Archive for the ‘Janis Joplin’ Category

CD Review Janis Joplin ‘The Pearl Sessions’: String of pearls

April 20, 2012

I must confess, I’ve never been a big Pearl man. For Janis Joplin’s brief recorded output, I’ve always more of an I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! guy, largely for the title track and Janis’ reinvention of the Bee Gees’ soulful To Love Somebody. (What was that about them being a disco group again?)

That said, I appreciate anything by rock’s greatest blues singer, and that includes Pearl’s second expanded reissue in the form of The Pearl Sessions.

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CD Review: ‘Live At the Carousel Ballroom 1968’ — Big Brother, Janis and ‘Bear’ are still rockin’

March 11, 2012

So many live recordings have been issued for Janis Joplin, with and without Big Brother and the Holding Company, that yet another may seem like scraping a barrel bottom. But this one is not. This one is special.

Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (due Tuesday from Columbia/Legacy) is the first-ever release of a concert recorded in San Francisco — at a counter culture hotbed near today’s San Francisco Opera — by renowned soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley. Tuesday’s release marks the one-year anniversary since Stanley died in a car accident in his adopted home of Australia, so it’s dedicated to Stanley, who supervised its mastering before he died.

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CD Reviews: Airplane, Janis, Santana, Sly and Winter rock again in ‘The Woodstock Experience’

June 29, 2009

It’s taken almost 40 years, but now, finally, we all can hear the complete Woodstock performances of five acts on the bill: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone and Johnny Winter. On CD, each is sold individually starting Tuesday under the banner The Woodstock Experience.

With so many acts at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair of August 1969 in upstate New York, why are these five acts singled out in this way? Simple: Their catalog is from Legacy, which has done a splendid job of repackaging existing material with previously unreleased songs to complete the Woodstock performances of all five artists.

For the Airplane, that means seven additional tracks (including an introduction); for Joplin, two; for Santana, one (Evil Ways, no less); for Sly, seven; and for Winter, five. And there’s more to newly hear if you don’t happen to have all the other songs on previous collections, which I know I don’t.

In each double-CD release, a Woodstock performance disc is paired with the artist’s 1969 album, which either had just been released or had just been recorded. For the Airplane, it was Volunteers; for Joplin, I Got Em Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!; for Santana, the self-titled debut LP; for Sly, Stand!; and for Winter, another self-titled disc.

The packaging is handsome — somehow looking both retro and fresh — with inner-sleeve packets for each disc and a mini-poster folded up inside. But what really sets these releases apart is the fierce — make that incendiary — nature of their galvanizing music.

Each acts brings it, big-time. Why, I even forgive Santana for the drum solo (a drum solo with faint cymbals — for a crowd of half a million?) since the rest of the set simply rocks.

Most precious are Joplin’s added tracks, given the fact that her career and her life ended such a short time later. With her wailing vocals and full-bore boogie bent, she still sends chills, and she virtually erupts on such newly released tracks as the crowd-rousing Raise Your Hand and As Good As You’ve Been to This World. If I had to choose one of these five sets, it would be for her.

Many variations of Woodstock releases have emerged over the years, of course, and all of them are incomplete — even these, in that they represent only five acts in the three-day show. But getting the complete performances of these five acts, and in this impressive format, is some of the best cherry picking I’ve enjoyed in years.

So thanks, Legacy. The rock, blues and soul unleashed here is an historical monument we can always treasure.