ARTIST: Janis Joplin
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #13 US R&B, #20 UK
SINGLES: Me and Bobby McGee (#1), Get It While You Can (#78), Cry Baby (#42)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mercedes Benz.
LINEUP: Janis Joplin, Richard Bell, Ken Pearson, John Till, Brad Campbell, Clark Pierson
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Another new band (“The Full-Tilt Boogie Band”) does Joplin pretty well. It’s her most cohesive album, and sadly, her last.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From sloppy and fun, to sloppy and just okay, to polished and forceful, Joplin’s recording career is a little overrated considering the hype. However, one can hear that if she kept making records with this band, the hype would have been justified.
Joplin’s band has the chops and the ambition to keep up with her, and play as well as she can sing. Knowing that, she can cut loose more and lose herself in the song. There are no horns competing for space, either. This is just good to great blues rock.
The album, rightly so, feels unfinished at times. There’s one instrumental track, and one that seems like it wouldn’t have been on the album in that form had she been able to finish it, or at least I don’t think so. At any rate, it’s a shame she left the Earth right when she was living up to her reputation.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: She wrote only one song in its entirety, and co-wrote another, but she had a great ear for songs that she could do justice to.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, there’s a whole sessions CD, and live cuts are appended to one disc as well.
GRADE: A-: Even a Joplin skeptic (those that resist because of the massive hype) will find a lot to love with this one.