ARTIST: Janis Joplin
TITLE: I Got Dem Ol’ Kosmic Blues Again Mama!
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #5, #23 R&B
SINGLES: Kozmic Blues (#41)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Try (Just a Little Bit Harder), Work Me, Lord.
LINEUP: Janis Joplin, Sam Andrew, Gabriel Mekler, Michael Bloomfield, other studio guys as the “Kozmic Blues Band”.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Joplin releases first solo album after she jumped from Big Brother. Album is just as musically sloppy but it’s sloppy with horns.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: (Note: Big Brother & the Holding Company will be covered separately, since they released two albums after Joplin left…)
Janis Joplin’s legend was made as a hippie chick who had blues and soul pipes to die for. In her first solo venture – the first where she had musical control over the whole enterprise – she and Sam Andrew found / formed a band with a horn section. It sounded like a soul / blues review; a loose blues and soul review after a few cocktails and other substances. Let’s just say there were a little ragged at times.
Also, Mekler, the producer, brought in a couple of Steppenwolf players on the QT to help things out. He and Joplin chose the songs and worked out the arrangements. The songs are excellent choices for Joplin and her pipes. Still, though it’s not the wall to wall showcase that many were hoping for, and in many cases Joplin has to do too much to carry the song – oversinging at times and going to her standard runs and vocalizations.
It’s serviceable – I like the raw feeling of Big Brother, though.
NOTES & MINUTAE: The album took just 10 days to record, and sometimes it shows. It seemed rushed.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. One with a a bonus track and a couple of songs from Woodstock.
GRADE: B. The legend of Joplin is by far greater than the studio results for the most part. This is OK, not spectacular nor legendary.