July 25, 2011

Someone Wonderful: Janis "Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man —yeah!"

Radio Paradise today has been running through the [limited] greatest hits of Amy [Who?] Winehouse, who celebrates her third day of sobriety today. Doesn't mean nuttin' to me. I heard a couple of cuts and knew, as Bill, the Radio Paradise DJ did, that Winehouse was just another wannabe Janis. So he sequed into Summertime at the same time I thought of it. I love that synchronicty.

There was one Janis. There won't be another. Same fate but different and far deeper chops and a heart always broken and always healing. When Janis, poor shy Janis, sang, she meant it and she meant "you."

For reasons purely personal, I still miss her like I miss white nights.

Here she is in the year she died, 1970:

Here she is earlier on:

Here she is closer to the beginning:

But nothing ever, ever captured the full-court press of her prana. You really did have. to. be. there. Every time she sang she gave you "another little piece of her heart." You gave it right back.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 25, 2011 6:34 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

If that's the Festival Express in Toronto, I was there. Janis had some pipes, her blues were real spawned in the smoky petroleum slums of Port Arthur ,Texas. I grew up in a place like that and it put some weight on your soul. Glad I got out of it whole. "Turtle Blues" is a masterpiece of resilience and pain.

Posted by: bill at July 25, 2011 7:13 PM

Festival Express. I was too young to be there, but can I appreciate it now! Janis could split pain and suffering into perfect fifths, in harmony, her voice dividing at some sweet spot in the heavens when she set it to sail.

Posted by: Jewel at July 25, 2011 8:04 PM

Cleveland Public Hall 1968. My best friend Maureen almost made us miss "I'm gonna show you baby, that a woman can be tough."

My favorite...Little Girl Blue...whenever I am.

Posted by: M*A at July 25, 2011 8:11 PM

Janice Joplin, during her brief dalliance with Islam, when she called herself Jamilah Islam

Allah, woncha buy me a Mercedez Benz
My friends all ride donkeys, I must make "ay" mends
Said prayers all my lifetime no help from the imam
So Allah, woncha buy me a Mercedez Benz

Allah, woncha buy me a brand new chador
My old one shows forearm, I look like a whore
I await to restore my honor each day after four
So Allah, woncha buy me a brand new chador

Allah, woncha buy me a night at the bazaar
I'm counting on you 'lah; show me you're akbar
Prove that you're the greatest and blow up that Jews car
Allah, woncha buy me a night at the bazaar (All believers sing)

Allah, woncha buy me a Mercedez Benz
My friends all ride donkeys; I must make "ay" mends
Stayed true all my lifetime no help from the imam
So Allah, woncha buy me a Mer SAY dez Benz
(That's it ... Ulalalalalalala ....)

Posted by: CallmeLennie at July 25, 2011 10:24 PM

Sigh. Now we're going to have to shoot Lennie.

Posted by: vanderleun at July 25, 2011 10:27 PM

I too was at the Festival Express, but at the free show in Toronto with the Grateful Dead and Mountain. Missed Janis, though. My loss.

Posted by: John Rhodes at July 26, 2011 6:08 AM

Lennie - that is hilarious. Disturbing.. but hilarious.

"Allah, woncha buy me a brand new chador
My old one shows forearm, I look like a whore
I await to restore my honor each day after four
So Allah, woncha buy me a brand new chador"

Oh well... I think the seriously misongynistic over-bearing cruelty of Islamic male dominance only apply to actual Muslim women - white women are considered whores to the Muslims. So we can cut the entire misguided gang of Leftist white women a break on this. They were just looking for something they weren't getting in their protestant and Catholic upbringings. Not sure what that was, but it's all I got. Had they been forced as girls to suffer genital mutilation at the hands of their parents, they might feel differently. Oh well. Joplin was indeed, one of a kind. Certainly a voice of her confused and misguided generation. More like Kurt Cobain, rather than Winehouse. just my humble opinion.

Posted by: RedCarolina at July 26, 2011 6:48 AM

There was a surf movie in '70s, I don't remember which one, that showed a hot Reno Abellira backside at double overhead Ala Moana, a south facing summer only break near Waikiki...completely synchronized with video of Janis doing "Summertime". Those images are stuck in my brain still.
Also, nice to see Radio Paradise mentioned...folks who started it run it out of my old house in Paradise, which we sold to them in '05.

Posted by: stephen b at July 26, 2011 7:22 AM

Joplin worked a lot in Austin in the late 60s. Vulcan Gas Company, Threadgill's. I was there. Thanks for posting this. Here is an interesting piece that tells how it was then, includes old poster art. Long haired maggot infested hippies were frequently targets of beer bottle throwing red necks cruising Congress Avenue, or the Drag.

Posted by: John Hinds at July 26, 2011 9:01 AM

Alexandria (Virginia) Roller Rink, 1967. Sat on the concrete floor for 5 bucks. It was worth it.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at July 26, 2011 10:23 AM

Wannabe? I'm pretty sure Amy Winehouse never "wanted to be" a sustained epileptic seizure backed up by a teenage garage band.

Posted by: ccoffer at July 26, 2011 9:24 PM

FWIW, I just learned today that Amy's mother is named Janis.

Posted by: rickl at July 27, 2011 8:35 PM

Aside from the Janis memoirs and sentimentality, this is an utterly foolish and ignorance exposing post. And on one of my favorite sites on the net. Bit of a shame.

Posted by: Chnc.V. at July 28, 2011 5:02 PM

Well, horses for courses. And I don't think you are quite getting the subtext. There are other reasons for remembering someone well even though the music was a big one.

Posted by: vanderleun at July 28, 2011 5:07 PM