Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

16

Janis Joplin: Janis Joplin: The Pearl Sessions

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Janis Joplin

The Pearl Sessions

Legacy Records

2010

Pearl was vocalist Janis Joplin's valedictory and most fully realized recording. She never lived to see it released, dying of a heroin overdose the October previous to the album's release on January 11, 1971. Sadly, the recording was made with Joplin's last, and most empathetic group, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, a quintet led by the singer. It was a tight and precise funk-soul combo, scaled down from the horn-heavy Kosmic Blues Band the singer employed on I Got Dem Ol' Kosmic Blues Again Mama! (Columbia, 1969) and contemporarily at Woodstock. Joplin had expanded stylistically beyond soul-blues into country music and straight rock that was all the way becoming of her. With Pearl, Joplin revealed that her talent was well beyond any of her contemporaries.

The "thing" that Joplin had that no one else during the late 1960s and early '70s had was her "feralness." Joplin personified complete abandon. As observed previously of her Woodstock performance in 1969:

"She was living and performing on the edge and her tenuous grasp is evident both in the studio and on stage. The Bee Gee's 1967 hit 'To Love Somebody,' once thought to be a poor repertoire choice for Joplin, proves, on these two discs, a revealing contrast of the singer in the studio and on stage. On 'Kosmic Blues' Joplin sings the song barely contained. She is pleadingly soulful yet oddly relaxed, comfortable approaching the creative edge. Break to her heroin-fueled performance at Woodstock and we hear Joplin unleashed in full abandon. The performance is a glorious sloppy mess, but one for the ages."

But Joplin was not near finished in 1969, but her precious time was limited. She temporarily recovered from her excesses to deliver something beyond anything she previously recorded. She did this under the direction of one Paul A. Rothchild, who was to wash his hands of The Doors months later, before the release of the group's masterpiece LA Woman (Elektra, 1971). Assembling The Full Tilt Boogie Band from the ashes of the Kosmic Blues Band plus new members, Joplin achieved her most sympatico band, tight as a drum and ready to rock.

"Move Over" illustrates all of these characteristics in one song. An ambitious beat introduces the song with Joplin and guitarist John Till comps over the first two verses with the entire band joining in a biting rhythm. But it is the soul pieces, "Cry Baby," "A Woman Left Lonely" and "Get it While You Can" that really indicate where Joplin was going. It is a shame that she never covered "Son of A Preacher Man," a song barely two years old when Pearl was recorded. Where Dusty Springfield was British soul prim, and Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner were all humid R&B, Joplin would have added just enough salacious lust to bring the song to a proper boil...no preacher's son ever met anyone like Janis Joplin.

There are plenty of excerpts from between songs that paint a picture of an artist, out of control or not, operating at an extremely high level. But this was to be Joplin's Liebestod, dying before the mixing was complete. Pearl was a beautiful and sad love letter discovered too late at a time when music was traveling at the speed of sound.

Tracks: CD1: Move Over; Cry Baby; A Woman Left Lonely; Half Moon; Buried Alive In The Blues; My Baby; Me and Bobby McGee; Mercedes Benz; Trust Me; Get It While You Can; Mono Single Masters: Me and Bobby McGee; Half Moon; Cry Baby; Get It While You Can; Move Over; A Woman Left Lonely. CD2: Overheard In The Studio...; Get It While You Can (take 3); Overheard In The Studio...; Get It While You Can (take 5); Overheard In The Studio...; Move Over (take 6); Move Over (take 13);Move Over (take 17); Me and Bobby McGee (demo); Me and Bobby McGee (take 5); Cry Baby (alternate); A Woman Left Lonely (alternate vocals); Overheard In The Studio...; My Baby (alternate); Overheard In The Studio...; Get It While You Can (take 3); My Baby (alternate); Pearl (instrumental); Tell Mama (Live); Half Moon (Live).

Personnel: Janis Joplin: vocals; Brad Campbell: bass; Clark Pierson: drums; Ken Pearson: organ; John Till: guitar; Richard Bell: piano; Sandra Crouch: Tambourine; Bobbie Hall: congas/bongos; Bobby Womack: acoustic guitar.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Musician Name #1: instrument; Musician Name #2: instrument; Musician Name #3: instrument.

Title: Janis Joplin: The Pearl Sessions | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Legacy Recordings


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon" Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Procol Harum: Novum" Extended Analysis Procol Harum: Novum
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band" Extended Analysis Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Jazz Is Phsh: He Never Spoke A Word" Extended Analysis Jazz Is Phsh: He Never Spoke A Word
by Doug Collette
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "The Doors' 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis The Doors' 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!