Big Brother & the Holding Company
San Francisco, CA
Catch Me Daddy 6:00
Combination Of The Two 6:50
I Need A Man To Love 6:29
Road Block 6:26
- vocals, percussion
Sam Andrew - guitar, vocals
James Gurley - guitar
Peter Albin - bass
David Getz - drums
This is an excellent partial set from Big Brother and the Holding Company, performed right around the time much of their classic album, Cheap Thrills, was being recorded. Joplin is in fine form here, and fans of James Gurley's grungy psychedelic guitar meltdowns will be delighted.
Following a brief tune-up sequence and excited audience encouragement from the emcee, Janis immediately leads the group into "Catch Me Daddy," with the boys belting out a call and response to her lines. Following the first verse, James Gurley lets it rip with a great highly distorted guitar solo
. The band then continues with a quiet vamp that gradually builds emotional energy, more and more, in direct proportion to Joplin's vocal improvisations, right up until the song’s ending.
Next up is the classic Cheap Thrills opener, and homage to the San Francisco dance venues, "Combination Of The Two," during which the group encourages everyone, with a play on words, to "feel more, feel more" at the Fillmore. The number also features great guitar work from Gurley, whose distinct fuzzbox sound predated the grunge scene by almost 30 years. "I Need a Man to Love" is next and, while not quite as captivating as the Cheap Thrills version, comes pretty close. Joplin sounds fantastic as ever, and Andrew and Gurley's guitars intertwine in remarkable ways during the psychedelic solo break.
"Summertime" features phenomenal vocals by Janis, performed here when the song was still fresh, and the enthusiasm they have for playing it is almost palpable. Gurley can hardly wait to add some stinging riffs to the mix, and both he and Sam Andrew create an infectious groove throughout. Neither takes a rhythmic approach to their guitars, and the twin leads climb around and complement each other, while Janis' vocals ooze with distinctive, bluesy authenticity.
The last song on the recording is "Roadblock," a number written by Joplin and bassist Peter Albin designed to get an audience up and dancing. The two collaborators share lead vocals as the band gets things cooking. The recording fades out during the jam, so only the first five songs of the set were captured.
Even so, this is prime Big Brother and Janis near the peak of their powers.
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