The song ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ was originally written and performed by Roger Miller, although you might recognize it from Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson or any number of other artists. I’ve always loved the song and it is one of the many that define to me my picture of the United States of America (the one of my youth rather that the one today that feels a lot more like the score for Les Misérables!).
In fact each trip I’ve taken to the USA has been accompanied by its very own travelling playlist, part of which you can find HERE.
‘Me and Bobby McGee’ however was one of those that really hit home, and it was to our trip to ‘The South’ the same as Simon and Garfunkel was to my time in New York City (thanks to the ‘59th Street Bridge Song’, ‘America’ and many others).
Not only is Miller’s tune an evocative road song, it starts with a line that is one of the more sublime openings to a song I can recall. Busted flat in Baton Rouge.
So it was that we found ourselves passing across the Mississippi River to ‘Red Stick’ itself.
We only spent about an hour walking through the fog along the banks of the Mississippi watching riverboats poke out from beneath the mists, but it was one of the highlights of our trip. The day was young and there wasn’t much activity, but we paused at the Vietnam War memorial and took a look at a paddle steamer and a Naval ship before stopping at a familiar yellow consonant for breakfast and to be ridiculed for expecting coffee to be anything other than black bitter water.
Sated, and humming the chorus we headed on for New Orleans and ‘feeling good was easy…’