Be Free

logmessinaToday is Sunday, June 9, 2013.

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina recorded the song “Be Free” for their last album, entitled Native Sons, released early in 1976.  By the time it came out, I was married and was desperately trying to finish up my bachelor’s degree coursework at the University of Minnesota.  In 1977 I went to Japan to live with my then-husband.  After our divorce, I moved from Osaka to Tokyo all by myself.  I had only two friends, a Japanese friend in Tokyo, whom I had met while attending the university, and a high school classmate of mine named Jane.  The high school classmate had lived and taught English in Japan for a couple of years, then returned to the United States.  I remember her asking me, “Where is the love?”  Well, she found her love in the U.S. and immediately brought him back to Japan to live so that he could understand a bit of her life before marriage. To his credit, her husband put his business plans on hold and went with her for a two-year stint, never having traveled much outside his native Iowa.

When I was going through my divorce in 1981, Jane recorded some music for me on an audiotape.  Just before I left Osaka, one of my English students had gifted me with a SONY “Walkman” – the first truly mobile audio device since portable radios.  That Walkman and those pirated music tapes kept me sane those first few months after the divorce.  I would go home to my empty apartment after work, lie down on my futon (a mattress on the floor, not including a wooden frame, the way they do in the United States), put my headphones on and listen to song after song.

Later, I bought my own copy of Native Sons, and enjoyed listening to the whole album. I particularly loved this song, with its amazing instrumental opening, and long instrumental interlude.  These two men and their backup band were first-rate musicians.

Here is a link to the song.

Be Free  (K. Loggins)

I can see the world a-changing,
I can see it re-arranging,
Happening before my very eyes.

Everywhere the cement’s growing.
In the street the traffic’s flowing,
Ruining the air up in the skies.
It is no surprise.

I want to get away and live my life,
Near the rivers and trees,
I want to spend my days making wine and be free,
Be free (Be free, be free).

I can hear the cities calling,
Come on down, I can feel you falling,
Happening for all of us to see.

See the deepening cement hollow
Reaching out for those who follow,
Hunkering on far too many lies.
It is no surprise.

I want to get away and live my life,
In the rivers and trees,
I want to spend my days making wine,
And be free (be free, be free) and be free.

From the winds so far away,
I’ve had an inner vision,
I’ve seen the universe unfold.

[instrumental]

I can hear the school bell ringing,
From the yard the children singing,
Merrily, life is but a dream.

In the street there go the brothers,
Selling slow and ship to others,
Aiding those whose songs have turned to cries,
It is no surprise.

I want to get away and live my life,
In the rivers and trees,
I want to spend my days making wine,
And be free, and be free, and be free…

*** *** ***

logginsmessina2

A more recent photo of Loggins and Messina

The lyrics to the song, “Be Free” gave expression to my own desire to live outside of the constraints of a 9 to 5 job in a big city.   For the lyrics, “I want to spend my time making wine and be free,” I heard “I want to spend my time making right and be free.”  I assumed that meant “doing the right thing.”

These days, wine is no longer a part of my life, as my body can no longer handle alcohol, so I won’t be spending any time making wine.  I’m finally free, however.  I wish I could live in a little house in the country, instead of a cramped little apartment, but otherwise, I’m living life as I wish.  🙂

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