Big Brother & The Holding Company - How Hard It Is (1971)

Big Brother & The Holding Company are an American rock band which emerged from the psychedelic music scene of San Francisco in the 1960s.
How Hard It Is was Big Brother's second album after reforming after Janis Joplin's departure from the band, and also their first since her death in October 1970. The new lineup of Sam Andew, James Gurley, Pete Albin, David Getz, Dave Shallock, Nick Gravenites and Kathi McDonald was expanded with the addition of keyboardist Mike Finnegan. It turned out to be a great step forward from the promising Be A Brother, with a unique style of guitar-driven rock throughout, and a stronger focus. One of the standout tracks was Gravenites' "Buried Alive In The Blues", which he had actually originally written to be sung by Joplin - she died before she could record her vocals, and it ended up on her Pearl album as an instrumental. Gravenite's version here is one of his best vocal performances, set to a stunning horn-driven arrangement.
Another couple of interesting songs were the classically-influenced instrumentals that closed each side of the album, showing the ambition and talent the band possessed. They could have gone on to more great things, but sadly it was not to be. The album didn't really go anywhere, as it seemed no one was too interested in them without Joplin, and by 1972 they had broken up.

Be A Brother (1970) <|> Cheaper Thrills (1984)
More from Big Brother & The Holding Company


No comments: