Thursday, April 15, 2010

Janis Joplin

A long time ago, a former neighbor said that the best version of "Amazing Grace" that he'd ever heard was done by Janis Joplin. I listened to it (on vinyl LP) and didn't like it, but decided to give it a second chance recently.

Looking around, the only versions I found are the medleys "Amazing Grace/Hi Heel Sneakers" and "Amazing Grace/Psychedelic Preacher." If the "Amazing Grace" parts of the medleys are any indication, I probably still wouldn't like her singing "Amazing Grace" by itself in its entirety just like back when my friend let me hear it.

However, the search did acquaint me with other songs of hers and there's no denying her raw power, emotion, and bluesy vocalizations.

If you've yet to hear Janis Joplin or haven't listened for a while, here's a sampling, courtesy of the folks at YouTube:

1. "Summertime" by DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin.

2. "Turtle Blues" by Janis Joplin.

3. "Little Girl Blue" by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers from the stage musical and movie, "Billy Rose's Jumbo," sung by Doris Day.

4. "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster.

Just for fun, compare "Piece of My Heart" written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns that was originally done by Erma Franklin, Aretha Franklin's older sister, to Janis Joplin's cover and to Faith Hill's version of which Wikipedia reports that her first version was the closest to what the song writers had in mind.

Personally, I like Joplin's and Franklin's versions better.

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