BALL AND CHAIN

Jim at Song Lyric Sunday has asked us to share our thoughts
about musicians who are members of legendary “27 Club”.
My contribution today is the one and only Janis Joplin.

Janis Joplin, one of the most successful and widely-known female rock stars of her era, was born on January 19, 1943. On the evening of Sunday, October 4, 1970 Janis was found dead on the floor at the Landmark Motor Hotel by her road manager. The cause of death was a heroin overdose; she was only 27 years old. Janis was cremated and her ashes were scattered from a plane into the Pacific Ocean. Hard to believe in two days we will observe the 52nd anniversary of her death. 

The passing of Janis Joplin stunned her fans and shocked the music world, especially when coupled with the death just 16 days earlier of another rock icon, Jimi Hendrix, also at the age of 27. Music historian Tom Moon wrote that “Joplin had a devastatingly original voice” and music columnist Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that Janis as an artist was “overpowering and deeply vulnerable”.

I think you will all agree that is true as we listen to one of her most famous songs – Ball and Chain.

Lyrics

Sittin’ down by my window
Honey, lookin’ out at the rain
Lord, Lord, Lord, sittin’ down by my window
Baby, lookin’ out at the rain
Somethin’ came along, grabbed a hold of me
And it felt just like a ball and chain
Honey, that’s exactly what it felt like
Honey, just dragging me down

And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now hon’, tell me why
Why does every single little tiny thing I hold on goes wrong?
Yeah it all goes wrong, yeah
And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now babe, tell me why
Why does everything, everything
Hey, here you gone today, I wanted to love you
Honey, I just wanted to hold you, I said, for so long
Yeah! Alright! Hey!

Love’s got a hold on me, baby
Feels just like a ball and chain
Now, love’s just draggin’ me down, baby, yeah
Feels like a ball and chain
I hope there’s someone out there who could tell me
Why the man I love wanna leave me in so much pain
Yeah, maybe, maybe you could help me, come on, help me!

And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now hon’, tell me why
Now tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me why, yeah
And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, when I ask you
When I need to know why, c’mon tell me why, hey hey hey
Here you’ve gone today
I wanted to love you and hold you
Till the day I die
I said whoa, whoa, whoa!

And I say oh, whoa, whoa, no honey
It ain’t fair, daddy it ain’t fair what you do
I see what you’re doin’ to me and you know it ain’t fair
And I say oh, whoa whoa now baby
It ain’t fair, now, now, now, what you do
I said hon’ it ain’t fair what, hon’ it ain’t fair what you do
Oh, here you gone today and all I ever wanted to do
Was to love you
Honey an’ I think there can be nothing wrong with that
Only it ain’t wrong, no, no, no, no, no

Sittin’ down by my window
Lookin’ at the rain
Lord, Lord, Lord, sittin’ down by my window
Lookin’ at the rain, see the rain
Somethin’ came along, grabbed a hold of me
And it felt like a ball and chain
Oh this can’t be in vain
And I’m gonna tell you one just more time, yeah, yeah!

And I say oh, whoa whoa, now baby
This can’t be, no this can’t be in vain
And I say no no no no no no no no, whoa!
And I say whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Now now now now now now now now now no no not in vain
Hey, hope there is someone that could tell me
Hon’, tell me why
Hon’, tell me why love is like
Just like a ball
Just like a ball
Baaaaaaalllll
Oh daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy
And a chain
Yeah!

Songwriters: Willie Mae Thornton

Ball and Chain lyrics © Kenwon Music, Cristeval Music

Song Lyric Sunday: Ball and Chain – The Elephants Trunk

INEFFABLE

Piano music drifted up to her as she leisurely strolled the aisles of the exclusive Manhattan department store .. not the unremarkable, annoying background Muzak one usually hears in waiting rooms and elevators. No, this was definitely different. 

Being a devotee of the piano, she was convinced no one else in the world could possibly love its sound more than she. Enchanted, she felt compelled to find the source of the music. 

As she approached the escalator, the volume increased minutely. Gliding down, gently floating closer and closer, she realized “this is LIVE music”.

Arriving at the store’s café level, she stood still, tilting her head slightly in the direction of the beckoning music. Sensing an invisible hand on the small of her back, she swayed slightly as the unmistakable melody of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” trickled above the polite chatter of the ladies who lunch. 

 “Someone is definitely playing the piano” she thought, quickly adding “Oh, please, don’t let it be one of those self-playing digital pianos.” 

Now the music was clearly audible and she followed the winding hallway from the escalator into the center of the café area. Suddenly standing before her in all its glory was a glimmering ebony Steinway baby grand. The lid was open, revealing the hammers and strings, but concealing the pianist .. if there even was one. 

As if on cue, she heard a silky rich voice as smooth as Maker’s Mark Bourbon singing and she imagined Harry Connick or Frank Sinatra. “Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.” As she made her way around the curves of the Steinway, the illusive piano man came into view. She kept her eyes downcast, afraid to look, and just listened as this sorcerer cast his spell on her. 

Slowly she raised her head to surreptitiously glance at the singer. He wasn’t the handsome, debonair Harry or Frank .. actually, he looked more like Woody Allen .. but when he caught her eye everything fell away and all that mattered was the here and now. She approached him tentatively, her hand gliding along the piano, eyes still locked with his. 

Ruefully she thought to herself “Why do I always fall in love with musicians? I would follow this man anywhere.” The feelings deep within her heart, her body, her soul were ineffable ..  impossible to comprehend. She sat beside him on the piano bench, their legs touching. 

Please”, she whispered in his ear. “Don’t ever stop playing!” 

NAR © 2018

FOWC with Fandango: Embrace