Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Piece Of My Heart - Erma Franklin

Few people realize that "Piece Of My Heart" isn't a Janis Joplin original. Even fewer people realize that the song was first cut by Aretha Franklin's older sister, Erma. If Aretha was the queen of soul then Erma Franklin certainly held high court in the adjacent kingdom of it's northern relative . Both sisters are R&B royalty however, fans of Erma tend to align themselves more with the funkier side of northern soul.

There is an important interpretive difference between Erma's balladeering and Janis's rock-blues arrangement. When Franklin faces the breakup bullet her voice seems to persevere (barely) above the pain, but when Joplin takes that same shot she seems to sing the role of relationship martyr, ready to bear the abusive brunt from a neglectful partner. This distinction might be from approaching the source material from different genres, but you tell me. Listen to both versions below and see if you don't notice a telling difference between these two pieces of broken heart.

Piece of My Heart

Hear this b-side if you think Erma is a one song wonderess.

Baby, What You Want Me To Do

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