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  1. #1
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    The Js - Janis and Joni

    Name:  Joplin pearl sessons.jpg
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Size:  74.0 KB Name:  Joni Mitchell Archives vol 1.jpg
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    It's an interesting thing, to my aged mind.

    Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell were almost exact contemporaries, both born in 1943 and having first recordings released about 1968. But in my mind it's like they inhabit two different musical eras. I guess it's that Janis will always be 27 to me, without the kind of career arc that a longer lived and productive artist like Joni had.

    I've been listening to both of late, courtesy of a couple of box sets. In Janis's case, it's the Pearl Sessions box set (two CDs), and in Joni's case it's Archives Vol. 1, a 5-disc set.

    Haven't fully grokked all the very early Joni recordings, that's to come, but the Pearl Sessions are really interesting. I have a new-found appreciation for Janis, she was a truly great singer. It's so sad we didn't get to see where that talent and focused work would have taken her.

    It's also remarkable to me that Pearl was released posthumously 50 years ago. Yes 50. That is half the way back to the very first days of popular recorded music. It still sounds fresh and wonderful.

    The recording technology of the era is kind of interesting. Bobby McGee has become an ear-worm for me, I hear it in my head all the time, so have listened to the different versions quite a few times. There is no question the mono radio version is superior. To me, I think this is because of the early stereo mastering (I know, stereo had been around for quite a while, but it hadn't yet quite reached its full potential). In Pearl's case, the stereo separation for the guitar and keyboards is very wide -- almost entirely right or left channel. Vocals and rhythm are in the center. It's kind of like the early Ian and Sylvia stereo recordings, like Four Strong Winds, where Ian is entirely in one channel, Sylvia in the other.

    I find this very disconcerting and not very nice, and not at all natural.

    In the case of Pearl, one of the results is that in the stereo version occasional fills and dubs sit floating in the left or right channel like a weird artifact, whereas with the mono version it all sounds pretty seamless. But they are all still wonderful performances.

    R.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member w3wilkes's Avatar
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    My version is from a box set titled "Box of Pearls" and also includes Big Brother's debut album and Cheap Thrills. Bobby McGee on Pearl is stereo. Janis, Bass guitar, Organ and Drums are all mostly center with Lead guitar right channel and rhythm Guitar and Piano left channel. Oddly, this is kind of the way I remember the band being positioned on stage when I saw Big Brother and the Holding Company back in 1968 or 1969. What a great concert, they pretty much did Cheap Thrills front to back along with several other songs. Granted this was before Janis did her solo work, but what a treat to have seen them live!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by w3wilkes View Post
    My version is from a box set titled "Box of Pearls" and also includes Big Brother's debut album and Cheap Thrills. Bobby McGee on Pearl is stereo. Janis, Bass guitar, Organ and Drums are all mostly center with Lead guitar right channel and rhythm Guitar and Piano left channel. Oddly, this is kind of the way I remember the band being positioned on stage when I saw Big Brother and the Holding Company back in 1968 or 1969. What a great concert, they pretty much did Cheap Thrills front to back along with several other songs. Granted this was before Janis did her solo work, but what a treat to have seen them live!
    It's not that the instruments shouldn't be separated left/right to some degree, it's that in real life it wasn't like the respective amps were positioned directly to your side, left or right. There was a live soundstage. The width of the separation in the stereo versions seems subjectively to be way wider than it would have been in concert. Not that I ever got to see Janis in concert, so that is conjecture.

    R.
    LMS on a dedicated server (FitPC3)
    Transporter (Ethernet) - main listening, Onkyo receiver, Paradigm speakers
    Touch (WiFi) - home theater 5.1, Sony receiver, Energy speakers
    Boom 1 (WiFi) - work-space
    Boom 2 (WiFi) - various (deck, garage, etc.)
    Radio (WiFi) - home office
    Control - Squeeze Control (Android mobile), 2 Controllers (seldom used), Squeeze Remote (on Surface Pro 4)
    Touch x 1 - spare
    UE Radio x 1 - spare
    Boom x 1 - spare
    Controller x 1 - Spare
    Duet Receiver (backup)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonM View Post
    It's not that the instruments shouldn't be separated left/right to some degree, it's that in real life it wasn't like the respective amps were positioned directly to your side, left or right. There was a live soundstage. The width of the separation in the stereo versions seems subjectively to be way wider than it would have been in concert. Not that I ever got to see Janis in concert, so that is conjecture.

    R.
    Talking of weird stereo mixes from the 60s I find the opening 20-30 seconds of Cream’s NSU on Fresh Cream quite disconcerting. It’s like one channel of your amp is broken and then suddenly it’s not but it’s still weird.
    I love Cream btw.
    Jim
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