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Farewell Song

To download this recording via iTunes, click here: Janis Joplin - Farewell Song

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Original 1982 album liner notes


Side One


1. TELL MAMA  5:43

-M. Daniel-W. Terrell-C. Carter- BMI

Recorded, Toronto, 6/28/70, during “The Canadian Festival Express.” 
Tape supplied by Maclean-Hunter Ltd.  Full Tilt Boogie Band.


2. MAGIC OF LOVE  2:52

-M. Spoelstra- ASCAP

Recorded, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 3/1/68.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.  Originally produced by John Simon.


3. MISERY’N  4:12

-P. Albin-S. Andrew-D. Getz-J. Gurley-J. Joplin- ASCAP

Recorded, Columbia Studio E, New York, 4/1/68.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.



-B. Flast-S. Gordon- ASCAP

Recorded, Columbia Studio D, Los Angeles, 3/28/70.  Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  Originally produced by Todd Rundgren.


5. HARRY  0:56

-P. Albin-S. Andrew-D. Getz-J. Gurley-J. Joplin- ASCAP

Recorded, Columbia Studio E, New York, 6/68.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.  Originally produced by John Simon.


Side Two



-E. Floyd-S. Cropper-A. Isbell- BMI

Recorded, Frankfort, West Germany, 4/12/69.  Tape supplied by Bavaria Atelier GMBH.  Kozmic Blues Band.



-S. Andrew- ASCAP

Recorded, Winterland, San Francisco, 4/13/68.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.  Originally produced by John Simon.


3. Medley  2:33


Traditional, arr.: -P. Albin-S. Andrew-D. Getz-J. Gurley-J. Joplin- ASCAP


-R. Higginbottom- BMI

Recorded, The Matrix, San Francisco, 1/31/67.  Tape recorded and supplied by Peter Abrams.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.



-P. Albin-S. Andrew-D. Getz-J. Gurley-J. Joplin- ASCAP

Recorded, Columbia Studio E, New York, 4/1/68.  Big Brother And The Holding Company.  Originally produced by John Simon.


Producer: ELLIOT MAZER (except as noted)


Remix Engineers: Larry Keyes, Elliot Mazer


Mastering Engineer: Ray Janos


Studios: CBS Recording Studios, LA, NY / His Masters Wheels, SF


Additional Musicians:

Denny Seiwell

Mick Weaver

Elliot Mazer

Roy Markowitz

Peter Stroud

Vinny De La Rocca




Larry Keyes

Elliot Mazer

Fred Catero

Peter Abrams

Don Puluse

Jim Furman

David Diller



Big Brother And The Holding Company:

Sam Andrew: Guitar

James Gurley: Guitar

Peter Albin: Bass

Dave Getz: Drums



Full Tilt Boogie Band:

John Till: Guitar

Richard Bell: Piano

Ken Pearson: Organ

Brad Campbell: Bass

Clark Pierson: Drums



Kozmic Blues Band:

Sam Andrew: Guitar

Richard Kermode: Organ

Brad Campbell: Bass

Roy Markowitz: Drums

Cornelius “Snooky” Flowers: Baritone Sax

Terry Clements: Tenor Sax

Luis Gasca: Trumpet



Thank you: Don Devito, Bob Gordon, Clive Davis, Scamp & Lexicon



Designer: Bob Cato


Cover Photo: Bruce Steinberg


Cover Lettering: Michael Manoogian



Sometimes you can see a young animal that has been traumatized (like weaned too early or picked on by its owners) and you can see how this animal will act when it grows up.  Like Michael Bloomfield and others now departed – dead – Janis was destined for fame and heartache at an early age.  By the time she left Texas to join Big Brother and The Holding Company in San Francisco her fate was sealed.  She felt more real on stage in front of an audience than off stage and she had a big chip on her shoulder giving her those two necessary qualities of all great American musicians, arrogance and irreverence.  Off stage she was a little too happy or too sad, too cooperative or too angry, too open and generous or too closed and bitchy.


“I don’t need no motherfuckin’ body man!  I don’t need to ask nobody about nothin’ man!  You’re stupid, man, if you think that anybody can help you feel better just by talkin’ some shit,” she screamed at me across the kitchen of the Haight Ashbury hippie love flat.  “Nobody knows nothin’ more than anybody else.”  It was sort of a God gone nuts scene.


She always asked, “Do you ever think that I will be a good singer.  I mean like Otis Redding or Tina Turner, I mean they can really sing.  Hear than ba-ba-ba-ba-baby thing I’m singin’.  I made that up myself.  How do you like it, sounds good huh?”


Big Brother and The Holding Company practiced about eight hours a day back in the ‘60s.  Janis would never jam on stage and the act with Big Brother and The Holding Company was really, really rehearsed.  When you work that long and hard with other musicians you get very close.  Janis felt at home in San Francisco with Big Brother.  She relaxed more than ever before and sang the best she ever sang.  Big Brother and The Holding Company was such an outside group of people that she did not feel weird or different.


But in New York City they called her “the greatest blues singer of our time,” “another Billie Holiday.”  She was seduced away from Big Brother by distorted proclamations of her greatness and Big Brother’s plainness.  She was cut loose from her family in one of the world’s most evil cities.  There was no one to say “no” to her now.  Only “YES”-“YES”-“YES.”  Within weeks she was back on the road to her death and the music was never the same.  Like witnesses to a hanging, the world watched with glee.  Gifts of her favorite death potions arrived like magic.  The tension release of great American music was replaced by endless tension covered over with drugs, sex, alcohol and hype.


It stops with Big Brother and The Holding Company and so it is not surprising that I should enjoy this album of nine tracks.  Six are from the Big Brother era and those six tracks are great Big Brother and The Holding Company.  HARRY and AMAZING GRACE are a kick in the ass to jazz and religion, a necessary part of any hippie rock band set like the black musicians’ “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”  MISERY’N is great Joplin vocal and Big Brother real great garage band get down rock ‘n roll.  They seem to have a perfect agreement  that life was hard and their music together really expressed that.  Not that life sexually was a problem but that just living was cause enough to have the blues.  HI HEEL SNEAKERS was as close as Janis ever came to jamming or improvising on stage.  And I remember it as a regular Big Brother and Janis number in the early days.


But now on to FAREWELL SONG and ONE NIGHT STAND.  FAREWELL SONG is one of the best pieces of West Coast rock ‘n roll I’ve ever heard.  It is original Big Brother and not like “Piece Of My Heart” which essentially is a cover of someone else’s record.  It was her last really great recorded performance with a really great rock band, and I think her best.  We were all struggling then to be original and this is original great Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company.  That it is called FAREWELL SONG and that it turned out to be a last song for her as part of Big Brother and part of the West Coast scene is quite incredible.  In the opening she sounds exactly like Tracy Nelson to me and the bit about dying at the end is chilling, to say the least.


ONE NIGHT STAND is perfect Janis cut loose from Big Brother.  The paranoia and confusion of life as a star with no home for real.  She sings “Everywhere I go people want to get next to me.  That’s okay as long as the next day I can be free.”  No wonder the song made me nervous.  It honestly states the condition of her life at that time – an endless one night stand.  Even the musicians came and went.  She floundered in the professional world of music – we all did.  They divided and conquered – for the moment.  And some of us died in the loneliness until for Janis it must have seemed that in spite of the fact that she was a “superstar,” “all is loneliness here for me.”


Back in the good old days, we would lie together in her bed in the hippie flat in Haight Ashbury laughing and talking and waiting for KMPX to play some Big Brother and The Holding Company and Country Joe and The Fish.  And as if by dent of fairy magic they would play some of our music, and we would be so happy.  Those were really happy, beautiful days.  We were in love and she was beautiful and we all had hopes and dreams.


Years later at a party in New York City, Jim Morrison of The Doors pulled her hair and she cried and left the party like a little girl.  He followed her, stuck his head into the car and yelled at her.  She pinned him in the door with the window and broke a whiskey bottle over his head.  Yes, she could survive in the big city for awhile at least.  They are both dead now – Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.  And we seem to need them more than ever.


Too bad she never lived to see the punk rock scene.  I think she would have liked the ‘80s and I would put her somewhere between Pat Benatar and Nina Hagen.  All punk reminds me of Big Brother anyway.  I would love to hear a B52s–Big Brother with Janis concert now.  It is just really terrible that she died and is not with us now to listen to this record.


“Even though I know that you and I

Could never find the kind of love we wanted –

Together – alone

I find myself thinking of…

You and I

You and I

You and I.”*



August 13, 1981


* From JANIS by Joe McDonald

© 1967 Joyful Wisdom Music (BMI)

All Rights Reserved.







© 1982 CBS Inc./ (P) 1982 CBS Inc./ Manufactured by Columbia Records/ CBS Inc./ 51 W. 52 Street, N.Y., N.Y./ “Columbia” are trademarks of CBS Inc./ WARNING: All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.



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