LIVE AT THE CAROUSEL BALLROOM 1968 is a previously unavailable live concert recording of Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, recorded by legendary soundman Owsley Stanley, a/k/a Bear, who supervised the mastering of this release before his fatal car accident on March 12, 2011. The release of the album marks the one-year anniversary of his passing and is dedicated to Bear.
This is Bears unique vision how he heard the band live, and how he wanted to transmit it. From the very specific (non)stereo mix, to the cover artwork he commissioned from Stanley Mouse, to the liner notes written by those who knew Bear best, this truly is Bears presentation of this phenomenal band and inspirational music.
In Bear's words: "I believe this album will be hailed as the definitive Big Brother live album of all time. If perhaps on some other night they gave a better and more energetic performance, I don't know - I wasn't lucky enough to be present at it. I was at this one, and I thought at the time it was exceptional. The important thing is, these tapes survived. This is Janis at her absolute peak, and the band was rarely so "on" as they were at these shows. They were kicking ass and having a hell of a good time." - Bear
"Care was taken to preserve and ensure the integrity of the music as well as to present an accurate snapshot of the masterful talent of one of the greatest singers of her generation and one of the hottest live bands in the San Francisco scene," wrote Bear's widow, Sheilah Stanley, in her dedication to Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968. "This is Bear's vision -- how he heard the band live, and how he wanted to transmit that to you... this truly is Bear's presentation of this phenomenal band and inspirational music."
Cited by San Francisco rock scribe Joel Selvin as "truly one of the fathers of today's concert sound systems," Owsley Bear Stanley "supervised the sound at the Carousel Ballroom, a former big band dance palace at the corner of Market and Van Ness in downtown San Francisco that, for a few brief, glorious months in 1968 was operated by a collective formed by the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company, a social/musical laboratory experiment akin to inmates running asylums, whose six-month run may well have corresponded with the height of the whole '60s Haight-Ashbury/San Francisco thing...."
An essential and pivotal figure in the San Francisco counter-cultural scene, from beatniks to hippies to beyond, Bear began mixing live sound with the Grateful Dead in 1966 and ran the sound system for the Carousel until Bill Graham took over and rechristened it the Fillmore West in the autumn of 1968. From his first days with the Dead, Bear would record the shows he was involved with as a way to improve his live system set-ups. Bear's "sonic journals" are generally regarded as the gold standard for live concerts from the psychedelic era.
"What is key about these moments captured by Owsley is that they're a true representation of what this mythic band really sounded like live," notes rock scribe Jaan Uhelszki in her essay on Janis and Big Brother's enduring ability to astound and surprise. "The rough magic, the explosive synergy, the dangerous frisson of boundaries being demolished between artist and audience....these 14 songs are a testament to what a force of nature Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company was during these two nights at the Carousel Ballroom. Showing them at the zenith of their considerable power, it is so fortunate that this recording was ever made -- only two months before their break up. This is one of the few living documents of that propitious and monumental pairing."
"He viewed these recordings as windows into the past," wrote Bear's son, Starfinder Stanley, in his notes for Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968. "So this is not just a live recording of Janis Joplin singing with Big Brother and the Holding Company. This is an auditory portal that...can transport you back to the short-lived but incredible world of the Carousel Ballroom in 1968."
High-Quality 180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
Mastered from the Orignial Tapes by Paul Stubbleine under the direct supervision of Owsley 'Bear' Stanley
Extensive Liner Notes by Bear, family and friends and rock journalist Jaan Uhelszki
Big Brother and The Holding Company:
Janis Joplin, lead vocals
Sam Andrew, guitar, vocals
James Gurley, guitar, vocals
Peter Albin, bass, vocals
Dave Getz, drums, vocals
Live at the Carousel Ballroom June 23, 1968
LP1 - Side A:
1. Combination Of the Two
2. I Need a Man To Love
3. Flower In the Sun
4. Light Is Faster Than Sound
LP1 - Side B:
2. Catch Me Daddy
3. It's A Deal
4. Call On Me
LP2 - Side C:
1. Jam - I'm Mad (Mad Man Blues)
2. Piece of My Heart
3. Coo Coo
LP2 - Side D:
1. Ball & Chain
2. Down On Me
3. Call On Me (recorded June 22, 1968)