Big Brother & The Holding Company feat. Janis Joplin – Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (2012)
Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 is a previously unavailable live concert recording of Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, recorded June 23, 1968 by legendary soundman Owsley Stanley, a/k/a “Bear,” who supervised the mastering of this release before his fatal car accident on March 12, 2011, in his adopted homeland of Australia. The release of the album marks the one-year anniversary of his passing and is dedicated to Bear.
From the press release:
“Care was taken to preserve and ensure the integrity of the music as well as to present an accurate snapshot of the masterful talent of one of the greatest singers of her generation and one of the hottest live bands in the San Francisco scene,” wrote Bear’s widow, Sheilah Stanley, in her dedication to Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968. “This is Bear’s vision – how he heard the band live, and how he wanted to transmit that to you… this truly is Bear’s presentation of this phenomenal band and inspirational music.”
Cited by San Francisco rock scribe Joel Selvin as “truly one of the fathers of today’s concert sound systems,” Owsley Bear Stanley “supervised the sound at the Carousel Ballroom, a former big band dance palace at the corner of Market and Van Ness in downtown San Francisco that, for a few brief, glorious months in 1968 was operated by a collective formed by the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company, a social/musical laboratory experiment akin to inmates running asylums, whose six-month run may well have corresponded with the height of the whole ’60s Haight-Ashbury/San Francisco thing….”
Journey back with these tracks to 1968. Your time machine is courtesy Owsley “Bear” Stanley, visionary sound engineer and renowned LSD chemist. But you don’t need any lysergic acid to enjoy the music contained on the little silver disc known as Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968, billed as the first release from Bear’s Sonic Journals.
This is Big Brother still very much performing as a unit, recorded on June 23, 1968 shortly after finishing sessions for Cheap Thrills, whose release occurred two months later. They\'re comfortable enough with one another here to trust each others\' instincts. Joplin\'s vocals are the centerpiece, but the wild, wooly, psychedelic rock of Big Brother -- James Gurley and Sam Andrew on guitars, bassist Peter Albin, and drummer Dave Getz -- is the engine that propels that singular voice to the heights it needs to soar to. Andrew takes alternate duet and backing vocals regularly; the rest of the band chimes in on the backing ones too.
The disc begins with "Combination of the Two," with Joplin and Andrew taking turns on the vocal and a truly incendiary and wildly inventive guitar solo from Gurley. The vocal play continues on "I Need a Man to Love." Joplin\'s reading is subtle enough to let the blues drench the tune amid the revved sonics. "Summertime" is every bit as lovely as and more soulful than the one on Cheap Thrills. "Catch Me Daddy" is a revelation of jazzy psychedelic blues. The two versions of "Call on Me" (one from Sunday night) are radically different from one another. "Piece of My Heart" features some lithe vocalizing in the verse from Joplin we haven\'t heard before. But the true highlights here are Albin\'s "Coo Coo," an acid-drenched instrumental, and "Ball and Chain," in what may be its definitive recorded performance. Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 is easily the finest gig from Big Brother & the Holding Company yet released, and it\'s a fitting tribute to Bear\'s inventive legacy.
With any luck, further trawls through Bear’s Sonic Journals will be forthcoming.
01. Combination of the Two - 4:35
02. I Need a Man to Love - 6:39
03. Flower in the Sun - 3:11
04. Light Is Faster Than Sound - 6:02
05. Summertime - 4:35
06. Catch Me Daddy - 5:07
07. It’s a Deal - 2:28
08. Call On Me - 04:04
09. Jam – I’m Man (Mad Man Blues) - 6:51
10. Piece of My Heart - 4:49
11. Coo Coo - 6:23
12. Ball & Chain - 9:22
13. Down On Me - 2:50
14. Call On Me [Saturday Show - June 22, 1968] - 3:57Media Info:Bitrate: average 240 kbps (VBR)Channels: joint stereoSamplerate: 44100Encoder: LAME 3.98MPEG-1 layer 3
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