The legendary Janis Joplin's first band captured live at KQED, San Francisco in April 1967.
Big Brother are primarily remembered as the group that gave Janis Joplin her start. There's no denying both that Joplin was by far the band's most striking asset, and that Big Brother would never have made a significant impression if they hadn't been fortunate enough to add her to their lineup shortly after forming. But Big Brother also occupies a significant place in the history of San Francisco psychedelic rock
"Big Brother & the Holding Company," is an early recording by Big Brother and the Holding Company, a psychedelic blues rock San Francisco-based band during the late 1960's. The record survives largely because of their great, great chick singer, Janis Joplin, of course, who joined them on a Chicago gig. Although Joplin fans will know that she did not, unfortunately, survive the 1970's, as she passed on October 4, 1970 (aged 27), in Los Angeles, California. But in her brief career, despite her troubled life, she left behind a stunning, gutsy repertory of work that has long since floated free of, and outlived, Big Brother. This record, however, was laid down about six months before she (and they) achieved lasting blazing stardom at the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival.
The first entry in the Bear's Sonic Journals series is, without question, a stunner. "Bear" (Augustus Owsley Stanley III), the Grateful Dead's live soundman, built and manned the sound system at the Carousel Ballroom. He personally supervised this previously unreleased effort (items from it have appeared on the Joplin box with crummy sound) shortly before his untimely death in an automobile accident in 2011. (He even provides listening instructions via a brief liner essay….
Big Brother & the Holding Company is the debut album from Big Brother and the Holding Company and the studio debut of Janis Joplin. The album was originally released in the summer of 1967, following the band's major success at the Monterey Pop Festival.
About half of this two-record set features Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company in 1968, performing songs like "Down on Me" and "Piece of My Heart." The rest, recorded in 1970, finds her with her backup group, Full Tilt Boogie, mostly performing songs from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Joplin puts herself out on-stage, both in terms of singing until her voice is raw and describing her life to her audiences. Parts of this album are moving, parts are heartbreaking, and the rest is just great rock & roll.
Cheap Thrills is the second album from Big Brother and the Holding Company and their last album with Janis Joplin as primary lead vocalist.
Big Brother obtained a considerable amount of attention after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and had released their debut album soon after. Despite their newfound success, the album was a modest hit reaching only number 60, though the single Down On Me nearly broke the Top 40. Columbia Records offered the band a new recording contract, but it took months to get through since they were still signed to Mainstream Records. The album features three cover songs ("Summertime," "Piece of My Heart," "Ball and Chain"). The album also features Bill Graham, who introduces the band at the beginning of "Combination of the Two". "Combination of the Two," "I Need a Man to Love," and the nearly ten-minute "Ball and Chain" are the only live recordings. The album's overall raw sound effectively captures the band's energetic and lively concerts.