Friday, August 10, 2007

Tom Jones and Janis Joplin - Raise Your Hand

Tom Jones and Janis doing a powerhouse version of Raise Your Hand that feels like it may have moved the studio by a few inches. Erroneously dated "1970" in the roll, it was taped on September 21, 1969 and broadcast December 6th of that year. She'd be gone less than a year later at age 27.

They're backed by the band that Janis formed after leaving Big Brother that never had an "official" name, but came to be known as the Kozmic Blues Band, after the title of the only album they'd record with Joplin. Reports had it that Janis had wanted the full Stax/Motown/Aretha Franklin sort of sound for her new band, but - an untrained vocalist - she had a tendency to try to shout over the horns, and was blowing her voice out in live performances. She'd retire the Kozmic Blues Band and form her final group, Full Tilt Boogie, in May of 1970.

Janis Joplin died on October 6, 1970 in Hollywood, CA of a heroin overdose while cutting her final album Pearl with Full Tilt Boogie. It's useless to speculate what might have become of Joplin had she lived. 37 years from 1970 she'd be 64, maybe a happy retired grandmother, maybe - like some of her peers - still singing the blues to an older, appreciative crowd. But instead we have her frozen on film and tape and disc and vinyl, eternally 25, 26, 27, heading full tilt towards October 6, 1970.

I miss her awful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have respect for Janis Joplin's appreciation for black music. It's too bad that she didn't learn her craft. To white ears, she was a "great soul/rock singer," but to those of us who know this music, especially soul, understand that she wasn't genuine. They even had the nerve to try and compare her to Aretha Franklin!

Tom Jones did his homework and was naturally a better singer than Joplin. It's quite evident on this tape. Just listen to his vocal runs as opposed to her attempts with melismas.

Many uninformed people feel that hollering and screaming is what soul music is all about. WRONG! It's much more than that. But, when you do holler & scream, it has to be done on key and it has to be done from emotion brought on by what the singer is singing about and how they are feeling at the moment.

At the same time Janis was on the scene, another white soul singer, Timi Yuro was making records. As a young girl, she had loved black music and at one point, joined the choir in a black Baptist church. Later, she toured with the greats of soul music, including Little Richard, Etta James, the Motown artists -- often times appearing before all-black audiences, who thought she was another light-skinned black soul singer. Timi never considered herself "blue-eyed soul."

Unlilke these English girls today who listen to some Aretha records and decide "I'm a soul singer!" Timi paid dues right along side Little Richard and Chuck Berry.