Janis Joplin - Joplin in Concert (1972)(1998)

Janis Joplin - Joplin in Concert (1972)(1998)

About half of this two-record set features Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company in 1968, performing songs like "Down on Me" and "Piece of My Heart." The rest, recorded in 1970, finds her with her backup group, Full Tilt Boogie, mostly performing songs from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Joplin puts herself out on-stage, both in terms of singing until her voice is raw and describing her life to her audiences. Parts of this album are moving, parts are heartbreaking, and the rest is just great rock & roll...W. Ruhlmann

Since Joplin was known primarily as a live performer, her studio work was often viewed as a kind of compromise at best. Cheap Thrills had some live vocals and simulated a Big Brother concert effectively, but it never claimed to be the genuine (i.e. 'live') article. So in 1972, about a year and half after her death, Columbia assembled these tracks from several different live performances with Big Brother and Full Tilt Boogie. It's "live,"--although some of the Big Brother tracks, notably "Down On Me" sound like they may have been doctored a bit--but somehow it doesn't quite convey the excitement of a Joplin concert the way "Cheap Thrills" did. There are several great moments though. "All Is Loneliness" is completely recast here. Where it had been a kind of an eerie chant, with a brief vamp, on the Mainstream lp, it now is now an extended vocal improvisation--among the best on record. Someone once said that no one sang the words "lonely" or "loneliness" with as much feeling as Janis. This track bears that assertion out. Although I loved "Pearl" and had great respect for the musicianship of Full Tilt, Joplin in Concert helps make the case for those who insist that Big Brother showcased Joplin in a way that her other bands could not match. She sounds like she's having the time of her life on "Road Block" and "Flower In the Sun." "Ego Rock" from a 1970 reunion concert has her in a classic blues one-upmanship battle with Nick Gravenites. She sounds much less strained here than on the Full Tilt Boogie tracks (also from '70). The FTB numbers, culled from tapes made during a Canadian train tour in the summer of '70, seem rawer than the Big Brother sides. It may have been a riotous time, but vocally, all that partying seems to have taken its toll. She tries to reach those high notes at the end of "Try," but she just can't pull it off. If these were the only extant tracks from her last days, you probably would have justified in saying that her voice was shot. The fact that she would go into the studio a few months later and record the triumphant "Pearl" proves otherwise...G. Kallahann

320 @
176 MB


Big Brother & the Holding Co.

01 Down on Me 3:07
02 Bye Bye Baby 4:27
03 All Is Loneliness 5:45
04 Piece of My Heart 4:09
05 Road Block 2:59
06 Flower in the Sun 3:03
07 Summertime 4:45
08 Ego Rock / Nick Gravenites 8:02

Full Tilt Boogie Band

09 Half Moon 5:14
10 Kozmic Blues 5:45
11 Move Over 6:37
12 Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) 7:51
13 Get It While You Can 7:04
14 Ball and Chain 8:03


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