster, but it appears that Fred simply gave Kris the song's title i.e. "Me and Bobby McGee", and Kris went away and constructed a whole song from that. Interesting.


21 Sep 12 - 10:39 AM (#3408218)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: PHJim

I have never heard a harmonica referred to as a "harpoon" except in this song. I've heard "mouth organ", "mouth harp", "French harp", even "blues harp" (though that is properly more a description of a playing style than the instrument itself). I think Kris must've coined that term. As popular as the song is, the term "harpoon" never really caught on.


21 Sep 12 - 10:53 AM (#3408221)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST

Somehow, this thread reminds me of an ol Dennis Miller line:
We watched "Smoky an the Bandit", and then had a discussion group about it.


21 Sep 12 - 11:17 AM (#3408231)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: PHJim

I forgot "tin sandwich" in my previous post.

I did find another place where the harp is called a harpoon.

Paul deLay Band - Harpoon Man


21 Sep 12 - 04:43 PM (#3408398)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: GUEST

I dropped the 'oon' and just sing ' I took my old harp out of ...' because it didnt make sense to me.

The key change goes up one whole tone

hated johnny cash's version

J Jops version is just J J doing her vocals thing and sod the song lyric

in the U k , during a moment of flash boredom bordering on inspiration one day I substituted - for a joke - Milton Keynes for New O

And somewhere near St Albans Lord she took the wrong slipway and headed south on the M25


22 Sep 12 - 06:55 AM (#3408614)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: Shimbo Darktree

Great song ... but then, I'm a Kristoffersen fan (both his writing and singing ... not to mention his acting).

I've tried both styles of life i.e. wandering homeless, and the suburbanite worker. Seems to me there is good and bad in both life styles, and the feeling of freedom is largely subjective - you either feel good, or you don't. I can understand what feelings may have prompted the song. If you read other lyrics Kris has written, you can find much deep thought and feeling.

Should there be a group of threads labelled "Deep and meaningful discussions"? Now, now - put down the hoe! I'm just trying to lift the mood a little ... no screams of anguish please.

Shimbo


22 Sep 12 - 07:36 AM (#3408625)
Subject: RE: Help: me & bobby mcgee
From: kendall

I'm with Maxine on this. I hate screeching on key almost as much as screeching off key.
Jeri, as the saying goes, "No matter where you go, there you are."

Someone said, "The problem is, when you get there, there's no there there."