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The Taste Of Freedom

Revisiting Perestroika...

Gray and dreary lifeless lives
Gotta watch your back just to survive
Careful what you do, careful what you say.
Countless hours standing in line
Life's basic things so hard to find
Never even sure if there's enough each day.

But the taste of freedom was in the air
Savored slow and steady by those who dared
A hungry cry for change was heard everywhere
Until the old came tumbling down.

They had hopes like everyone
That maybe someday it could be done
But for far too long it was just a dream.
Then a man with a vision took control
To fix the system was his goal
He opened doors, brought changes, a future unforeseen.

Oh the taste of freedom was in the air
Savored slow and steady by those who dared
A hungry cry for change was heard everywhere
Until the old came tumbling down
As the new found common ground.

Yet the hunger burned throughout the Middle East
And decades later change was peacefully unleashed
Headlong in chaos the Arab Spring was hurled
But with the power of the people a new promise unfurled...

Yes the taste of freedom was much too strong
Once the spark was lit the flame rushed on and on
Until the man on the street could finally right the wrong
And the old came tumbling down.
As the new found common ground
The voice of freedom finally found
They turned the course of history 'round.

The taste of freedom…

Music, Lyrics, Vocals: Rich Coffey
Recorded at Mistura Productions (written in 1993, lyrics updated in 2016, finally recorded in 2017)

This tune has finally seen the light of day - it laid dormant in the “cobwebs of my mind” and the cluttered creative chaos of my studio for more than a decade. This demo—although somewhat raw—does capture the spirit of the times…

Perhaps “fawning about freedom” sounds pretentious in 2017 as red-neck revivalism (a.k.a. the American Embarrassment) seemingly envelopes the country, but I’ll never forget the feeling of euphoria I felt when the gray bleakness of Eastern Bloc Communism crumbled.

I had the good fortune of visiting Leningrad/St. Petersburg ages ago and witnessed first hand the glum and dismal suffocating effects of communism on this once colorful and vibrant culture. NOTE: I have quite a few stories of my adventures there including a scary one. It was a powerful experience walking the city streets and then witnessing the news of momentous changes that transpired shortly thereafter (Who couldn’t be moved by the fall of the Berlin Wall?).

History will of course be the judge of the successes and failures of political ideologies but the inherent right for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is admittedly, always relative to time and place. Yet celebrating a glimpse of sunshine when it has been cloudy and gray for so long is human nature no matter when or where you are...

Historical Background:

Mikhail Gorbachev - Wikipedia
Gorbachev's policies of glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring") greatly contributed to the end of the Cold War. Due to a surge of regional nationalist and anti-communist activism in reaction to these policies, it quickly led to crisis-level political instability culminating in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

These reforms, introduced in the late 80s, inspired the rise of popular upheavals throughout Eastern Europe. as well. By the end of 1989, revolts had spread from one Eastern European capital to another, ousting the communist regimes built in Eastern Europe after World War II. Except in Romania, the popular upheavals against the pro-Soviet regimes were all peaceful. It was an inspiring moment in history and birthed this song.

Arab Spring - Wikipedia
The fervor of “freedom” that was unleashed as Soviet’s glasnost was repeated in the Arab world in early 2010s. A revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, riots and political coups spread across the Arab world.

Sadly, the wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, as many Arab Spring demonstrations were met with violent responses from authorities (often called the Arab Winter). Power struggles continued within the Arab Bloc and gave rise to hope—especially among Western democracies—that inevitably freedom would blossom.