I cannot say how much I love this woman. Janis had the most powerful voice I have ever heard. She could sing with beauty and she could sing with a sound like Southern Comfort pouring through razor blades. There was soul, confidence, strength, and vulnerability in her voice that came through in every song.
She moved from Texas to San Francisco and became part of the San Francisco music scene with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Her influences were Billy Holiday, Bessie Smith. Big Mama Thornton, Odetta, and Leadbelly.
She played with Big Brother and the Holding Company who were as raw as you could get and they played at Monterrey and broke through. She went solo with a couple of backing bands The Kozmic Blues Band and the Full Tilt Boogie Band.
There are few artists who give everything they have all the time. Bruce Springsteen is one…Janis was one. On film it comes through…she gives everything she has and more.
My favorite songs by Janis are…. well I could hear her sing the phone book and I would be happy….but some I really like are…Down On Me, Summertime, Piece of My Heart, Ball, and Chain, Try (Just a little bit Harder), Maybe, Little Girl Blue, Cry Baby, Me and Bobby McGee, Mercedes Benz and anything live she did with either band…She could sing the blues and she lived them…
Her nickname was Pearl and that was the name of her last album. She left $2,500 for her wake…. 200 guests were invited with invitations that read…”Drinks are on Pearl”…
I only wished she could have survived and been alive today. Much like Jimi Hendrix, I hate to think what we missed out on.