Joni Mitchell on “When Free is Not Enough”

A faithful reader sent in lyrics that seemed quite apropos to Ed’s piece yesterday on free music in the subway. Let’s post them. (Thanks John.)

Real Good for Free
©1974 by Joni Mitchell

I slept last night in the Fairmont Hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
Wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools

I was standing on the noisy corner
I was waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood and he played real good
On his clarinet for free

Now me, I play for fortune
And those velvet curtain calls
I got a black limousine and sixteen gentlemen
Escorting me to these halls

And I play if you have the money
Or if you’re some kind of friend to me
But the one man band by the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good for free

Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he’d never been on their TV
So they passed his good music by

I meant to go over to him and ask for a song
Maybe put on some kind of harmony
I heard his refrain as that signal changed
He was playing real good, for free.



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