Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix Perform “Summertime”

In the political novel The Iron Heel Jack London says the conflict
is always there, in our economic system, between capital and labor.
You can hear it in the way Janis belts out One of these mornings
you gonna rise up singing. Hendrix tosses in the lead-guitar-as-
exclamation-point so Janis can sing Child, you’re livin’ easy
and be sure we know the irony is that it’s a dream. Not real.
My friend, Stevie Conley, was at Woodstock. He tells me
Janis got falling-down drunk. That she talked a lot of shit.
She’s not talking shit here. She’s got a fear in her voice
says Jack London is right and we’re, all of us, doomed.
This version of the song is about that struggle between
wanting and needing and then receiving what you need.
The real trick is getting you to believe your daddy is rich,
your momma good looking. That we will rise up singing.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.


  1. Stevie Conley says:

    Love this one. Please give us more Roy Bentley

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