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Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin01.jpg
Janis Joplin at Woodstock
Performed on Day 2
Started at 2.00 am, Sunday, 17th
Played for 60 min.
Further Information
Festival Day Chronology
Prev. artist Creedence Clearwater Revival at 12.30 am
Next artist Sly & The Family Stone at 3.30 am

Janis Joplin and her former band Big Brother & the Holding Company gained stardom at the Monterey International Pop Festival 1967. In late 1968 she left the band to move on to a solo career. Of course, Janis ended up in Woodstock together with a full ensemble of musicians.

Her late performance - she played in the night of Saturday to Sunday at about 2:00 am - didn't make things easier for her. The show was still strong but it lacked somewhat of Janis Joplin's power and improvisation of her backing band. Nevertheless, this gig is a worthwhile document of time.


  • Janis Joplin - vocals
  • Maury Baker - drums
  • Terry Clements - tenor saxophone
  • Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers - baritone saxophone, vocals
  • Luis Gasca - trumpet
  • John Till - guitar
  • Richard Kermode - keyboards
  • Brad Campbell - bass


  1. Raise Your Hand
  2. As Good as You've Been to This World
  3. To Love Somebody
  4. Summertime
  5. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
  6. Kozmic Blues
  7. I Can't Turn You Loose
  8. Work Me, Lord
  9. Piece of My Heart
  10. Ball and Chain


The band mostly played songs from Janis Joplin's first solo album I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969). The song that stands out of this material is "Kosmic Blues", written by Janis and her producer, Gabriel Mekler.

The choice of cover numbers is varied:

  • "Raise Your Hand" from the Soul singer Eddie Floyd,
  • The Bee Gees' original "To Love Somebody",
  • The newly interpreted Gershwin composition "Summertime" (the arrangement originating from Big Brother & the Holding Company, but with the addition of horns) and
  • "Work Me, Lord" a traditionally arranged song where Janis gives her best.

The two latter ones were probably the hightlights of her show.

There were two encores, two songs which had been regular parts of Big Brother & the Holding Company sets: "Piece of My Heart", a song first recorded by Erma Franklin (Aretha's elder sister) and a cover of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain".

"I Can't Turn You Loose" was sung by Cornelius Flowers. Janis adds only a little of her vocals to the song.


At Woodstock contains Janis' complete Woodstock set as taken from the soundboard (no remastering). Her performance also circulates on various bootlegs which seem to run longer than the At Woodstock CD.

The out-of-print 1974 documentary "Janis" (AKA "Janis: The Way She Was") is worth searching out on VHS or laserdisc for footage of "The Good Days/I Can't Turn Loose". It's an odd choice for inclusion given that Snookie Flowers sings most of it. Janis appears to be enjoying herself all the same, however.