1968-18-05 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose

1968-05-18 Big Brother & the Holding Company

Tracks (8)

01 Catch Me Daddy (Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, David Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin) info icon
as Browsville
02 Road Block (Janis Joplin, Peter Albin) info icon
03 Summertime (DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin) info icon
04 Intro to Coo Coo info icon
as Dead Air
05 Coo Coo (Peter Albin) info icon
as Coo Coo Bird
06 Combination Of The Two (Sam Andrew) info icon
07 Farewell Song (Sam Andrew) info icon
08 Piece Of My Heart (Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns) info icon


Live Bootleg

1968-18-05 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose
Source: www.dimeadozen.org
Torrent #132933 Janis Joplin San Jose May 18,1968
Torrent file Janis Joplin_San Jose.torrent
Downloads as Janis Joplin_San Jose

Big Brother and The Holding Company

VENUE : Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, USA

DATE : 05/18/68

LINEAGE : R2R > Cass > CD > FLAC


Dead Air
Coo Coo Bird
Combination of the Two
Farewell Song
Piece of my Heart

NOTES : The rumor about this one is that it was recorded by Jorma Kaukonen himself.
I don't know weather it's true or not, but I know the sound quality is awesome and
the band is blazing on this recording, especially Janis !

Enjoy !

Size 195.77 MB (205,282,846 bytes)
Added Thu 01st Feb, 2007 17:32 GMT
Upped by REWSTER
Santa Clara, 18 may 1968

1. Comin' home, 2. Road block, 3. Summertime, 4. Coo coo, 5. Combination of the two, 6. Farewell song, 7. Piece of my heart

Just one entry this time, but I present it pretty much unedited to cover
the full scope of a long day of music (seven hours!) which included
Mother Earth (Tracy Nelson’s first group), Big Brother with Janis Joplin,
and more, along with the Quick, playing by day in the open air during one
of the Bay Area‘s best seasons. A newspaper report said 6,000 people
attended and called the benefit “a tremendous success.“ As always,
apologies to any musicians I dissed out of ignorance rather than good
Note for anyone inclined to speed-read until I get to the Quicksilver
set: John shows up during the Ace of Cups’ performance. And stay tuned
for Janis (but bring some earplugs!)
P.S. (to "the little onion") -- good to hear from you, and I know all
about procrastination. Should have sent this new Diary entry last
weekend, but I was too caught up in watching the Leonid Meteors (nice

Family Park, San Jose, October 8, 1967

Today is the anniversary of the first time I ever saw the Quicksilver
Messenger Service (last year), and the occasion was extraordinary in
itself, aside from its fortunate timing. The Haight-Ashbury Medical
Clinic closed recently, and a series of benefits is being held for it.
Today’s featured an incredible roster of talent: Mad River, Freedom
Highway, Mother Earth, the Congress of Wonders, the Ace of Cups, the
Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother & the Holding Company! It
took place in the Family Park near the San Jose Fairgrounds, a good-sized
grassy area with trees and picnic tables in the rear. The show was slated
to last from noon to dusk, and it did just that, on a beautiful warm,
sunny day.
We arrived a little before noon, and I had just enough time to finish
lunch before Mad River started their set. They were playing “Wind
Chimes”, a lovely instrumental, when I found a place on the lawn, among a
well-spaced crowd -- [in more ways than one, for] pot was wafting
everywhere like sweet-musty smog in the breeze. They’re an interesting
group, good musicians with a very good drummer, but their problem (like
that of many new groups) lies with their lead singer. His voice is
quavery and fairly musical, but it isn’t strong enough. The best thing
about Mad River is their material, which is self-written and artistically
well-done, quite unusual. One song whose thread I could follow only
vaguely was something about a dying 15-year-old girl and a truckdriver!
Despite their faults, Mad River is one of the best new groups.
On the other hand there’s Freedom Highway, one of Ron Polte’s stable [he
also managed the Quicksilver, the Congress of Wonders, and the Ace of
Cups]. Freedom Highway has several good tunes, but their two singers are
both _very_ bad, and their instrumentalists are no great shakes either.
While they were on, I amused myself by watching a blue crepe-paper
streamer (tied to a tree limb) fluttering and undulating sinuously in the
wind. It almost seemed to move to the music, and looking away from its
blue made the colored balloons and the clothes of the musicians even
brighter by comparison. It was a real exercise for the eyes.
Freedom Highway finally left and Mother Earth came on. This time they
were minus their pianist (permanently), but the organist Ira [Kamin]
played both piano and organ. They were as fine as they had been last week
(when I saw them at Winterland with Jefferson Airplane), and they did
some of the same numbers with great vigor and style. Their girl singer
Tracy Nelson [a little slip of a thing in those days] sang “Dust My
Broom”, “Help Me, Jesus”, and a song I hadn’t heard before called
“Dancing Witch of Memphis”. She wore brown velveteen bell-bottoms, an
antique ruffled silk blouse, and granny spectacles, creating quite an
old-fashioned effect in contrast to her delighted hops, and her slow,
emotional movement during other numbers. Paul St. John was also like
someone from the past, perhaps a stray gold miner, with his droopy
moustache, long, pulled-back hair, jeans and black vest. The Negro lead
guitarist looked as hip as before, very on top of things. Ira was
half-hidden behind his instruments most of the time; he’s bespectacled
and has curly black hair. He also seems to be the group’s pet grump (I
like grumps). At Winterland, he kept telling everyone in the group to
hurry up! Unlike last time, his organ came through too softly, but at
least I could hear Paul’s singing and harp playing. The remaining member
of the group is a blond bass player with glasses. Till I get to know more
about Mother Earth, there’s not much I can say, but they have a clean,
well-executed sound that I like very much.
Next came the good old Congress of Wonders., whom I hadn’t expected to
see again for many months after last time, because I’ve been seeing them
at such wide intervals -- October ‘65, December ‘66, and September ‘67.
But this time it has only been a month! They did their Uncle Trippy’s
Kiddie Show bit with a different “Flesh Garden” episode (Flesh and his
goddess girlfriend get attacked by the horrible two-headed duck-billed
beast, then by two “Stonedmen”). Instead of the “Rose Drab” story, they
did a tale of “Lloyd of the Baboons”, a cultured, British-accented former
New York “prevert” who ends each chest-beating yell with a weak
trail-off. He got involved with some motorcycle-riding Shriners and some
Pygmies with a gold-plated temple, and needless to say, chaos prevailed.
In deference to (out of fear of?) all the Hell’s Angels present today,
the Congress didn’t do their “Hell’s Angels Grape Juice” commercial. At
times, their sound effects were rather dizzying, but they were hilarious.
After the CoW came the Ace of Cups, an all-girl group which is, like the
romantic heroines, beautiful but terrible. Terrible _musically_, in this
case. As instrumentalists they’re OK, but as singers -- awful! [Which
might not matter to some in the audience because] the drummer is
beautiful in a Judy Collins way, and there are all types of hair colors
-- brown, blonde, black, and two redheads. The “highlight” of their set
(aside from one good number, “Moonsong”, about the land of Gemini) was
the blowout of their organ amp. This necessitated bringing one of the
Quicksilver’s amps -- but it wasn’t working out, so who should come up
but John Cipollina, super-handsome in rust-brown trousers and an olive
corduroy shirt, to fix the trouble. He did so, then disappeared from the
stage with a smile and a wave for the girls. They later dedicated part of
a song to the Quicksilver, and John stood near the stage grinning all
through it. Seeing him reminded me of the first time I saw the
Quicksilver, at a dance concert at Pauley Ballroom, for then too he was
my initiation to the group -- that incredible fellow in a frock coat and
wide-brimmed hat, leaping up the stairs with his guitar case in hand.
Later in the Ace of Cups’ over-long set, I noticed David’s fuzzy head
peeping out from behind a part of the speaker system, and Greg was also
stumping about.
At last, the Quicksilver came on! John, as I said, was really
magnificent looking, out in the full sunlight for once. (The only other
time I’d seen all of the Quick outdoors was at cloudy Monterey.) David
looked fine in his trim blue shirt and jeans. His hair has started to
curl up and out again, but gently. Today Gary was shaggy as usual. I’ll
get to Greg later.
After the usual lengthy tune-up, the Quick launched into “Dino’s Song”.
Unfortunately, there were people sitting on the cables in front of the
stage, fouling up the sound, and the song turned out pretty hashed-up.
“Back Door Man” didn’t fare much better, but it contained a great
surprise: a sax-player! I was amazed (and hoped fervently that he
wouldn’t reflect Gary’s taste for John Coltrane). I needn’t have
distrusted the Quicksilver. The horn man’s merit was revealed in the
third number of the set, which I think is an adaptation of the bossa nova
the Quick performed on my birthday-celebration night, though John
introduced it as “daytime music.” The new man plays both sax and flute,
in solo and as back-up, very mellowly. He looks like he’s in his 20s, and
he has a little chin beard. [I later discovered this was Steve Schuster,
co-author (with Gary) of “Gold & Silver”.] As befits a new member or
guest, he was unobtrusive when he wasn’t playing. He may not be
permanent, but I’d be pleased if he were. I could see a possible future
in mutated jazz for the Quicksilver.
The fourth number was “Driving Wheel”, Nick the Greek’s song done by
David. I love it! It’s up-tempo yet tender, and when David let out with a
particularly powerful chorus he grinned like a child (“Look what _I_
did!”). After that came “Who Do You Love?” -- usually their 15-
20-minute blockbuster but today cut almost in half, with no ill effects.
John and Gary still got in some wild music, and the whole song is
arranged very dramatically.
“Acapulco Gold and Silver”.... A jazz/rock masterpiece. The new man
played a sax solo that fit in perfectly, and Greg did a two- or
three-minute drum solo that could scarcely be believed! He seemed wider
awake than usual, less in a trance, and looked good in his thicker dark
beard and moustache. His solo built to a tremendous, speeding crescendo
that somehow slipped into the song again. David had a good strong bass
solo which he played as he usually does, bobbing slightly, eyes serious
and looking almost worried under his quizzical brows. John and Gary,
equally lead guitarists, created exciting sounds both on and off the
leit-motif theme.
They did one more number to close the set -- an example of Quicksilver
deviltry, because they played for six or eight (or maybe ten) minutes
after the MC had asked them to play for only two minutes more! David
protested that it would take Gary that long to tune his 12-string -- it
did. The MC shrugged, “Play it extra-fast.” But when Gary finished
tuning, John was off at one corner of the stage, talking to someone, and
Gary and David had to yell at him to attract his attention and get him
back. (At the time, John was almost a caricature of his sultry self, with
a cigarette drooping from his lips and his eyes half-closed.) At any
rate, after all this preparation they did the new, most advanced piece I
heard for the first time on September 2nd, [“The Fool”]. It’s very
Oriental-sounding, mostly instrumental, and one of its highlights is a
solo by John where he combines his usual zinging chords with his wah-wah
pedal. At the end of the song, David starts to sing mystical lyrics that
conclude with the words “Life is love,” first sung and then spoken
softly. It’s quite moving.
The period between the Quicksilver’s set and Big Brother’s was an
interesting collage of sights and sounds. I heard a girl talking about
one of the Quicksilver [it turned out to be Gary] being married, having a
little blond boy and another baby on the way. I also saw John on the same
stage with Sam Andrews of Big Brother, another of nature’s delightful
wonders. I envisioned the stage melting or something, but all that came
from the stunning combination is my decision that John _is_ the handsomer
of the two, because his features are more vivid.
John wandered off, all of Big Brother wandered on, and the set began.
Janis, in hiphuggers, a magenta sash, and a coarse lace blouse, leapt up
and screamed “Down on Me!” The set kept getting louder and louder, with
instrumental noise provided by sexy Sam, bassist Peter (in relatively
straight [non-hip] garb), Jim in a wild orange cossack-shirt (half open)
ripping out loud, screaming sounds on his guitar, and David (crazy mod
clothes, massed-product-of-a-million-spiders hair) with some beautiful
Next came “Roadblock” (which Peter announced they’d do in the
forthcoming Richard Lester flick “Petulia”). And a great “Bye Bye Baby”.
Then, EVEN LOUDER, “Light Is Faster Than Sound” -- the music reverberated
in my ears like the blinding glare of orange-fluorescent paper, humming
in my bones and maybe even (I vaguely thought) changing around my genes.
The noise was virtually unbearable! Some respite came in the first part
of “Cuckoo”, which Jim announced in a nutty German accent instead of his
normal funny drawl. “Farewell Song”, written by Sam and sung by Janis, is
really good, but by that time the amps were getting to me. I went back to
watching my streamer, now rippling against a cool evening sky. Far
overhead, planes moved like silver gnats.
The last brain-searing number was “Combination of the Two”, which
started with a groovy rasper shaped like a sausage with a washboard
printed on it. Otherwise, it was just a contest between my buzzing head
and my paralyzed legs. This isn’t meant as a complete put-down of Big
Brother, who are great at lower volume, but I was glad when I could get
up and totter over to meet my folks. [And now you know why I never really
got into Heavy Metal -- my vulnerable ears!]
Today was mainly an anniversary for me, featuring the Quicksilver
Messenger Service, and those beautiful people filled the bill admirably.
The Quicksilver are all-around incomparable, and years ahead of everyone
else. I’m privileged to be given the chance to see them.


1) Slinky (for John Cipollina)

Slinky moves
like cat through willow
a flow of body
melting marble

2) Gnome Owl (for David Freiberg)

Gnome owl
forever puzzled
feathers ruffled
sits in his tree
singing to greenleaf
so deep, nightsong
dark through the pines

3) Witch Face (for Janis Joplin)

Witch face
like a shrinking red baloon
screaming until
she’s rounded smooth again

4) Streamer

The streamer undulates
like a blue snake
a braided boa lashing its tail
into West

--Faren Miller