JANIS JOPLIN is one of the most revered of all female blues rock singers. She rose to fame in the 1960s then joined the 27 club in the 1970s.
It seems “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul” was a tragically misunderstood figure…but she wowed millions (still does) and was burning brightly right up until her death in ’70. Since then, Joplin has been a profound influence on singers from Stevie Nicks to Florence Welch.
Last year a revealing documentary film was released (directed by Amy J. Berg) JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE.
The Movie explored the life and work of the legendary top-selling musician and included rare archive footage, fragments and comments made by stellar figures such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding and Mama Cass Elliot. The film shows Joplin at her best.
Sony Music Entertainment Australia has now released a significant career-spanning anthology — JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) —which brings together 17 essential Janis Joplin live and studio performances, including classic solo performances and Big Brother & the Holding Company tracks. The album also debuted an unreleased version of “Piece of My Heart” (also featured in the documentary and recorded live at the Generation Club in New York City in April 1968 during the Wake for Martin Luther King concert.)
We had a listen:
The album begins with the sublime beauty and acoustically emaciated craftwork of “Careless Love.”
This is a superb place to begin, dusty and blemished. Yet enthusiastic and truly raw.
The 1967 Big Brother and the Holding Company single “Down on Me” is juicy and groovy with a danceable rhythm and a jolly chorus. But that notable scalding voice is already present.
The Blues are hotter and the atmosphere is sweatier on the Joplin-written track “Women Is Losers” released following the Holding Company’s success at the counterculture focal point – the Monterey Pop Festival.
But it’s not all scalding blues on this amazing collection: There is also some warm-hearted and convincing country folk.
The Janis Joplin & The Full Tilt Boogie Band version of Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster’s “Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin” was perhaps written as a hymn to Joplin (though she denies it) — it has smooth interjections of silk organ, talkative guitars and more loss and discovery than taking a hitchhiking ride into a bleak desert with a dangerous stranger. The song was released in 1971, after the death of Joplin, and reached number 1 in the United States.
The incredibly inspirational songs in this collection — often cataloging the difficulties of life and the consequent loss and regret — are more energetic and revealing the second time around …
Always worth repeated listening and full exploration —this is an essential purchase for anyone looking for quality and excellence in vocal performance as well as incredible song-writing.
The Official Soundtrack was released 12FEB: Janis: Little Girl Blue (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Janis Joplin