Big Brother & the Holding Company

Tribal Stomp

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There's a good amount of live Big Brother material on official release, so this bootleg -- assembled from various 1967-68 radio and live performances -- isn't as valuable to their discography as it would be if their live sound hadn't been documented as well. Committed fans, though, will find this worthwhile. The fidelity is okay (the vocals sometimes suffer), the level of performance is pretty good, and the track selection covers most of the best numbers in their repertoire ("Ball & Chain," "Down On Me," "Piece of My Heart," "Summertime"), as well as some enticing goodies like a ferocious charge through "Light Is Faster Than Sound," an eight-minute arrangement of "All Is Loneliness," and a ten-minute version of "Ball and Chain" which, though not on the level of the Monterey performance, is quite good. The highlight has to be "Summertime," which has an unusual, eerie arrangement quite different than the one on Cheap Thrills; a great cut, but it's marred by faintly recorded vocals.