Of course, you know what you’re going to get before you listen – the spine-tingling thrill that transfers like lightning from Joplin’s vocals – but you are still amazed and awed by the energy and joyous commotion of this performance by Janis and her Big Brothers.
This is sublimely raw too at times. Guitars are slightly out of tune here and there; the solos occasionally naive but fuzzed to nirvana by that energy and electrification. The opening four tracks are blisteringly brash, then you come to fifth Summertime where the guitars and Janis’ beautifully strained voice simply soar with soul and grace. This is a tight and controlled slice of early excellence. Sixth Catch Me Daddy returns us to a delightfully rougher ride.
So many of her great songs are here, and Sam Andrews provides powerful supporting and accompanying vocals, especially during Call On Me [both offerings] and Piece of My Heart. The whole band gets a sustained SF psychedelic work-out on eleventh track Coo Coo.
Ball and Chain is, well, spellbinding. Just imagine having been there in ’68 and hearing this [or in the unrecorded ‘67 Saturday afternoon Monterey set]. Mind altering - no drugs needed. When the James Curley guitar break comes in its empathetic pain is palpable.