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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 24. 28th September 1972

Records

page 14

Records

Janis Joplin: Joplin in Concert

So what is this? A double album of old tracks released by a recording company long after its star has died? The same old posthumous rip-off scene? Perhaps, except for one thing: this is Janis Joplin and she didn't make bum tracks. The lady who once said she'd "rather not sing than sing quiet' sure enough did that. She shouted with her throat, her hair, her stamping feet, her whole shaking body. On stage as well as on record she provided an entire spectacle, a sensuous explosion of excitement. Those few years that she crammed established her as the archetypal rock performer. When she started she was everything a chick singer shouldn't be - raucous, riotous, rebellious, revelling. Yet before she died any female rock singer of any repute had to acknowledge her influence. She captured in her performance the whole freak consciousness, uncompromising and uninhibited, and yet as well as being loved she was worshipped What Mick Jagger was for pubescent girls Janis Joplin was for adult males. She survived longer than anyone could have dared hope after hearing that creaking voice which seemed so near the brink of collapse, and it was this persistence that evoked immortality.

Album art for Janis Joplin

Two sides of this album are recorded with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and two are with her last band. Full Tilt Boogie. The recording is however, inadequate Side 4 appears to have been recorded straight through at a concert in Calgary in April 1970, and it conveys some idea of the way she sustained her presence for the whole show. Sure, the performance of Ball and Chain isn't as shattering as that on Cheap Thrills but this time you get an extended monologue that exposes the lady's sensitivity that was there all along.

I can appreciate that you won't want to buy this album because you've already got Cheap Thrills. I'd be happy if you'd just play either of them very loud to anyone who still thinks America hasn't produced any culture.

— Philip Alley.

Jim Messina & Kenny Loggins — Sittin' In.

A warm, gentle and (as the title suggests) settled L.P. Jim Messina (ex Buffalo Springfield, ex-

Poco), Kenny Loggins (known to a few as a songwriter) and friends play an unusually wide variety of rock, ranging from raw country music to quiet jazz-blues. However, the distinctive features of their sound that provides the base for nearly every track are the beautifully clear and close harmonies and the tight yet easy rhythm section, (which includes saxes,. oboe, violin and even a concertina).

The first side opens with Nobody but you, a Messina number, obviously left over from the last Poco recording session - an interesting fusion of traditional country sentimentality with the harshness and drive of soul-influenced rock. An encouraging opener but nothing in it to distinguish it from the ever increasing number of American groups progressing towards this particular type of easy, flowing country -rock e g. Grateful Dead, Flying Burrito Brothers, New Riders. Uncle Jim's Music.

From this point onwards, the album gets better and better Both Messina's and Loggin's compositions are varied almost complementary and their treatment of the songs brings out a freshness and spontaneity, a rare quality in rock music and in strong contrast to the unbelievable quantity' of boring, uninspired rubbish that comes from every second British touring group.

Listen to the Country Song is a good, ole barndance number, complete with screeching violin and tinkling honky-tonk piano. They hit the heavies with Same Old Wine, a song about political and religious hypocrisy, which features an astounding harmonica solo by Kenny Loggins. Vahavella, (thinking about nights in Jamaica ) is a revamped sea- shanty, emphasising the group's versatility, in which they move into the territory of reggae and hornpipes. But the highlight of the album is the final Trilogy, where the band is beautifully together, progressing from urgent, driving rock Lovin' Me and To Make a Woman Feel Wanted, to a supurb final number called Peace of Mind — a gentle, easy blues that owes so much to Ray Charles.

'some folks you find speak a mighty good line they charm you all the way
take you along on a sweet, sweet ride then they steal your heart away
blessed be the one that understands that people have to act that way
as if I know I wouldn't even want to say
But have a little peace, peace of mind
Gimmie some peace, peace of mind,
Everybody want peace, peace of mind.'

— Stephen Matthews.

Solomon's Seal — The Pentangie Reprise/H.M.V.

If you are already a confirmed addict for Ye Olde English Ballade, then this record is naturally for you — if not yet a Ballad-buff then you might he let into this area of music more easily by the solo(and excellent) efforts of Ralph McTell and John Renborne, and also by such Simon and Garfunkel classics as Peggy-0 and Searborough Fair, not to mention the complete works of Fotheringay, Fairport Convention, and The Incredible String Band. But at whatever point along the folk/ballad trail you may he, you will enjoy this work. I wouldn't say it is an epic in it's field. Sometimes Bert Jansch sounds as if he is surging into the floor, but it flows, it is gentle, wistful and nostalgic, and Jacqui McShee is consistently delightfully excellent in her singing.

No doubt everyone is by now tired of the advertising gimmicky thrown at them over the radio about The Pentagle The difference here is that I praise the group for the sheer pleasure they give me, whilst the advertisers did it for a buck. It has always struck me that until a group such as The Pentangie, who had, until recently, a limited following outside England, actually tour the country, almost none of their music is played on the radio. Then the group comes and the radio stations push it as if they had "discovered" The group before anyone else, and they labour the one song by the group which is well-known to the public, in this case Lightflight. The same thing happened with The Peddlers and Jacques Loussier.

Anyway, point made. As you would surmise, there are five members of the group, (which was formed in 1967), Jacqui McShee, John Renbourne, Bert Jansch, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox. Bert and John had met several years previously to 1967, when playing the folk club circuit. John met Danny and Terry on a T.V. show when they were playing in the Alexis Korner Blues Band. He asked them to play at the Horseshoe pub (in London) where he and Bert played, and asked Jacqui McShee, whom he had met singing in a South London folk club (and who sometimes duo-ed with him), along as well. There's the origins of The Pentangle.

According to Melody Maker, "Terry cox is more than Just a drummer - he is a highly skilled and versatile percussion perfectionist. Bert Jansch plays acoustic guitar, Banjo, and dulcimer, and sings. He has widened his earlier blues influenced style to embrace traditional jazz and contemporary song to become one of the chief exponents of what is termed the folk baroque guitar school. As such he has probably done more to revitalize the jazz side of folk than anyone else in Britain today. John Renbourne started into Elizabethan music while still at school. He has retained this interest and it is in this respect that his influence within The Pentangle stands out most clearly. It is he who does most of the spadework in searching out traditional songs in museum archives — but every member of the group helps in the arrangement of these discoveries Danny Thompson, the double bassist, began his music career as a tea-cheast player with a skiffle group, and is today known as one of the most versatile jazz bassists around. Jacqui McShee's early musical bent was for traditional jazz and she came to the Pentagle via John Renbourne.

There is a very strong degree of jazz and blues influence listed above, yet I don't think either of these musical styles is anywhere isolated and clear on the L.P Rather you get smatterings of blues harmonica, as in Lady of Carlisle, ballad and jazz guitar in Jump Baby Jump. I would say that John Renbourne has the strongest influence here, especially (and obviously) as regards the material, but musically it is Jacqui who dominates. Together these five talented individuals form the best folk/ballad group today.

— David McLatchie

page 15

Exile on Main Street — Rolling Stones.

This is a double album. Sleeve covered with photos of all these freaks and other people, Stones on the back. Stones inside (and Joan Crawford.) Rows of stills from film clips. Two slips further decorated with film clips (of Stones etc.) and grease, dives, the rock 'n' roll juke box. Bonus: dog post cards showing scenes of the fall from Exile on Main Street. Featuring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick, Taylor, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman.

Music: Looking backwards with eyes full of bourbon. Rock, blues, soul, south, west indies. But still all Stones. Hearing the music through a caramel thick shake they're still good. Are they getting old?' You get lo like it more each time. Why's the sound so thick? It's really thick. Don't try to listen to the words. It gets too heavy to hear them. Some good tracks — they 're nearly all good. Tumbling Dice, Happy, All Down the Line, Turd on the Run. If you haven't got Sticky Fingers, buy that first.

The Pentangle

The Pentangle