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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Roger and Allison Kulp" <[log in to unmask]>
> Screaming can be done well.I have always liked her version of "Ball and
Chain".Both Merle Haggard,and The Grateful Dead did this song up right  many
times.Ramblin' Jack Elliot is pretty good,too. Roger
>   Lou Judson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:  Not to argue, but Bobby McGee is
one of the few she did not scream
> (much anyway!). But Kris Kristofferson wrote it and did it better....
>
Well, I'm regularly flamed on several blues e-mail lists because I
refuse to worship at the "holy Janis" shrine that was created when
she up and died young (an inevitability for musicians...mebbe I
shoulda died around 1990?)...but I have always had the impression
that she was trying to make up for not having a voice with Bessie's
strength and depth by screaming to try and reach equivalent volume!
Worse yet, her popularity led to a whole generation of blues-singer-
wannabes that actually thought that was how blues SHOULD be sung
(which I had to endure at a few million open stage jams!)...!

Of course, at the time she was one of VERY few singers who even
thought of attempting a cover of Bessie Smith's style...so there
was no one at whom one could point and say "Now THAT'S the way
it should be done!"

I only saw/heard one female blues vocalist who could do justice
to Bessie Smith...a young black woman in Chicago, Valerie
Wellington. Sadly, she died WAY too young due to a brain
aneurysm (32, IIRC) and recorded only one LP.

Steven C. Barr
(CMFIC "Steven C and the Red Rockets" 1986-2006...)