There was a time that Janis Joplin and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, were a tight little entity, as is evident on Live At the Carousel Ballroom 1968. Though an old recording, this concert was mixed by the legendary Owsley â€œBearâ€ Stanley just before his death in March 2011.
Opener â€œCombination of the Twoâ€ sees the electric lead of James Gurley and rhythm of Sam Andrews (plus his call-and-response-like backing vocals) moving things easily, followed by Drummer David Getzâ€™s deep-in-the-pocket spanking on I â€œI Need A Man To Love.â€Â The cover of â€œSummertimeâ€ here is scary-perfect with Peter Albinâ€™s soft swinging bass running under the proceedings. â€œCatch Me Daddyâ€ is that fast blues roll this outfit was best known for, â€œItâ€™s a Dealâ€ is a duet between Joplin and Andrews, and of course there are â€œBall & Chain,â€ â€œDown On Me,â€ and â€œPiece of My Heart.â€ Joplinâ€™s show-stoppers are nearly perfect, though the boysâ€™ backing vocals are a little high in the mix on â€œPiece.â€
I like the call-to-arms chunk to the intro of â€œCoo Cooâ€ with Andrews on lead vocals (at least at the beginning) and Getz driving things along; Gurley gets a chance to really show off on this one too.Â There is a â€œCall On Meâ€ from what actually was the next nightâ€™s show, but I can see why it was included, the mix here is great and this is an inspired blues belt-er.
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