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On the Road with Janis Joplin

On the Road with Janis Joplin - John Byrne Cooke I got this ebook free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a great read for Joplin fans, and it's exactly what it claims to be. Written in a high-energy, fast-paced voice by Joplin's road manager, it tells the story of most of Janis Joplin's singing career, her three bands, and her struggles and triumphs. If they ever make a movie of this story, there are going to be a lot of ye olde composite characters, because there are a lot of people moving in and out of this story. Also a lot of places, ad nauseum... a show here, a show there, two shows this other place, the tours and the parties sometimes run together.

The best moments of the book are the serious ones, in which the author takes some time to contemplate what's going on. Robert Kennedy's and King's assassinations. Joplin's death, of course. But also the heady time when Janis Joplin got clean and found what she wanted as an artist, how exciting that felt. But the general effect of the book is a fast-paced party, going here and there, suffering failures and riding successes high, names, big and small, dancing by.

If you're not a Joplin fan, the level of detail might feel a little excessive, but it's perfect for fans. It's a tribute from a man who knew her well and deeply respected and admired her.