In September 1966, with no money to return to San Francisco, Big Brother signed a contract with Mainstream Records. They recorded four of the songs for the album Big Brother & the Holding Company in a studio in Chicago at the end of a four week gig at Mother Blues On Wells Street. The club had paid them for only the first two weeks.
The remainder of the record was recorded in Los Angeles on December 12-14. Mainstream was known for its jazz records, and Big Brother was the first rock band to appear on the label. This may have influenced the final result, since the album sounded very different from what the band expected: acoustic and folk instead of heavy acid rock. The first single released was "Blind Man" b/w "All Is Loneliness," both from the album sessions, in July 1967. It was popular in the San Francisco Bay Area, but did not garner much national attention. A second single, "Down on Me" was released along with their self-titled debut album in August 1967, following the band's national success after the Monterey Pop Festival. The album debuted on Billboard charts on 9/2/67, peaking at No. 60. It stayed on the charts for a total of 30 weeks.
The Pop Chronicles criticized the record as difficult to find and "technically disappointing". Down On Me had a long gestation period in the marketplace and finally debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 8/31/68, peaking at No. 43. It stayed on the charts for 8 weeks. Other singles from the album were released through the end of 1967 and 1968. One final Mainstream single, "Coo Coo" b/w "The Last Time," was released after the band's second album was issued by Columbia Records in November, 1968. These last songs were from the original album sessions, but were not included on the LP until Columbia acquired all of the band's Mainstream recordings and reissued the album in the 1970's.
This was the bands first album and a real part of the sixties and the sixties sound. On this album are the following songs: Bye, Bye Baby, Easy Rider, Intruder, Light Is Faster Than Sound,Call On Me, Women Is Losers, Blindman, Down On Me, Caterpillar and All Is Loneliness. This album is in very good condition.