Live 12 Feb 1997 version

[Spoken intro:] I uh... played this next song last night and uh... it went over pretty good, so... Uh... but it needs a little explanation, it's uh... I go back to play at my Catholic school, Catholic grammar school, which I guess proves that the... the older you get, you can get nostalgic about just about anything. That's uh... it's kind of pathetic but what can I say? But anyway, I go back and uh... I mean there's a good reason in all that... I thought that was... But, uh... going back to my hometown, it's big fuss, you know, the newspapers are all outside and news crews, and "Hail the conquering hero" and all that stuff. And uh... uh... and, you know the dark side; I go into my... the little gym and, and all the, the nuns, they brought all the nuns back that taught me when I was in grammar school, you know (chuckles). And, and, you know, then all the priests are there and the bishop comes from Trenton, right? -- which is the capital of the state -- the bishop comes down for this auspicious occasion, and uh... I'm having these flashbacks and uh... (chuckles) doing as best as I can with the whole thing. Uh... But uh... anyway I guess, I write this song, which is sort of about growing up in my hometown. Usually most of the songs I write aren't sort of directly autobiographical, you try to avoid that. And uh... But this is like a page, you know, ripped, like you know, right out of my diary -- if I kept a diary, which I don't because as I was telling the folks last night, you can ask the Unabomber why that's a bad idea [crowd applauds]. But uh... (chuckles) But if I did keep a diary, this would be it, so... (chuckles) so I'm a little hesitant to even play the thing. I only played it at the hall that night and I screwed it all up. And uh... then I played it last night and I'll play it again, I guess. So you gotta sort of picture this... [cheers] so back in my hometown now, alright (chuckles), and I'm on the stage and all the nuns and the priests and the bishop is sitting out there in front of me, and uh... Here it goes, this is a song called "Freehold" [cheers]. Bless me Father for I've sinned! (chuckles) Woah, let's not get into that, alright.

I was born right here on Randolph Street in Freehold
Right behind that big red maple in Freehold
And I went to school right here
Got laid and had my first beer
In Freehold

[spoken:] So you can imagine I'm having second thoughts about it now
[spoken:] But uh... I sort of said "Fuck it, I'm committed, I gotta do it"

Well my folks all lived and worked right here in Freehold
I remember running up the street past the convent to the church here in Freehold
I chased my daddy down in these bars
Grew my hair long and fell in love with a guitar
Here in Freehold

I had my first kiss at the YMCA canteen on a Friday night
Maria Espinosa tell me where are you tonight
You were thirteen but way ahead of your time
I walked home with a limp but I felt just fine
That night in Freehold

Well the girls at my high school, hey, they all looked pretty fine
Had my heart broke at least a half a dozen times
I wonder do they miss me, do they still get the itch
Would they have dumped me if they knew I'd strike it rich
Straight out of Freehold

Tex rest in peace and Marion you gave us kids a hand in Freehold
My buddy Georgie, we started up a Rock And Roll band in Freehold
Yeah we learned pretty quick how to rock it
I'll never forget the feeling of that first five bucks in my pocket
That I earned in Freehold

I got outta here really hard and fast in Freehold
Back then everybody wanted to kick my ass in Freehold
Well if you were different, black or brown
Well it could be a pretty redneck town
Yeah Freehold

Something broke my daddy's back in Freehold
In '69 he left and he never come back
Except once he drove from California 3000 miles in three days
Just to call my relatives some dirty names
And pulled straight out of Freehold

Well my sister got pregnant at seventeen in Freehold
Back then people, well they could be pretty mean
Ah honey you had a rough road to go, now you ain't made of nothin' but soul
I love you more that you'll ever know
We both survived Freehold

Well my buddy Mike he's the mayor now in Freehold
I remember when we had a lot more hair in Freehold
I left and swore I'd never walk those streets again Jack
Now all I can say is "holy shit, I went back"
Back in Freehold

That summer, hey, everything was green in Freehold
Rode my kids on the fire engine through the streets of Freehold
I showed them where dad was born and raised
And first felt the sun on his face
In Freehold

Well I still got a lot of good friends back there
I can usually find a free beer somewhere
With free dinners I'm blessed
Should I go crazy, blow all my money, completely fuck up my life, but at least I'll never go hungry I guess
In Freehold

I got a good Catholic education in Freehold
Led to an awful lot of masturbation in Freehold
Father it was just something I did for a smile
Hell I still get a good one off once in a while
And dedicate it to Freehold

Don't get me wrong, I ain't putting anybody down
Hell in the end it all just goes and comes around
It's a hell of a town

[Spoken outro:] Yeah... so there are all the nuns and the priests and the bishop (chuckles) [claps his hands and laughs]. Oh, hell they were good sports about it. (chuckles) Whoa! I got a little misty there for a minute (chuckles)... [continues introducing the next song, RED HEADED WOMAN]


The above lyrics are for the live 12 Feb 1997 performance of FREEHOLD at Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia, during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour. This version varies slightly from the 1996 version.

Ticket stub for the 12 Feb 1997 show at Capitol Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Ticket stub for the 12 Feb 1997 show at Capitol Theatre, Sydney, Australia

This was the last of a five-night stand at Capitol Theatre.


Thanks Chris at for the lyrics corrections.

Available Versions

List of available versions of FREEHOLD on this website:

FREEHOLD [Live 08 Nov 1996 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 12 Feb 1997 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 10 May 1997 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 11 Aug 1999 version]
FREEHOLD [Live 19 Feb 2003 version]

Page last updated: 25 Jul 2010