Janis Joplin Tackles A Bob Dylan Classic With The Unforgettable, “Dear Landlord”
Left: britannica.com, Right: fanart.tv
Janis Brings Soul To Bob Dylan
In 1969, Janis Joplin was in the process of recording her first post-Big Brother solo effort I Got Dem ‘Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama! when she tackled Bob Dylan’s ‘Dear Landlord,’ putting a soulful spin on the folk classic. While her version didn’t make the original cut and only saw the light of day as an outtake on the Kozmic Blues reissue decades later, Janis still delivers an unforgettable vocal performance that makes you forget that hers was just a cover; imagine, if an outtake could sound this good, what on earth would a final version have sounded like?
I think it’s fantastic the way that Janis added an element of soul and a little funk to her version! While Bob’s version is undeniably wonderful, there’s something special about the way Janis sings ‘Dear Landlord’ that gives it an amazing sort of crossover appeal.
Fun Fact: ‘Dear Landlord’ was featured on Bob Dylan’s 1967 album, John Wesley Harding, and is sung by a narrator pleading for respect and equal rights.
Oh Janis, Janis, Janis – you really outdid yourself with this one. By 1969, she was well on her way to dominating the world of soul music the way she did rock, and her unique brand of blue eyed, psychedelic soul was unparalleled. While it’s unfortunate that it took so long for this to see the light of day – and that it’s just an outtake – we’re so glad that something this amazing exists!
+ Dear Landlord lyrics +
Dear landlord, please don’t put a price on my soul
My burden is heavy, dear
And my dreams are beyond my control
Oh yes, they are
But when that steamboat whistle blows
Oh, honey I’m gonna give you everything I ever had to give, yeah
And I do hope that you can receive it well
I know that it must be dependin’ on the way you feel that you live
Whoa, landlord, please heed these words that I try to speak
I know you must have suffered much
But honey you ain’t alone, you ain’t so unique
No no no, no no
All of us at times, I said, we might have worked too hard
Or too heavy, too fast and way too rushed, yeah
But everyone can fill their life with anything
You can look around, but baby, you just cannot touch
Whoa, my dear landlord, please don’t you dismiss my case
I’m not about to argue with you
And honey I’ll tell ya, I’m ain’t gonna move to no other place
‘Cause I just ain’t gonna do it, no no no
Each of us must have our own special gift
Oh honey, don’t you know that it’s got to be true
And if you don’t underestimate me, I’ll tell you one thing
I said that I won’t underestimate you, no