Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin - Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (Columbia/Legacy) 

70 minutes of live boogie-blues psych-rock

Before Janis Joplin joined Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966, they were a sloppy and barely competent boogie-blues band dabbling in hippie aesthetics. Not much changed once Joplin was on board, except they had a powerhouse singer who packed more charisma than the four other guys combined. This 70-minute live set from their hometown of San Francisco is the first release in a new concert series recorded by scenester soundman Owsley "Bear" Stanley. There's nothing really remarkable about this performance, which happened a couple of months before Cheap Thrills, Big Brother's last album with Joplin, was released. The best songs, including "Piece of My Heart" and "Down on Me," appear late, which means there's lots of sloppy and barely competent boogie-blues psych-rock to sit through until then.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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