Top positive review
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Great ensamble ,with and without Janis.
on April 18, 2002
This CD exhibits the raw talents of a San Francisco based band-Big Brother and the Holding Company, including Janis Joplin of course. Though in studio, you can sense the many talents of the musicians being exhibited here.
Though much more "toned down" than in proceeding recordings, you can still sense that a blues powerhouse and an acid-rock motif is about to happen. Consider "Bye,Bye Baby" and "Down on Me." Here, Janis sang in a very harsh voice and yet kept her bluesy-saloonstyle persona:notice the strong Texas accent.
A very common misconception is: Big Brother and the Holding Company was just a "backup band"for Janis. Well, any competant music fan would dissagree-strongly.Consider guitarist/bassist Peter Albin.Albin was one of the main songwtiters of many of the songs here:Light is Faster than Sound,","Coo Coo","Catipillar"and"Blindman." In fact, Albin based Catipillar on an idea he came up with when he wrote children songs."Coo Coo"(misreferenced as Jack of Diamonds)" is actually the song that would be re-versed as "Oh Sweet Mary" on the next album. You just have to admire Albin's intuition here.
Guitarist Sam Andrew was responsible for the beautifully meticulus guitar leads played throughout this album. Note that he was actually singing a duet with Janis during the track:Call on Me(not the outake).
Now guitarist James Gurley, on the other hand, is a totally different character here. Originally a folkie-fingerstyle picker, Gurley ushered his talents into the "acid rock" genre that BB&HC became famous for. Notice in "Blindman," the twangystyle of electric fingerstyle guitar playing was no other than the works of James Gurley.Unfortunately, this CD does not have the classic instrumental "Hall Of the Mountain King".Nonetheless the guitarwork and moaning of "All is Loneliness"was begun by Gurley himself.
The drumer Dave Getz, who used the bass and snare trum almost simultaneously while playing the majority of the songs-contributed quite well.
Notice:during the outakes and the endings of the songs performed on this CD, you could hear laughter and some dialogue.Most of the worldwide emerging musicians of the mid 1960s, (disregarding the Dead,the Airplane,etc,)tended to worry more about financial gains or musical survival(career ego).However, Big Brother just-played!Plain and simple;not only as one singer/backup band, but an ENSEMBLE.After listening to this CD, you will definitely know what I mean!!!!!!!!!!!!