Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Janis Joplin – I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

I was (and am) and huge fan of Big Brother and I think that Janis’ time with the band was by far the highlight of her career. Their out of control, blues-based, psychedelic rock’n’roll was so wild and so on-the-edge that – as a lover of Detroit punk’n’roll – I was totally drawn into it. The guitar work could be beautifully intricate or so noisily insane that it sounded like it was cracking your skull in two! A wonderful r’n’r band who I thought worked perfectly with Janis’ terrific growls and groans.

So, when I first heard her later work, I was a little less than impressed despite the fact that she retained Sam Andrews from Big Brother. There were still some good songs, but it was so different and so r’n’b & horn oriented that I couldn’t really relate to it as a rocker kid.

Listening now, as my tastes have expanded a bit, I find these to be super recordings, though I have to separate them as different entities and not go in thinking of crazed r’n’r.

This is absolutely her pure r’n’b/soul album. Clean guitars, lots of horns and her bluesy wail all work together for a fine sound. This is Janis doing her best white female version of Otis Redding. And she does it very well!
For fans of r'n'b (white or black) more so than of rock'n'roll. Not as classic as the Cheap Thrills album but, great stuff, overall!