In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Big Brother And The Holding Company Feat. Janis Joplin - The Lost Tapes (1966-67 us, classic west coast psych blues rock, 2008 double disc)

Before we all lived together we rehearsed every day in an old loft on Henry Street. Mouse and Suzi Perry lived there and while we practiced Mouse and Kelly would be doing posters for the weekend dances at the Avalon.  How they could work with a thousand people hanging around always amazed me. Coming and going was a loose knit group of people called "the Family Dog," many of whom were crazies from Detroit.  They were our audience and we were their band. James was from Detroit.  He said that his first job at fourteen was being a human hood ornament on his father's car in the "Thrill Show".  He would be mounted horizontally on the hood with his head out in front; the car was then driven at high speed through a wooden wall of fire.  The first time he was a little scared and moved ever so slightly just before impact and almost broke his neck.  Later he learned to keep his head perfectly straight and didn't feel a thing. 

Our first logo was the Indian God's Eye. Cindy, Peter's wife, made a little silkscreen and printed God's eyes on leather with our name.  They were just chunks and odd shaped scraps of shoe leather; we handed these out to our friends.  Then we went to putting our stickers and buttons. Everyone had buttons in those days. The stickers were square yellow things with the god's eye;  that was our idea of publicity. Our first interview was in the "Mojo Navigator", a very underground newsletter.  In it we put down the Fillmore; Janis said it was full of sailors looking to get laid. We agreed that the Avalon - where we played a lot was the more happening place. A week later Bill Graham - who had read the interview - threw Janis out of the Fillmore just as she was coming in up the front stairs. She was wired and was taken completely by surprise. It was a scene; both she and Graham screaming and cursing each other at top volume.  

Janis always started screaming when she was taken off guard. Janis had come out from Texas to join us in June. When she first started singing with the band, some of our hardcore fans did not like her. They saw her as a distraction from our unique "freak-rock" sound. From the rest of us, there was immediate acceptance - an instantaneous recognition that she was great and that we were all plugged into the same socket. It just was. But in those first few months some people actually said to us, "get rid of the chick". One day we all piled into a car, drove over to Marin, picked up a newspaper and looked up 'Houses for Rent'. That same day we found a big house in the little town of Lagunitas and rented it for three hundred a month.  It was a beautiful day. Everything seemed to work out right. Nothing could go wrong; God takes care of us perfectly. I'd taken psylicibin. 

The house was at the end of a road way back in the woods with no other houses around it.  On the big butane tank coming up the driveway someone had scrawled "God is alive and well".  Later another had added "In Argentina". Eventually the house became known as "Argentina". Peter and Cindy and their baby Lisa took one of the bedrooms upstairs, James and Nancy and their baby, Hongo, took the other.  Jam's had a lovely sunlit room like a porch which she decorated with plants.  Like the room she became her most peaceful and beautiful self during that time. I lived in a funky space in the back of the kitchen.  I liked that it became the favorite hangout. Sam and Rita moved into a tiny out in the back. They were always getting high and getting it on.  They were lovestruck, inseparable and on a never-ending honeymoon. Soon the inevitable conflicts began.  Peter and Cindy liked cleanliness, regular meals and a bit of order. Nancy and Rita were into drugs and staying up all night stringing beads and general anarchy. Nancy in particular was one of the original free spirits and believed in letting her son, as well as everything else in the house and the universe, run free.  Add to all this Mishka, James and Nancy's german shepherd - a big, neurotic, whining, barking animal that was constantly chewing or chasing something. You knew that it couldn't go on for very long. 

The Dead and Quicksilver were both living within two miles and we had one great rock and roll party there.  We cooked up a mess of food, bought a few cases of cheap wine and rolled a hundred joints from a big pile of grass that had been found growing in Nebraska or some place. The inner sanctum of the San Francisco rock scene showed up. Everyone jammed together; six or seven guitars all at once.  Probably a couple of hundred people came and went - all night and into the morning. At dawn people were all over the place,  coming down from this, waking up from that.  Someone had brought a goat with them; there was goat shit all over the house and it had eaten half of my bedspread. Big Brother, with all its wives, lovers, children and pets lived there together until the end of 1966. 

During that time we rehearsed almost every day and sometimes after dinner too. Getting better, tighterand more integrated as a band was ourtop priority.  By the time we simultaneously but separately all moved back to the city we had developed some musical muscles.  Also, we'd become somewhat of a family of brothers and sisters; despite the disputes and the different personalities,  we loved each other. Together, I think we felt more ready to take on the world. The music on this album is truly a record of that time of incubation and innocence.
by David Getz

Disc 1 
1. Bye Bye Baby (Powell St. John) - 4:10
2. Great White Guru (Chris Kenner, Arranged by David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:46
3. Women Is Losers (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:09
4. Oh My Soul (Richard Penniman) - 2:34 
5. Amazing Grace (Traditional) - 11:30 
6. Caterpillar (Peter Albin) - 4:11 
7. It's A Deal (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 2:13 
8. Hi Heel Sneakers (Robert Higgenbotham) - 3:36 
9. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (Bert Shefter, Igo Kantor, Paul Sawtell) - 2:22 
10.Turtle Blues (Janis Joplin) - 6:46 
11.All Is Loneliness (Louis Thomas Hardin) - 9:04 
12.Light Is Faster Than Sound (Peter Albin) - 6:26 
Track 2 "Great White Guru" is a free version of "Land Of The Thousand Dances"
Recorded Live January 1967, at the Matrix, San Francisco

Disc 2 
1. (Come On Baby) Let The Good Times Roll (Leonard Lee) - 2:37
2. I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 3:13 
3. Moanin' At Midnight (Chester Burnett) - 4:57 
4. Hey Baby (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 2:50 
5. Down On Me (Traditional Arranged by Janis Joplin) - 2:45 
6. Whisperman (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 1:46 
7. Women Is Losers (David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 3:48 
8. Blow My Mind (Jimmy McCracklin) - 2:34 
9. Oh My Soul (Richard Penniman) - 2:34 
10.Ball And Chain (Big Mama Thornton) - 6:43 
11.Coo-Coo (Peter Albin) - 2:30 
12.Gutra's Garden (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) - 4:36 
13.Harry (Dave Getz) - 0:37 
14.Hall Of The Mountain King (Traditional) - 6:51
Recorded Live July 1966, California Hall San Francisco

Big Brother And Holding Company 
*Janis Joplin - Vocals, Maracas
*Peter Albin- Bass, Vocals
*Sam Andrew - Guitar
*David Getz - Drums
*James Gurley - Guitar