Review: Big Brother & the Holding Company: Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills (American Songwriter)

Big Brother & the Holding Company
Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills
(Columbia/Legacy)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s 50th anniversary time for the album previously known as Cheap Thrills. But this version, like the singer it features, is different than most.

Janis Joplin first came to stardom with a fabled performance at June 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival at which point, Big Brother & the Holding Company — the band she fronted — had only delivered a weak debut on the tiny Mainstream label. Clive Davis from Columbia signed them after that explosive gig and off they went to work on their first major label statement. The sessions for that sophomore disc, initially titled Cheap Thrills (shortened from the name of this collection over the objections of the band), were notoriously difficult as the five members, in particular lead singer Joplin, did not connect with producer John Simon. Check out film footage from 1974’s documentary Janis for how difficult and tense that relationship was.
Read Hal Horowitz’s full review here on AmericanSongwriter.com

Janis Joplin’s Previously Unreleased Live Version Of ‘Ball And Chain’ Is Exquisite Psych-Blues (Uproxx)

Any list tabulating the greatest singers of all-time is null and void without the inclusion of Janis Joplin somewhere near the top. The singular power and titanic force she could bring to a song was just as impressive as the exquisite beauty she could render from a single line or lyric with her distinct, raspy tenor. Her early death at the tender age of 27 in 1970, was an incalculable loss.

2018 marks roughly 50 years since Janis Joplin exploded into the national consciousness with the debut album by the San Francisco band Big Brother And The Holding Company, of which she was the lead singer. Later this month, Sony/Legacy will offer a deluxe edition of that record, filled out with 25, previously unreleased performances by the band titled Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills. Of the many choice songs that have remained in the vaults for decades is a performance of the song “Ball And Chain” that the band performed at Bill Graham’s venue The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on April 12, 1968 that you can listen to for the first time below.

Read Corbin Reiff’s full article on Uproxx.com