Janis Joplin, the Texas-born girl who has become one of the leading blues and rock singers over the last two years, gave an excellent performance before a near-capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden last night.
Miss Joplin, a shouter of great energy, emerged a year ago as a solo performer with her own six-piece back-up band after first coming to prominence as lead singer for a raucous San Francisco rock group, Big Brother and the Holding Company.
When her new band was first heard, its main fault was that energy was being sacrificed for precision. The raw, bursting-out blues of Miss Joplin seemed inhibited by an often colorless group of musicians.
That criticism did not apply last night. At the Garden, Miss Joplin’s accomplices gave a powerful and spontaneously happy display of brass blues and rock, and she let herself go in a very exciting way.
Despite some problems with the vocal amplification system early in the set, she sang lustily and loud, on such material as "Bo Diddley," an old rock song, and an original blues of undetermined title written about the experiences of a hip-type in Texas.
For this she was joined by guitarist Johnny Winter, another Texan who has come to light lately. They played and sang a long duet, which grew into an informal jam session with Paul Butterfield, whose blues band shared the bill at the Garden with Miss Joplin.