Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ball and chain

For a long-past period of time, I considered Ball and Chain sung by Janis Joplin as one of my better-liked songs. I had assumed she had also written the song, till I recently discovered it was by blues singer Big Mama Thornton, a discovery most satisfyingly accompanied by a video of Big Mama performing it.

A powerful, powerful voice. Art with unmistakable force, like stone-sculpting the form of a feather. Notice how muted, almost minimalist, the accompanying music is.

Here is the Janis Joplin version, with its emphasis on distortion of both the vocal and rhythmic parts.

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