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Famous Blues Covers: Janis Joplin, "Ball and Chain"

 



Photo taken from Janis Joplin official Facebook page





Famous Blues Covers


"Ball and Chain" (also "Ball 'n' Chain" or "Ball & Chain") is a blues song written and recorded by American blues artist Big Mama Thornton. Although her recording did not appear on the record charts, the song has become one of Thornton's best-known, largely due to performances and recordings by Janis Joplin.





In the early 1960s,Thornton recorded several songs for Bay-Tone Records. Thornton also recorded "Ball and Chain" for Bay Tone, although it was never released

In 1968, Arhoolie Records released "Ball and Chain" An edited version, titled "Ball and Chain Part 1" was released as a single, while the complete four and a half minute song is included on a joint album by Thornton, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Larry Williams titled Ball and Chain. Thornton is backed by a small combo with her frequent guitar accompanist Edward "Bee" Houston She later recorded several live and studio performances of the song, included her 1969 Billboard Top 200 album Stronger Than Dirt.






Janis Joplin, who frequently acknowledged Thornton's musical influence, recorded several live performances of "Ball and Chain". It seems Joplin first heard the song during a performance by Big Mama Thornton at a bar in San Francisco.The group transformed the song into a slow minor-key blues with breaks They performed the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 to an enthusiastic audience and critical reception. Another live version of "Ball and Chain", recorded March 8, 1968, at the Fillmore East, was included on Big Brother's 1968 breakthrough album Cheap Thrills.

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