Janis Joplin: This is Janis Joplin (1964-65)
01 – Apple Of My Eye
02 – 2:19 Train
03 – Codine [Buffy St Marie-Joplin]
04 – Down And Out
05 – Turtle Blues
06 – I Ain’t Got A Worry
07 – Brownsville
Janis Joplin – Vocals & Guitar
Giuseppe Insingo – Bass (#02,04,05)
Ras Jab Jimmy – Bass, Tambourine, Afucho Cabasa [not shure of the name]
Etaoin Shrdlu – 12-String Guitar
Abie Perkins – Piano
Hongo Gurley – Drums, Tambourine
St. James Tabernacle Choir – Back-up Vocals
The “Grouchy old Hillbilly” – Slide Guitars
The seven-tracks on this CD come from an audition Joplin did before she joined Big Brother & The Holding Company.
The year of this recording is either 1964 or 1965. Where it was recorded remains a mystery.
The tapes come from James Gurley, the Big Brother guitarist.
Originally just Joplin and her acoustic guitar, Gurley has embellished it with a full band to make this sound like a real Big Brother session.
“It’s unheard Janis Joplin material,” Gurley says. “It’s probably the best album she’s done since ‘Cheap Thrills.’”
“It was a work of love,” he says. “I wanted it to be something, if she was looking over my shoulder, she would be proud of.
I tried to keep her first and I didn’t change what she did.
“This is what she was doing before Big Brother. I wanted to bring out that innocence before she got crazy from rock ‘n’ roll.”
In 1996, Gurley said he made 100 copies and gave them away or sold some through eBay.
These seven tracks later appeared on the nine-CD fan compilation Blow All My Blues Away that collected everything else Columbia saw fit not to release.
But Gurley has shied from releasing this citing ownership issues.
He owns the master reel-to-reel tape but clearly Joplin’s family would have something to say about any release.
Since this is pre-fame Joplin, her voice is unblemished by alcohol and drug abuse – just pure blues phrasings.
The original version of Turtle Blues, Joplin’s own composition, is here plus a different version of Buffy St Marie’s Codine which Joplin adlibbed with her own lyrics.
Joplin was singing here in the hope of getting into Big Brother. Everything is pretty. In Alice Echols’ book, Scars Of Sweet Paradise, she quotes Joplin friend Frank Davis offering a view of Joplin’s darker side, when she wanted to piss everyone.
“I have a recording of her doing a song where she’s yelling at the top of her lungs for 10 minutes about dead black people,” he says. “She was too damn strong for everybody.”
After just one album with Big Brother, by mutual consent, Joplin split for the bright lights and the big city.
Even among the counter-culture, she was a misfit. If anyone has a copy of that 10-minute yelling session, send us a copy.
- Professor Red