Joined: 12 Mar 2010 Posts: 93 Location: Tumble-down shack in Big Foot County
Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:08 am Post subject: Janis Joplin
Big O keeps shows up for about a week, so if you like this grab it soon.
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This Is Janis Joplin [no label 1CD]
Watching that other misfit Paris Hilton bawl about her jail sentence made me reach for this recording. Janis Joplin was from the other side of Paris Hilton’s social class. By all accounts, Joplin never fitted whether in school or with her peers. The only time she felt super-confident was when she sang. Hilton on the other hand is a misfit because she behaves like a spoilt brat. Both have in common a recording career.
The seven-tracks on this CD come from an audition Joplin did before she joined Big Brother & The Holding Company. The year of this recording is either 1964 or 1965. Where it was recorded remains a mystery. The tapes come from James Gurley, the Big Brother guitarist. Originally just Joplin and her acoustic guitar, Gurley has embellished it with a full band to make this sound like a real Big Brother session.
"It's unheard Janis Joplin material," Gurley says. "It's probably the best album she's done since 'Cheap Thrills.'"
"It was a work of love," he says. "I wanted it to be something, if she was looking over my shoulder, she would be proud of. I tried to keep her first and I didn't change what she did.
"This is what she was doing before Big Brother. I wanted to bring out that innocence before she got crazy from rock 'n' roll."
In 1996, Gurley said he made 100 copies and gave them away or sold some through eBay. These seven tracks later appeared on the nine-CD fan compilation Blow All My Blues Away that collected everything else Columbia saw fit not to release. But Gurley has shied from releasing this citing ownership issues. He owns the master reel-to-reel tape but clearly Joplin’s family would have something to say about any release.
Since this is pre-fame Joplin, her voice is unblemished by alcohol and drug abuse - just pure blues phrasings. The original version of Turtle Blues, Joplin’s own composition, is here plus a different version of Buffy St Marie’s Codine which Joplin adlibbed with her own lyrics.
Joplin was singing here in the hope of getting into Big Brother. Everything is pretty. In Alice Echols’ book, Scars Of Sweet Paradise, she quotes Joplin friend Frank Davis offering a view of Joplin’s darker side, when she wanted to piss everyone.
"I have a recording of her doing a song where she’s yelling at the top of her lungs for 10 minutes about dead black people," he says. "She was too damn strong for everybody."
After just one album with Big Brother, by mutual consent, Joplin split for the bright lights and the big city. Even among the counterculture, she was a misfit. If anyone has a copy of that 10-minute yelling session, send us a copy.
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Joined: 25 Aug 2009 Posts: 525 Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:50 am Post subject:
Thanks to Jambandfan and all his posts in the vines section, I got a chance to download and listen to Janis on 2/12/69. If you recall, this was her first solo tour as a headliner, and the GD opened for her at the Fillmore East on 2/11 and 2/12. These were the two shows per night, per band days of the Fillmore.
As soon as I put this one on, I had an immediate flashback to 1992 and the Metallica/Guns 'N Roses tour. Metallica "opened" for G&R and promptly blew the crowd away. By the time G&R came out, there wasn't much left of the crowd to really inspire greatness from them. Literally, as soon as I heard Janis' backing band, I thought that it must have been a huge disappointment to those in the crowd expecting to be wowed by Ms. Joplin. Generally, her performance is okay, but you can tell her new band is pretty tentative and overall, with the horn section and slow blues tunes in the set list, it never really catches fire until near the end, and by that point it's too late to really matter.
I would recommend getting the GD shows from 2/11/69 (early and late shows commercially available) and/or 2/12/69 (archives) and try this little experiment for yourselves. After the 2/12 GD show, put on the JJ show and you'll know exactly what I mean.
Again, this isn't to be harsh on JJ. I like her well enough. But she too recognized that the GD blew her off the stage at these shows (see the GD liner notes to 2/11). It just goes to show that radio popularity and enduring musical legacy have very little in common. At least someone had the foresight to let us relive these little moments in time.
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