Thursday, January 19, 2012

A rocking anniversary (with its own drink?!)

A year-and-a-bit ago, I posted some Janis Joplin songs in tribute to the 40th anniversary of her untimely death.

Today, I happened upon online drinking bible, Difford's Guide, which informed me that today's notable event was... Janis's birthday. She would have been 69 today, quite the grand old lady. It would have been nice to see how her voice and her style might have matured; many of her contemporaries (Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Janis Ian) are still singing gorgeously.

Difford's recommends a special cocktail for the event - the Southern Tea-Knee. (Knee??!! What's that all about? I don't object to shortening the name to Tini; or even using the jokey Tea-Ni, since it does have tea in it. But Tea-Knee seems ludicrous, jarring.) It's mostly Southern Comfort (a tipple Janis was notoriously fond - somewhat over-fond - of), but throws in half-shots of Bombay Sapphire, Apricot Brandy, and Banana Bols, and then tops up with cold Earl Grey tea to introduce some tannic bitterness. Sounds interesting. I think I'd be inclined to up the Southern Comfort proportion very slightly, to stop the fruit flavours dominating (or, better, to add some straight bourbon, to stop the sweetness getting out of hand).

With or without a drink in hand, let us once again enjoy Janis's finest hour - Me and Bobby McGee.  [I learned just recently that the song was in fact written by Kris Kristofferson, and 'Bobbie', the travelling companion/lover who sang the blues so affectingly was originally a girl. This excellent blog post by Maud Newton, in analysing the lyrical genius of Hank Williams, quotes the country star Roger Miller (a key figure in my childhood!) as being particularly admiring of this song; in fact, he had been the first person to have a hit with it. I am curious to hear what that was like, but also somewhat afraid to go looking for it on YouTube; that song belongs to Janis now - anyone else's interpretation is going to sound like a bit of a travesty.  I should probably add this song to the growing list of nominations on this recent 'Great Lyrics' post on fellow Beijing-ren Bucketoftongues' music blog.]

There's also a nice live version here, though, unfortunately, with jarringly mismatched video; and this enchanting rarity, supposedly her first-ever recording of the song.

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