Friday, July 22, 2011

#338 Cheap Thrills - Big Brother and the Holding Company/Janis Joplin

For a white chick, Janis has SOUL.  The whole album will blues you relentlessly.  For the first day I listened to the album I was angry with every person who had the opportunity to expose me to her and failed to do so.  Then I was angry with myself for having never listened to her before.  For the first time I am beginning to regret this blog because I want to go off and buy everything she's ever sung and listen to it non-stop (like I did with Bob Dylan in college) but I can't because I need to get through the list.  When the list is over, Janis will be waiting.  And then I will get to experience all the songs I haven't heard yet with fresh ears like reading one of the Harry Potter books for the first time after waiting a year or longer at 2 am in bed...

I have an anecdote for you though.  I had the music playing very low in the background behind me while I was finishing up something for work, and my fiance came into the room and he began to talk to me.  "Summertime" came on and Joplin's raspy voice began to wail, and my fiance stopped short and said, "Oh God, where are the cats?"

And I said "what?"

And he said "one of them is hurt, you can't hear him?"

Me: "no, I don't know what you're talking about."

Fiance: "Is that Socrates screaming?"

And I said, "Sweetheart, it's Janis Joplin."

I know this isn't a good sell for the album, but TRUST me, she's awesome. "Piece of My Heart" makes you want to scream it outloud and then replay it and then scream it again in the shower, and then replay it and then get mad at yourself because listening to that song while running doesn't allow you the lung capacity to run and scream it at the same time.

And nothing is better than listening to "Summertime" while soaking up the July sun in the backyard.  I'm really going to miss Janis as I move on to other albums.

What the so-called experts have said:

Janis Joplin said, "we're just a sloppy group of street freaks." But these San Francisco acid rockers, one of the first Haight-Ashbury groups, were the most simpatico band she ever had, especially when its raw racket backs her up on "Piece of My Heart," perhaps her greatest recording.

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