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Old 12-23-2014, 05:39 PM   #1
charlene
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Default BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

http://www.wsj.com/articles/novelist...gee-1419349195 Dec. 23, 2014 10:39 a.m. ET

Historical novelist Wilbur Smith, 81, is the author of 35 books, including his latest, “Desert God” ( William Morrow ). He lives in South Africa and spoke to Marc Myers.

I first heard “Me and Bobby McGee” in 1971 while on safari in Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe]. One night after we made camp and set up our radio, Gordon Lightfoot ’s hushed version came on. The song was completely at home in the bush, and I was swept away.

Weeks later, when we returned home to Cape Town, South Africa, I discovered that Lightfoot’s single was a hit there and that the song was actually by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster. Like all great American country songs, “Bobby McGee” tells a colorful story that you can really feel, since all of us have a sad story to tell or still have regrets.

“Bobby McGee” is about an American couple with wanderlust. As written, the story is told from the perspective of a man singing ruefully about his ex-girlfriend, Bobby, their breakup and his wish that he hadn’t let the relationship fall apart when she left him in Salinas, Calif. In the song, the pair split up as Bobby, fed up with the road, seeks to settle down while the singer prefers to remain a carefree drifter: “Every night she kept me from the cold / Then somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away / Lookin’ for the home I hope she’ll find.”

In Lightfoot’s version, I love that there’s light rhythmic thigh-slapping that sounds like flames snapping against an evening campfire log. Once I knew that Kristofferson had written the lyrics, I became a fan and looked at him differently. You sense he’s a chap who has had his ups and downs. His face is full of character, and he has a smiley mouth and sad eyes. Clearly, he has lived his lyrics.

Recently, my wife and I were in the States driving to Salinas to see the John Steinbeck House. We were so taken with the area that we began singing “Me and Bobby McGee” without the music on. I messed up some lyrics and my wife, who is Persian, mixed up the English a bit. But that didn’t stop us—we sang it in salute. As Kristofferson wrote in “Bobby McGee,” “Feelin’ good was good enough for me.”
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

I am ashamed! I am not worthy! I thought Gord wrote the song. I looked it up, and sure enough, Kristofferson and Foster wrote it, making it one on the relatively few songs Gord re-made over the years. Along with "The Auctioneer", "Ring Them Bells", and who knows how many others?
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

In about 1969-70 I was living in Lancaster California. I played some acoustic guitar. Used to listen to a radio station in LA which had a program every week night called
The Folk Show. The host was a DJ named Skip Weshner and his wife who he called "Beautiful". Hmm. That might make a good song title. But, I digress. Sometimes he would play the same song by several artists back to back and compare their interpretations. One night he played "Me and Bobby McGee" by 4 artists. The last version was Gordon Lightfoot's. That was the first time I ever heard Gordon.
It was the greatest baritone voice I ever heard. It was a revelation. My life changed.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:24 PM   #4
charlene
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Default Re: BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

Gordon speaks of Kris and the tune in the 1971/1972 BBC show - not sure where it is in the setlist or if it's in part 1 or 2 but here's both links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TQ2...2VUFbyDc#t=162

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05DO...=RD6TQ2VUFbyDc
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

His comments about Kris Kristofferson are at http://youtu.be/05DOyTVzgps?t=11m41s
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:18 PM   #6
charlene
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Default Re: BLOG posting - Lightfoot and Bobby McGee

setlist of show:
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