Summertime - Big Brother & the Holding Company

Rola: Summertime
Traducción: Verano
Intérprete: Big Brother & the Holding Company
Compositor: George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward
Disco: Cheap Thrills
Productor: John Simon


"Summertime" is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.

The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt... one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote....Gershwin's highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of African-Americans in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century." Heyward's lyrics for "Summertime" and "My Man's Gone Now" have been called "the best lyrics in the musical theater" by composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. The Ukrainian-Canadian composer and singer Alexis Kochan has suggested that he based the tune on a Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows), which he heard in a New York City performance by Oleksander Koshetz’s Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929. Gershwin had completed setting DuBose Heyward's poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months complete and orchestrating the score of the opera.

The song was for the first time recorded by Abbie Mitchell on 19 July 1935, with George Gershwin playing the piano and conducting the orchestra (on: George Gershwin Conducts Excerpts form Porgy & Bess, Mark 56 667). It is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby and soon after as counterpoint to the craps game scene, in Act II in a reprise by Clara, and in Act III by Bess, singing to Clara's baby.


Duración: 04:01
Año: 1968
Formato: L.P.
A la venta: 01/08/1968
Disquera: Columbia


Janis Joplin - voz
Peter Albin – bajo y guitarra
Sam Andrew – bajo, guitarra y voz
James Gurley - bajo y guitarra
David Getz - piano y batería



Child, your living's easy.
Fish are, fish are jumping out
And the cotton, Lord,
Cotton's high, Lord so high.

Your dad's rich
And your ma is so good-looking, baby.
She's a-looking pretty fine to me now,
Hush, baby, baby, baby, baby now,
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,
Don't you cry, don't you cry.

One of these mornings
You're gonna rise, rise up singing,
You're gonna spread your wings, child,
And take, take to the sky,
Lord, the sky.

But until that morning,
Honey, n-n-nothing's going to harm ya,
No, no, no no, no no, no...
Don't you cry — cry.


1. "Combination of the Two"
2. "I Need a Man to Love"
3. "Summertime"
4. "Piece of My Heart"

1. "Turtle Blues"
2. "Oh, Sweet Mary"
3. "Ball and Chain"

Cheap Thrills is the second album from Big Brother and the Holding Company and their last album with Janis Joplin as primary lead vocalist.

Big Brother obtained a considerable amount of attention after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and had released their debut album soon after. Despite their newfound success, the album was a modest hit reaching only number 60, though the single Down On Me nearly broke the Top 40. Columbia Records offered the band a new recording contract, but it took months to get through since they were still signed to Mainstream Records.[1] The album features three cover songs ("Summertime," "Piece of My Heart," "Ball and Chain"). The album also features Bill Graham, who introduces the band at the beginning of "Combination of the Two". "Combination of the Two," "I Need a Man to Love," and the nearly ten-minute "Ball and Chain" are the only live recordings. The album's overall raw sound effectively captures the band's energetic and lively concerts.

The cover was drawn by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb after the band's original cover idea, a picture of the group naked in bed together, was dropped by the record company. Crumb had originally intended his art for the LP back cover, with a portrait of Joplin to grace the front. But Joplin—an avid fan of underground comics, especially the work of Crumb—so loved the Cheap Thrills illustration that she demanded Columbia Records place it on the front cover. It is number nine on Rolling Stone's list of one hundred greatest album covers.

Initially, the album was to be called Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills, but the title was not received well by Columbia Records.

The album was released in the summer of 1968, one year after their debut album, and reached number one on the Billboard charts in its eighth week in October. It kept the number one spot for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks while the single, "Piece of My Heart," also became a huge hit. By the end of the year it was the most successful album of 1968, having sold nearly a million copies. The success was short-lived however, as Janis Joplin left the group for a solo career in December, 1968. In 2003, the album was ranked number 338 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. They previously ranked it #50 on their Top 100 Albums of the Past 20 Years list in 1987. It is often regarded as one of the key recordings of the late 1960s. It is also listed on the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Outtakes originally to have appeared on the album have since been released on Janis Joplin compilations such as Farewell Song (In which Big Brother's original instruments were replaced with studio musicians from 1983, angering the band) and the Janis compilation box set featuring all original studio songs and live recordings. The 1999 re-release of Cheap Thrills features the outtakes "Flower in the Sun" and "Roadblock" as well as live performances of "Magic of Love" and "Catch Me Daddy" as bonus material.


Big Brother & the Holding Company: San Francisco

Big Brother and the Holding Company is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1965 as part of the same psychedelic music scene that produced the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jefferson Airplane. They are best known as the band that featured Janis Joplin as their lead singer. Their 1968 album Cheap Thrills is considered one of the masterpieces of the psychedelic sound of San Francisco; it reached number one on the Billboard charts, and was ranked number 338 in Rolling Stone 's the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Leader Peter Albin, a country-blues guitarist who had played with future founders of the Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia and Ron McKernan, met Sam Andrew, a professional rock & roll guitarist with a jazz and classical background. After playing together at Albin's home Andrews suggested they form a band.[1] The pair approached guitarist James Gurley, the resulting threesome playing open jam sessions hosted by entrepreneur Chet Helms in 1965. Helms found them a drummer, Chuck Jones, and set up the newly formed Big Brother and the Holding Company at their first gig, the Trips Festival in January 1966. In the audience was painter and jazz drummer David Getz, who soon displaced Jones.

Big Brother went on to become the house band at the Avalon Ballroom, playing a progressive style of instrumental rock. Feeling a need for a strong vocalist, Helms contacted Janis Joplin in Austin, Texas, who at the time was considering joining up with Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators. She traveled to San Francisco and debuted with the band at the Avalon on June 10, 1966.

Joplin sang for the first time with Big Brother in 1966. Years later, guitarist Sam Andrew described the band's first impressions of her:

We were the established rock and roll band. We were heavy. We were like: all right, out of three or four bands in this city, we are one of them. We're in the newspapers all the time. We're working out. We are doing this woman a favor to even let her come and sing with us. She came in and she was dressed like a little Texan. She didn't look like a hippie, she looked like my mother, who is also from Texas. She sang real well but it wasn't like, "Oh we're bowled over." It was probably more like, our sound was really loud. It was probably bowling her over. I am sure we didn't turn down enough for her. She wrote letters home about how exotic all of us were. The names of the bands. That kind of thing. In other words, we weren't flattened by her and she wasn't flattened by us. It was probably a pretty equal meeting. She was a real intelligent, Janis was, and she always rose to the occasion. She sang the songs. It wasn't like this moment of revelation like you would like it to be. Like in a movie or something. It wasn't like, "Oh my God, now we have gone to heaven. We have got Janis Joplin." I mean she was good but she had to learn how to do that. It took her about a year to really learn how to sing with an electric band.

It took a while for some of the band's followers to accept the new singer. Her music was completely different from that which Big Brother was playing at that time. Big Brother had a very experimental and non-conventional sound, but with Janis, they became more conventional musicians, their songs adopted a more conventional structure, and the band started to increase its popularity in the underground San Francisco psychedelic scene.

At the end of 1966, Big Brother signed a contract with Mainstream Records. They recorded all the songs for the album Big Brother & the Holding Company for Mainstream at a studio in Chicago in three days; December 12 through 14th. Mainstream was known for its jazz records, and Big Brother was the first rock band to work with them. This may have influenced the final result, since the album sounded very different from what the band expected: acoustic and folk instead of heavy acid rock. The first single released was "Blind Man" b/w "All Is Loneliness," both from the album sessions, in July 1967. It was popular in the San Francisco Bay Area, but did not garner much national attention. A second single, "Down On Me" b/w "Call On Me" was released along with their self-titled debut album in the August 1967, following the band's national success after the Monterey Pop Festival. The album debuted on Billboard charts on 9/2/67, peaking at #60. It stayed on the charts for a total of 30 weeks. "Down On Me" had a long gestation in the marketplace and finally debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 8/31/68, peaking at #43. It stayed on the charts for 8 weeks. Other singles from the album were released through the end of 1967 and 1968. One final Mainstream single, "Coo Coo" b/w "The Last Time," was released after the band's second album came out on Columbia Records, in Nov. 1968. These last songs were from the original album sessions, but were not included on the album until Columbia Records bought the rights to all the Mainstream material and reissued the LP in the 1970s.

The band's historic performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 attracted national and international attention. The band was scheduled to play on Saturday afternoon, with a set which included "Down on Me", "Combination of The Two", "Harry", "Roadblock" and "Ball and Chain". However, the band decided not to allow Pennebaker's film crew to film and record them without paying them, and ordered the crew to turn its cameras off. The festival promoters thought the band performance was great, and asked them to play again the next evening in order to record it on film, but they played only two songs: "Combination of The Two" and a short version of "Ball and Chain" (without James Gurley's guitar solo). "I remember being amazed that this white woman was singing like Bessie Smith," said Michelle Phillips once. "I was astounded". They signed a contract with Columbia Records that November, and Albert Grossman became their manager.

Having received national recognition after the Monterey Pop Festival, Big Brother was booked by Columbia for engagements around the country. A well-known band on the West coast (especially in San Francisco), Big Brother played their first East Coast concert in New York City on February 17, 1968 at the Anderson Theater, 66 Second Avenue. Columbia's marketing department featured Janis Joplin as the star; before that time, some of the band's audience regarded James Gurley as of equal or more importance. In New York the press criticized the band for playing out of tune and for amplifiers set at maximum volume. The Village Voice, while noting that “ears came out ringing” after the Saturday night performance, cited Janis as ranking in sexual pizazz with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, and praised “her belting, groovy style,” mixing Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin and James Brown. “At times she seemed to be singing harmony with herself.” Big Brother was the first band to play in the legendary Fillmore East, in New York City, on March 8, 1968.

Their first album with Columbia was due to be recorded the spring and summer of 1968, and released later that year. It was eagerly anticipated, after the first album had been largely ignored. Initially planned as a live album, the band played two concerts at Grande Ballroom in Detroit, but the recorded results did not satisfy the producer John Simon or the manager Albert Grossman. The live album project was canceled, and Columbia decided to record most of the songs in studio. ("Down on Me" and "Piece of My Heart", taken from the Grande Ballroom concerts, were later released as part of Joplin's live album In Concert in 1972.) However, it was difficult adapting their raw sound and unorthodox work habits with the realities of a professional studio. The progress was slow, and the pressure from Grossman, Columbia, and the press increased. A few of the band members believed that John Simon should not be the producer, believing that he came from a different musical style and did not understand the band's psychedelic, guitar based sound.

The album was initially named Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills, but Columbia asked them to change it to just Cheap Thrills. For the cover, Columbia had the band photographed naked in a hotel room bed, but the band did not like it, so the band asked underground comic-book artist R. Crumb to create something. What was originally meant to be the back cover became the classic cover of the album, for the back cover Columbia chose a black & white picture of Janis Joplin. "Ball and Chain" is the only song on the album recorded entirely live, and even though the cover credits assert that the live material was recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium, it was actually taken from a concert in Winterland Ballroom in 1968; the same version that appears on the album Live at Winterland '68, released in 1998.[15] (The performance of "Ball and Chain" as released on the Winterland disc features a different opening guitar solo by Gurley, indicating that he'd dubbed a different intro for the Cheap Thrills issue.) The album was released in the summer of 1968, one year after their debut album, and reached number one on the Billboard charts in its eighth week in October. It held the number one spot for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks, and the single "Piece of My Heart" also became a huge hit. By the end of the year it was one of the most successful albums of 1968. It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. on October 15 that year for $1 million dollars worth of sales, with subsequent sales pushing the total over a million units.[16] Even though the album was released with only seven songs, the other eight songs which were not included were released on subsequent albums. "Catch Me Daddy" and "Farewell Song" were among their most popular songs. These plus "Magic of Love," a medley of "Amazing Grace" and "Hi-Heel Sneakers," and an outtake of "Harry" first appeared on Farewell Song, a posthumous Joplin release in 1981; they also appeared on the 3-CD set Janis in 1993. "It's a Deal" and "Easy Once you Know How" were released in Joplin's Box of Pearls in 1999. "Flower in The Sun" and "Roadblock" were released on the Cheap Thrills reissue CD as bonus tracks.[17][18][19] "Piece of My Heart" would be reissued on a single in the Columbia Hall of Fame oldies series---backed by the title cut from Joplin's first solo album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again, Mama.

At the end of the summer of 1968, just after appearing at the Palace of Fine Arts Festival in San Francisco, Joplin announced that she was leaving Big Brother in the fall of that year. The official reason given was her desire to go solo and form a soul music band. Sam Andrew also left the band to join Janis in her new project. Janis played with Big Brother until December 1, 1968, at a Family Dog Benefit concert in San Francisco. Twenty days later she and Sam played in Memphis for the first time with her new band, later called Kozmic Blues Band


Billie Holiday; Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald; Gene Vincent; Sam Cooke and The Marcels; The Zombies; Billy Stewart

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