Music Video Of the Week


"Ball and Chain," Big Brother and the Holding Company
Here's another video from the Monterey Pop Festival, which took place fifty years ago this month, for my Music Video Of the Week - this time a performance from the San Francisco acid-blues-rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company,  whose lead singer was a woman you might have heard of, Janis Joplin.
Joplin was an unknown blues singer from Texas who had migrated to San Francisco in 1965 in her efforts to make it as a performer, and she soon drew the attention of Big Brother and the Holding Company, who thought her vocal style would blend in seamlessly with their brand of heavy rock.  The band - Joplin, bassist Peter Albin, guitarist/vocalists Sam Andrew and James Gurley, and drummer David Getz - drew and  cut one self-titled album on a small label (ironically called Mainstream) before appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival.  The group's manager refused to let D.A. Pennebaker film the band for a their Saturday, June 17 afternoon performance for the documentary he was making on the festival, but Joplin was such a success that they were asked to perform again that night - and this time the cameras were rolling.  The clip for My Music Video Of the Week of Big Brother performing Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" is from that historic evening.  Also appearing his clip is Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas (who also performed at Monterey) in the audience enjoying the show. 
Big Brother's performance was indeed history.  Columbia Records chairman Clive Davis, attending the show, was so bowled over by Joplin, he signed the band to his label.  The group's only Columbia with Joplin on lead vocals, Cheap Thrills, was released in August 1968.  The album, which includes a nine-minute recording of "Ball and Chain," is considered a psychedelic rock masterpiece.  Joplin went solo and managed to complete two albums before her tragic death in 1970.  
As for the Summer of Love, you had to be there, but if you couldn't have been there, this is as good as gets.  Enjoy.