Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21: Janis Joplin, "Joplin In Concert"

Artist: Janis Joplin
Album: Joplin In Concert
Year: 1972
Label: Columbia

When it comes to instantly recognizable voices, Janis Joplin may very well lead the pack. Her uncanny ability to blend blues, soul, and good 'ol rock and roll make her the one of the finest vocalists ever. The posthumous release, Joplin In Concert gives a clear picture of what an amazing talent and presences she had on stage.

The album is split almost half and half between tracks recorded with Big Brother & The Holding Company and then half recorded with Janis' Full Tilt Boogie Band. Both bands have their individual sound, but Janis gives the record perfect cohesion. The entire record shows Janis working the crowd perfectly both in and out of the songs. Interlaced with the music are a handful of vintage stories and commentaries by the lady known as Pearl.

At times, her stage banter and stories are so moving and brilliant that you just want her to keep talking and skip the song. In these moments, the listener gains a rare, intimate glance into Joplin's insecurities and innermost feelings. Such raw and unguarded moments are nearly nonexistent in the music world. From these moments, you can truly find where her blues came from and perhaps somewhat understand what led her to her well documented destructive behavior.

Joplin In Concert truly gives a full showing of Joplin's musical tastes and range. The songs rage from traditional rock songs, to deep, slow ballads. Joplin In Concert brings moments of controlled rage as well as heartbreaking soul from Janis. From strict blues songs like "Road Block" and "Ego Rock" to outright rockers like "Flower In The Sun" and "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)," Janis delivers awe inspiring performances across the board.

Janis Joplin was and is an icon in every sense of the word. From her sense of style to her attitude, there will never be another quite like her. Seriously, there was a freakin' Muppet modeled after her! Janis sang with a sound and soul that hasn't been heard since her tragic passing in 1970. While most people are content with the Greatest Hits record, do your ears a favor and grab Joplin In Concert instead. Once you hear it, you'll never again listen to Janis the same.

Standout tracks: "Flower In The Sun," "Ego Rock," "Get It While You Can."

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