Monday, February 1, 2010

janis joplin

I happened to be out and about on foot this weekend and stopped in, God only knows why, at one of those "galleries" that sell poster size photographs of Buffett and Springsteen and the usual pantheon of dead legends; Marilyn, Elvis, Francis Albert and the rest of his Rat Pack, Hendrix, Morrison and Janis Joplin.

It was that photo of Janis that caught me.

By the time the
music I grew up
with became
"classic rock",
I wasn't listening to
it or even thinking about it much anymore.

You know how it is,
(of course you do)
tastes change, new artists emerge and the next thing you know, (unless you listen to US1) you haven't heard "Stairway to Heaven" in 20 years.

In that disconnect, names and faces that you used to know like your own get fuzzy and you can't remember enough of the lyrics to sing along anymore.

Anyway, I'm in the "gallery" and the photograph of Janis grabs me. Right away I'm mentally moved back in time to the flood of stuff I might have known and felt about her.
Big Brother & the Holding Company and "Piece of my Heart", "Cry Baby", "Summertime", my first ex-wife's favorite, "Mercedes Benz" and finally her untimely demise at the hand of heroine.

Back in the day, the general visual impression I had of Janis was that she looked so much older than her 27 years. Of course I was just 18 at that point and didn't know yet about the mileage that drinkin', druggin' and living on the road could put on a musician. (that stuff to was still a year or two in my future) But for all that, standing there in a Duval Street gallery on the second to last day of January, 2010, the visual impression that hit me was, "my God, she was just a kid."

Well, that impression followed me home and since it had been so long since I'd heard her stuff, (remember that 20 year disconnect?) I googled her up and spent the rest of the afternoon really listening.
The general audio impression I got was, "DAMN!"

Summertime, Janis Joplin

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