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Janis Joplin - The Essential Janis Joplin

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The Essential Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

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Columbia has managed to squeeze an impressive, perhaps excessive, number of compilations out of Janis Joplin's relatively slim body of recordings. With this two-CD set, The Essential Janis Joplin, the label's at it again, though it's a good one to get if you don't want to collect all the Joplin releases, and certainly don't want to get the expensive Joplin boxes, but want more than what fits onto a single disc. Including both solo recordings and highlights of her stint with Big Brother & the Holding Company, it has all the songs fans and critics would consider milestones in her career: "Ball and Chain" (a version recorded live in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival, not the more familiar one from Cheap Thrills), "Piece of My Heart," "Down on Me," "Summertime," "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," "Tell Mama" (the live 1970 performance from the expanded edition of Pearl), "Get It While You Can," "Mercedes Benz," and "Me and Bobby McGee." And there are also good tracks that aren't as overly familiar, like "Coo Coo," "Misery'n," "Maybe," "Work Me, Lord," and "A Woman Left Lonely." The substitution of the less familiar renditions of "Ball and Chain" and "Tell Mama" might rankle some consumers expecting to hear the more common ones, but that's frankly unlikely. So what does the set offer to those Joplin fans who already have a lot of her material? Well, not much, but in the time-honored manner of attaching bonus tracks to oft-recycled material, this does have a couple of previously unissued live cuts ("Kozmic Blues" and the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody") from her 1969 set at Woodstock. Those songs are actually reasonably good, but aren't worth buying the whole set for. They would have been a better deal if served out as part of a legit collection of her Woodstock performances, or as a collection of previously unreleased live Joplin performances, if enough high-caliber stuff of the sort was available.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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The Essential Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

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1
Down On Me
Janis Joplin
00:02:04

Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Janis Joplin, Arranger, Associated Performer, Composer, Featured Artist, Lyricist - Big Brother & The Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin), Associated Performer - Bob Shad, Producer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - David Getz, Drums - Peter Albin, Bass

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Coo Coo
Janis Joplin
00:01:56

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Bob Shad, Producer - P. Albin, Composer, Lyricist - James Gurley, Guitar - Sam Andrew, Guitar - David Getz, Drums - Peter Albin, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Women Is Losers
Janis Joplin (with Big Brother & The Holding Company)
00:02:03

Janis Joplin (with Big Brother & The Holding Company), Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Janis Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - Bob Shad, Producer - James Gurley, Guitar - Sam Andrew, Guitar - David Getz, Drums - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer - Peter Albin, Bass

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Bye, Bye Baby
Janis Joplin
00:02:37

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - P. St. John, Composer, Lyricist - Bob Shad, Producer - James Gurley, Guitar - Sam Andrew, Guitar - David Getz, Drums - Peter Albin, Bass

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Ball and Chain Live at the Monterey Pop Festival - June 1967
Janis Joplin
00:08:02

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - W.M. Thornton, Composer, Lyricist - James Gurley, Guitar - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums - Peter Albin, Bass - John Riney, Producer

Originally recorded June 1967, The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation

6
Roadblock
Janis Joplin
00:05:30

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - John Simon, Producer - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - P. Albin, Composer, Lyricist - Sam Houston Andrew III, Bass, Guitar - Peter S. Albin, Bass, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums

1999 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Piece of My Heart
Janis Joplin
00:04:13

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Featured Artist - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Big Brother & The Holding Company Feat. Janis Joplin, Associated Performer - Jerry Ragovoy, Composer, Lyricist - BERT BERNS, Composer, Lyricist - Sam Houston Andrew III, Bass, Guitar - Peter S. Albin, Bass, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums - John Simon, Producer

1968 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Misery'n
Janis Joplin
00:04:07

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - P. Albin, Composer, Lyricist - S. ANDREW, Composer, Lyricist - D. Getz, Composer, Lyricist - G. Gurley, Composer, Lyricist - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - James Gurley, Guitar - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer - Peter Albin, Bass - John Riney, Producer

Originally Recorded 1968 & Released 1993. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
I Need a Man to Love
Big Brother & The Holding Company
00:04:52

Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - John Simon, Producer - Janis Joplin, Associated Performer - S. ANDREW, Composer, Lyricist - Sam Houston Andrew III, Bass, Guitar - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - Peter S. Albin, Bass, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums

1968 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Summertime
Big Brother & The Holding Company
00:03:58

Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - George Gershwin, Composer, Lyricist - John Simon, Producer - Heyward DuBose, Composer, Lyricist - Janis Joplin, Associated Performer - Dorothy Heyward, Composer, Lyricist - Ira Gershwin, Composer, Lyricist - Sam Houston Andrew III, Bass, Guitar - Peter S. Albin, Bass, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - Dave Getz, Drums

1968 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Flower In the Sun Live at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA - April 1968
Janis Joplin
00:03:11

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - John Riney, Producer - S. ANDREW, Composer, Lyricist - Sam Andrew, Guitar - James Gurley, Guitar - Peter Albin, Bass - David Getz, Drums - Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer

Originally recorded 1968 & released 1998. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Farewell Song Live at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA - April 1968
Big Brother & The Holding Company
00:04:56

Big Brother & The Holding Company, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Bob Irwin, Producer - S. ANDREW, Composer, Lyricist - Larry Keyes, Engineer - Fred Catero, Engineer - Elliot Mazer, Engineer - Peter Abrams, Engineer - Don Puluse, Engineer - Jim Furman, Engineer - David Diller, Engineer

Originally recorded 1968 & released 1998. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

13
Raise Your Hand Live on the Ed Sullivan Show - March 1969
Janis Joplin
00:02:26

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - John Riney, Producer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Eddie Floyd, Composer, Lyricist - Alvertis Isbell, Composer, Lyricist - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers - Steve Cropper, Composer, Lyricist - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonnie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Keyboards - GABRIEL MEKLER, Keyboards - Kozmic Blues Band, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally Recorded 1969 & Released 1993. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

14
To Love Somebody Live at The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 17, 1969
Janis Joplin
00:05:14

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Unknown, Producer - Barry Alan Gibb, Composer, Lyricist - Robin Hugh Gibb, Composer, Lyricist

Originally Recorded 1969 & Released 2003. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

15
Kozmic Blues Live at The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 17, 1969
Janis Joplin
00:05:05

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Unknown, Producer - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - G. MEKLER, Composer, Lyricist

Originally Recorded 1969 & Released 2003. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

DISC 2

1
Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
Janis Joplin
00:03:55

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - GABRIEL MEKLER, Organ, Producer - Jerry Ragovoy, Composer, Lyricist - F. Salem, Producer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Chip Taylor, Composer, Lyricist - Sy Mitchell, Engineer - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Jerry Hochman, Engineer - Alex Kazanegras, Engineer - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Organ - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Maybe
Janis Joplin
00:03:39

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - GABRIEL MEKLER, Organ, Producer - R. Barrett, Composer, Lyricist - Sy Mitchell, Engineer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Jerry Hochman, Engineer - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Alex Kazanegras, Engineer - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Organ - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
One Good Man
Janis Joplin
00:04:09

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist - GABRIEL MEKLER, Producer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Organ - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Little Girl Blue
Janis Joplin
00:03:48

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - GABRIEL MEKLER, Arranger, Organ, Producer - L. Hart, Composer, Lyricist - Sy Mitchell, Engineer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - R. Rodgers, Composer, Lyricist - Jerry Hochman, Engineer - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Alex Kazanegras, Engineer - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Organ - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Work Me, Lord
Janis Joplin
00:06:35

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - GABRIEL MEKLER, Organ, Producer - N. Gravenites, Composer, Lyricist - Sy Mitchell, Engineer - Sam Andrew, Guitar - Jerry Hochman, Engineer - Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers, Baritone Saxophone - Alex Kazanegras, Engineer - Maury Baker, Drums - Lonie Castille, Drums - Richard Kermode, Organ - Brad Campbell, Bass - Terry Clements, Tenor Saxophone - Luis Gasca, Trumpet

Originally released 1969. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Tell Mama Live at McMahon Stadium, Calgary, Canada - July 1970
Janis Joplin
00:06:38

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Unknown, Producer - M. Daniel, Composer, Lyricist - Phil Macy, Engineer - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - John Till, Guitar - W. Terrell, Composer, Lyricist - Clark Pierson, Drums - C. Carter, Composer, Lyricist - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally recorded 1970 & released 1999. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Move Over
Janis Joplin
00:03:40

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Cry Baby
Janis Joplin
00:03:56

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Jerry Ragovoy, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - B. Berns, Composer, Lyricist - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
A Woman Left Lonely
Janis Joplin
00:03:27

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - D. Penn, Composer, Lyricist - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - S. Oldham, Composer, Lyricist - John Till, Guitar - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass - Paul Rothchild, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Half Moon
Janis Joplin
00:03:51

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - John Hall, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Johanna Hall, Composer, Lyricist - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
My Baby
Janis Joplin
00:03:43

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Jerry Ragovoy, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Mort Shuman, Composer, Lyricist - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Me and Bobby McGee
Janis Joplin
00:04:29

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Kris Kristofferson, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Fred Foster, Composer - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - F. Foster, Lyricist - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

13
Mercedes Benz
Janis Joplin
00:01:45

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Bob Neuwirth, Composer, Lyricist - J. Joplin, Composer, Lyricist - M. McClure, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - Phil Macy, Engineer - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - John Till, Guitar - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1970. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

14
Trust Me
Janis Joplin
00:03:15

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - B. Womack, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

15
Get It While You Can
Janis Joplin
00:03:23

Janis Joplin, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Jerry Ragovoy, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Rothchild, Producer - John Till, Guitar - Bobbye Hall, Bongos, Congas - Mort Shuman, Composer, Lyricist - Clark Pierson, Drums - Sandra Crouch, Tambourine - Richard Bell, Piano - Ken Pearson, Organ - Pearl Pearl, Associated Performer - Vince Mitchell, Associated Performer - Phil Badella, Associated Performer - John Cooke, Associated Performer - Brad Campbell, Bass

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Columbia has managed to squeeze an impressive, perhaps excessive, number of compilations out of Janis Joplin's relatively slim body of recordings. With this two-CD set, The Essential Janis Joplin, the label's at it again, though it's a good one to get if you don't want to collect all the Joplin releases, and certainly don't want to get the expensive Joplin boxes, but want more than what fits onto a single disc. Including both solo recordings and highlights of her stint with Big Brother & the Holding Company, it has all the songs fans and critics would consider milestones in her career: "Ball and Chain" (a version recorded live in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival, not the more familiar one from Cheap Thrills), "Piece of My Heart," "Down on Me," "Summertime," "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," "Tell Mama" (the live 1970 performance from the expanded edition of Pearl), "Get It While You Can," "Mercedes Benz," and "Me and Bobby McGee." And there are also good tracks that aren't as overly familiar, like "Coo Coo," "Misery'n," "Maybe," "Work Me, Lord," and "A Woman Left Lonely." The substitution of the less familiar renditions of "Ball and Chain" and "Tell Mama" might rankle some consumers expecting to hear the more common ones, but that's frankly unlikely. So what does the set offer to those Joplin fans who already have a lot of her material? Well, not much, but in the time-honored manner of attaching bonus tracks to oft-recycled material, this does have a couple of previously unissued live cuts ("Kozmic Blues" and the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody") from her 1969 set at Woodstock. Those songs are actually reasonably good, but aren't worth buying the whole set for. They would have been a better deal if served out as part of a legit collection of her Woodstock performances, or as a collection of previously unreleased live Joplin performances, if enough high-caliber stuff of the sort was available.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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