Posts Tagged ‘Pearl’

Janis Joplin Pearl

“Pearl” never stood a chance at being just an album. That was assured when Janis Joplin was found dead in her hotel room of an accidental heroin overdose during the sessions that would lead to her second and final solo record. At that point, “Pearl”, which came out a little over three months later, could never simply be the latest measure of the brilliant blues singer as a recording artist. It became part of the myth of Janis Joplin — an idea that’s only grown bolder and more complex over the decades. To many fans, Pearl became her final words and a de facto farewell. To others, an incomplete hint at what could have been had she gone on. And for others still, Exhibit A, a clue of sorts to what had gone wrong for this young, white girl from Texas who had never fit in, sang like the old-time blues singers, and dazzled the world in a bright swirl of feathers before being tragically hushed.

In filmmaker Amy Berg’s award-winning 2015 documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, it’s echoed that teasing out Joplin the person from the myth has always been a challenge. Part of that is our own fault. As music fans, we tend to romanticize blazing meteors like Joplin, who, as Neil Young would later put it, burn out rather than fade away. They flash so brilliant and blindingly across the sky that we never suspect they might come crashing down at any moment. Some of that blur is of Joplin’s own making. Big Brother and the Holding Company drummer and bandmate Dave Getz has explained that by the time Joplin went solo, she had intentionally disappeared, at least publicly, deeper into the stage character that had captured the imagination of anyone who had seen her perform. It’s the character we see portrayed on the front sleeve of Pearl: all bright, flowing garments, dangling bracelets, and plumage draped over a Victorian loveseat. It’s a persona so bold and magnetizing that it becomes easy to forget the possibility that Joplin understood the blues and expressed hurt so very well because her life, up to that time, had been full of crushing pain.

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It becomes all the more desirable, then, to push beyond the myth and take Pearl as the stunning gem it is and not merely the final act of a mysterious, mythical figure because, by all accounts, Joplin may have been on the verge of finally moving past some of the pain that had always plagued her as someone yearning for acceptance. Though she suffered from the loneliness of being a rock star and had begun self-medicating with alcohol, several people close to her indicate that she had finally kicked her lingering heroin addiction. She had found some of the first camaraderie and community since her Big Brother days in San Francisco while touring Canada that summer aboard the Festival Express. She finally had the band she needed to be her wild, unpredictable self onstage — the Full Tilt Boogie Band — and Joplin herself had spoken openly about how much Pearl producer Paul Rothchild, who had long taken an interest in the singer and expressed a desire in seeing her make records for decades to come, had taught her in the studio. It’s all the more a shame, then, that Joplin never completed those sessions. As an artist, she was that titular pearl: raw, natural, and finally getting the polish her talents deserved. And that’s how Pearl deserves to be considered and remembered.

Joplin shot to stardom as an explosive performer, so it wasn’t necessarily ill-advised that her prior solo outing — I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! with her Kozmic Blues Band and producer Gabriel Mekler — had sought to capture that kinetic chaos in the studio. However, in addition to an unexpected shift from psychedelic rock to a stronger focus on soul and R&B, Joplin’s voice spends the bulk of that record at odds with her band and their arrangements. In his November. 1969 review for Rolling Stone, critic John Burks famously lambasted the backing band, suggesting: “It’s simply a matter of reaching the point where you can shut out the band — entirely — and listen to this woman sing.” Burks is overly harsh, but he isn’t wrong that Kozmic Blues, at times, spins like a sabotage attempt on its star attraction.

Luckily, Rothchild, already a seasoned vet who had produced The Doors among many others, knew that the excitement of Joplin’s live performance could be tapped into without settling for lower-quality recordings. From the get-go on Pearl, gone is the stripped-down, stiff production that had previously left Joplin belting atop a band that sounded either out of step with her or in another zip code entirely, and jettisoned altogether are the claustrophobic horns that would crowd her voice for attention. As that tag-along guitar line kicks in over the urgent beat of opener “Move Over”, it’s clear that every piano affirmation or tambourine shake exists purely as a platform to showcase Joplin’s original tale about being fed up over a man playing games with her heart. Finally, she had not just centre stage in the studio but a spotlight.

But Pearl captures far more than Joplin finally receiving suitable production to show off her talents. Rothchild saw so much more in her than just that Otis Redding intensity and a golden throat and powerful set of lungs that, like so many primitive forces of nature, might one day sputter out. As a result, the Texas girl who grew up imitating Bessie Smith and so often, when finding herself trapped in a vocal corner onstage, could just scream and shout her way out instead learned how to put together all the components of her voice without sacrificing the ability to relate her pain and longing to listeners. And when done just right, that desire lands like a gut-punch every time. Nobody could sing the lines “Don’t you know, honey/ Ain’t nobody ever gonna love you/ The way I try to do?/ Who’ll take all your pain” in “Cry Baby” like Joplin: drawing out and cooing each syllable of one line before rattling off the next as if down on her knees. And that’s all before belting that titular chorus as only she could. It’s pained and sexy and yearning as she offers to be a man’s port in a storm when he could, if he wanted, make her his home. The similarly themed “A Woman Left Lonely” finds Joplin, rather than going from zero to 60 and back again as she might normally, building from a hushed admission to a desperate wail by song’s end, a heartrending exercise in restraint and the power of rising tension.

Pearl also finds Joplin more confident and willing to put her voice out there as vulnerably as possible. On the a capella “Mercedes Benz”, a comical commentary on the folly of consumerism and the last song Joplin ever recorded, she lets her voice hang out there ragged and bare as can be. While some might call it a novelty or even a bit of hippie relief on an album full of blues songs about wronged and longing women, for Joplin, the tomgirl bullied all her adolescence for her looks and voice, it feels like a courageous act to put herself out there like that with no place to hide. More notably, we hear Joplin trust her voice as she strums and sings Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”, a relatable road story about the high costs of living the life we choose, proving, yet again, that she was so much more as a singer than just a belter or the theatrical performer that floored audiences onstage. It’s all the richer, then, as she begins to pepper in Joplin-isms: blending the words “McGee” and “yeah,” straining her voice at just the right moments, and finally testifying with full punctuation as the song hits its rallying final stretch. The song would climb to No. 1 and become Joplin’s most indelible hit. Fitting in that her performance of it might play just as well back home in Port Arthur, Texas, as it did in a hipper scene like Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. It’s a level of acceptance she never got to experience.

“Buried Alive in the Blues” sits smack-dab at the end of Pearl’s side one, a painful reminder that the album, like Joplin, remained unfinished. Rothchild offered the song’s composer, Nick Gravenites, a chance to sing the vocals, but he declined. So, there it sits, an absolute boogie that we’re left to wonder what-if about. Likewise, we don’t know exactly what would’ve become of Joplin had she lived beyond the Pearl sessions, but we do know what she saw herself heading towards. “Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin … they are so subtle. They can milk you with two notes. They could go no farther than A to B, and they could make you feel like they told you the whole universe … But I don’t know that yet. All I got now is strength. But maybe if I keep singing, maybe I’ll get it.” It’s difficult to say whether or not she quite got there by Pearl. What we do know, however, is that Joplin has been to dozens of singers — including Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch — what Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin were to her: a guiding light — or, in this case, a glowing pearl.

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Janis Joplin’s final studio album, “Pearl”, will be the subject of a variety of 50th Anniversary releases, overseen by the Joplin Estate and Columbia/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music.  The album, her final studio LP, was originally issued on January 11th, 1971, via Columbia Records it was released three months after Joplin‘s passing on October 4th, 1970, and eight days before what would have been her 28th birthday on January 19th.

JanisJoplin.com will be releasing an exclusive capsule collection which includes a fine art collaboration with the estate of Barry Feinstein, the acclaimed celebrity photographer who lensed the iconic Pearl album cover; further details will be announced soon. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is also curating a special exhibit devoted to Joplin, “Pearl” and more, scheduled to open May 21st, 2021.

Genesis Publications has announced the upcoming publication of a new limited edition book, Janis Joplin: Days &Summers – Scrapbook 1966-68. During her career, Joplin created a personal record of her meteoric rise to fame and the flowering of Sixties counterculture, including posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and records, and annotated them with her comments. Featured alongside are previously unpublished items from her personal archive, including letters she wrote home to her family and a preceding scrapbook from her senior high school years, 1956-59. The book’s in-depth text provides a new account of the singer’s extraordinary life. It’s available to order at Joplin’s above website.

From the January. 8th announcement: The only album Joplin ever recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, the touring ensemble that had backed her on the Festival Express (a mythic 1970 concert tour by railroad across Canada with the Grateful Dead, the Band and others), “Pearl” included canonical studio recordings of songs she’d introduced to audiences on tour.

Peaking at #1, a position it held for nine weeks, Pearl showcased some of Janis’s most familiar and best-loved performances including her cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and the off-the-cuff a cappella “Mercedes Benz,” the last song she ever recorded.

Pearl has been certified 4 times Platinum by the RIAA with Janis Joplin’s overall album catalogue–including greatest hits compilations–accounting for 17 Platinum and 3 Gold certifications (approximately 18.5 million records) in the United States. Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits was RIAA certified 9x Platinum on November 22, 2019 while “Piece of My Heart” (her breakout single from Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, one of 1968’s top-selling albums) More than 31 million Joplin albums have been sold worldwide.

Scheduled release for April 2021, Vinyl Me, Please, the “best damn record club out there,” in association with Columbia/Legacy, will release a collectible 50th anniversary limited edition of Pearl pressed on white “Pearl” colour 180g vinyl. 

In July 2021, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, in association with Columbia/Legacy, will also release a limited edition 50th Anniversary Edition of Pearl as an UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2-LP box set. Mastered from the Original Master Tapes with Mobile Fidelity’s One-Step process.

Janis Joplin: Days & Summers

Janis Joplin: Days & Summers Scrapbook 1966-68

‘I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m a new breed swinger now, the idol of my generation, a rock’n’roll singer. Yes fans, yes, it’s true.’ – Janis Joplin

As the first-ever female rock star who dazzled listeners with her powerful voice and fierce uninhibited style, few musicians have attained the same iconic status as Janis Joplin. Now, Janis’s personal scrapbook is revealed for the first time, compiled between 1966-1968, as the singer found her star rising.

‘We’ve had Janis’s scrapbook for a long time. It was really important to her. Scrapbooks may sound quaint and old-fashioned today, but by sitting down, cutting these things out, sticking them in place and annotating them, Janis has given us a unique record of the period.’ – Michael Joplin

In her handmade scrapbook Janis Joplin created a personal record of her meteoric rise to fame and the flowering of Sixties counterculture in which she was to play a lead role. From the singer’s earliest intimate blues gigs in local coffee houses, to her first appearances with Big Brother and the Holding Company, to the band’s breakthrough performance at Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Janis’s story is remarkable. Throughout it all, she collected posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and records, and annotated them with her comments.

More than 50 years later, Janis’s scrapbook is revealed for the first time. Featured alongside are previously unpublished items from her personal archive, including letters she wrote home to her family and a preceding scrapbook from her senior high school years, 1956-59. Collectively, they offer a brand new perspective on the Port Arthur girl that transformed into a rock goddess, setting the world on fire with her talent.

‘Her voice was so powerful it would cut through a rock… Right away we knew she was the one. We said to her, ‘We’re working next weekend, hope you’re ready.’ – Peter Albin, Big Brother and the Holding Company

Written by the people who really knew Janis and those inspired by her, the book’s in-depth text provides a fascinating, new account of the singer’s extraordinary life. With an introduction by Grace Slick and an afterword by Kris Kristofferson, the book’s list of nearly 40 contributors includes Big Brother bandmates Peter Albin and Dave Getz, Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, musicians Mick Fleetwood, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Jones, Taj Mahal, Michelle Philips and Jimmy Page, talk show host Dick Cavett, as well as siblings Laura and Michael Joplin.

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Other figures interviewed exclusively for the project include Woodstock Festival organiser Michael Lang, American artist Stanley Mouse, writers Ben Fong-Torres, Richard Goldstein and David Dalton, plus legendary rock photographers Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen and Elliott Landy.

‘An amazingly talented human tornado who just whirled her way into our consciousness. We try to describe her but, like being in love, it’s difficult telling someone else how stunning the impact is. You know when you feel it, and Janis was probably the best at translating those all-consuming emotions.’ – Grace Slick

Janis Joplin was an American singer, songwriter and arranger, from Port Arthur, Texas, who moved to San Francisco in 1966 to join local band Big Brother and the Holding Company and pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She died aged 27 on October 4th, 1970. She is one of the most influential icons from the Sixties and considered one of the best female blues singers ever. ‘There was just nothing else like her – total rebelliousness, abandon, musical excellence, and connection with everyone in the audience. Pure magic. Everybody just loved her. She gave us a voice that was anti-establishment, and I’ve lived by it ever since.’ – Chrissie Hynde

THE SIGNATORIES

Each book in the Days & Summers edition is estate-stamped with Janis Joplin’s signature, and hand-signed by the following contributors:

Laura Joplin: Janis Joplin’s sister
Michael Joplin: Janis Joplin’s brother
Peter Albin: American musician, guitarist and bassist. Founding member of Big Brother and the Holding Company
Dave Getz: American musician, teacher and visual artist. Drummer in Big Brother and the Holding Company
Jorma Kaukonen: American blues, folk, and rock guitarist. Founding member of Jefferson Airplane

THE COLLECTOR COPIES

Collector copies are numbered from 351 to 2,000, authenticated with the Janis Joplin estate stamp, and hand-signed by the contributors.

Limited to only 2,000 copies worldwide, each book in the Days & Summers edition is hand-numbered, estate-stamped with Janis Joplin’s signature, and hand-signed by her Big Brother bandmates Peter Albin and Dave Getz, Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen, and Janis’s siblings, Laura Joplin and Michael Joplin.

The large-format book (325mm x 305mm / 12¾” x 12″) is printed on heavyweight 200gsm paper with gilt and deckled page edging. Collector copies are quarter-bound in a navy, vegan leather, and light blue binding cloth blocked with gold, pink and blue foiling. Days & Summers is the name Janis Joplin gave to the scrapbook she kept during her high school years, and the book’s cover design is similarly inspired by Janis, featuring her own hand-drawn lettering and decorative linework.

All copies in the limited edition include a special 7″ single containing two exceptionally rare recordings: two blues tracks from The Typewriter Tape recorded in 1964 by Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen (‘Daddy Daddy Daddy’ by Janis Joplin, and the blues standard ‘Trouble In Mind’). Capturing Joplin at a pivotal moment, before joining Big Brother & the Holding Company, The Typewriter Tape has attained mythic status among bootleg recordings. Given the historic nature of the two tracks, the single is pressed on 180-gram audiophile vinyl.

The Collector signed book and vinyl record set is presented in a navy, cloth-bound slipcase.

  • Extras:
    7″ vinyl with two blues tracks from The Typewriter Tape recorded in 1964 in Santa Clara, California by Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen: ‘Daddy Daddy Daddy’ by Janis Joplin and ‘Trouble In Mind’. Foreword by Grace Slick and Afterword by Kris Kristofferson with a stamp of his signature.

Janis Joplin’s second and final solo classic album “Pearl” became the huge album in the US on February. 27th, 1971. The record was released posthumously released on January. 11th 1971.  It was the final album with her direct participation, and the only Joplin album recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, her final touring unit.

“Pearl” stayed in the top spot for 9 weeks. The album has a more polished feel than the albums she recorded with Big Brother and The Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band due to the expertise of the producer Paul A Rothchild and her new backing musicians. Rothchild was best known as the recording studio producer of The Doors, and worked well with Joplin, calling her a producer’s dream. Together they were able to craft an album that showcased her extraordinary vocal talents.

No one can go through Janis Joplin’s discography without listening to “Me and Bobby McGee” at least twice. Janis Joplin and her posthumously released hit Me and Bobby McGee. Written by country singer Kris Kristofferson the country-blues single reached the No. 1 spot in the U.S. singles charts as well as Joplin’s album “Pearl” . This song also made it to the history books as being the second single to hit No. 1 in chart history after the artist had passed away. The recording sessions, starting in early September, ended with Joplin’s untimely death on October 4th, 1970. Her final session, which took place on Thursday, October 1st after a break of several days, yielded the acapella “Mercedes Benz.” It was the last song she recorded before her death

Another precious gem from her album “Pearl”, “Cry Baby” is a heart wrenching song especially captivated by the soul Janis’ voice brings. The opening wail to the track is just every emotion poured out into a performance. It also teaches about forgiveness with Janis singing for her man to come back home even though she’s been hurt by him, she’ll forgive him and believe that things will work out in the end. Originally recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, Janis again, covered it in 1970 and made it her own by putting her own signature blues-rock spin to the song. The song became a usual song in Joplin’s repertoire and it was released as a single posthumously following her sudden tragic death in 1971.

American Singer Songwriter from Dallas Texas Andrew Combs, After a session with Caitin Rose two years ago, the country singer-songwriter and his band for a vocal-heavy performance of ‘Pearl’, taken from his latest album ‘All These Dreams’. Also here a  little video of “Pearl” we did last year at the wonderful End of the Road Festival in England. Andrew Combs will be supporting Justin Townes Earle at the Nottingham Glee Club on the 4th February, he is also performing at the Rough Trade record Store in Nottingham on the same evening around about 5-30 pm

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Janis Joplin American singer songwriter and lead vocalist with the then Kosmic Blues Band a more soulful Rhythm and Blues styled band, the show at the Albert Hall in 1969, Janis who had been in Big Brother and the Holding Company had been major attraction at Montery Pop Festival and Woodstock. Well know for her electric live performances and unusual style of dress with coloured hair and vintage scarves, devastatingly original voice overpowering but deeply vulnerable the Filming for the documentary “Janis” included footage covering the european tour. Janis who died from quantities of heroin and alcohol at the age of 27 only 16 days after rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix. of the same age.