A Song from Joyce

Dear Friends of Joe Labriola,

I thought you might appreciate this song I wrote for our mutual Friend, Joe. It is a parody of a famous folk song, "Joe Hill." Many people know that melody and will be easily able to sing along.

Thank you for all you do to help Joe.

Your sister in hope and song,

  Joyce Katzberg


I Dreamed I Saw Joe Lab last night
Standing next to me
Says I, "But Joe, you're in the joint."
Says Joe, "But I am free."
Says Joe, But I am free."

But they framed you on a murder charge
In 1973
Because you fought in Vietnam
That's how it looks to me. (repeat)

There were no witnesses to call
No evidence to see
To prove that you had killed that man
The Judge, he did agree. (repeat)

But the jury, Joe, they heard the words
The prosecutor said
How you'd been trained to kill in "Nam"
That stuck inside their heads. (repeat)

The Judge he sentenced you to life
With no chance for parole.
Almost 40 years now behind bars
Nearly half that in "the hole."(repeat)

Then Joe, he very gently says
"Please listen now to me.
Behind these prison bars I live
But I'm completely free. (repeat)

I am innocent, it's true
Of what they say I've done
Though I did what I was told to do
When I wore a uniform. (repeat)

"Back then" he said, "I did believe
The lies that we were told
About the people and their land
And we all played dominoes. (repeat)

They pinned their medals on my chest
For bravery it's true
And for a while, I stood strong
With the proud, the brave and the few. (repeat)

Then came the fateful time I heard
Phil Ochs sing his songs
Yes, he had something to say to me
Of how the war was wrong. (repeat)

And deep down in my heart of hearts
I knew that Phil was right
I stopped recruiting for the war
No more marching off to fight. (repeat)

So, they may hold my body here
But my Spirit it is free
Of war and hatred of the world
And all it's miseries." (repeat)

I dreamed I saw Joe Lab last night
Standing next to me
Says I, "But Joe, you're in the joint"
Says Joe, "But I am free"
Says Joe, "But I am free".

Joyce Katzberg lyrics
Original song "Joe Hill" melody by Earl Robinson
Original lyrics by: Alfred Hayes

Return to top of page