John Cooke has written an interesting account of his brief stint as the infamous Joplin's road manager and friend. It's a fascinating trip back into the peace-loving, free spirit, musical times of the mid Sixties and Seventies. Cooke shares his vast knowledge of music history with style and class and does Joplin justice by portraying her as an intelligent but flawed musician. Cooke describes Janis as a powerhouse with a smart mind and quick wit but also extremely insecure and perhaps some of her insecurities led to her addictions that would sadly claim her far too soon.
Cooke's book brings up a lot of WHAT IF's. What if Big Brother and the Holding Company had never played at the Monterey Pop Festival? What if Cooke hadn't been there holding a camera, filming Janis' break out moment? Cooke refers early to a ripple effect and a Destiny with a set course.
It's not hard to wonder: What IF Janis Joplin had survived? No doubt she would have had much more bluegrass rock to share, in that soulful style that Joplin fans grew to love. And maybe, just maybe, Janis could've shared more than a few pieces of her heart.
Special thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for a digital copy in exchange for a review.