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Rock - Released January 11, 1971 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 11, 1971 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Janis Joplin's second masterpiece (after Cheap Thrills), Pearl was designed as a showcase for her powerhouse vocals, stripping down the arrangements that had often previously cluttered her music or threatened to drown her out. Thanks also to a more consistent set of songs, the results are magnificent -- given room to breathe, Joplin's trademark rasp conveys an aching, desperate passion on funked-up, bluesy rockers, ballads both dramatic and tender, and her signature song, the posthumous number one hit "Me and Bobby McGee." The unfinished "Buried Alive in the Blues" features no Joplin vocals -- she was scheduled to record them on the day after she was found dead. Its incompleteness mirrors Joplin's career: Pearl's power leaves the listener to wonder what else Joplin could have accomplished, but few artists could ask for a better final statement. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 14, 2003 | Columbia - Legacy

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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Rock - Released September 11, 1969 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released June 22, 1973 | Columbia - Legacy

Drawing inspiration from Bessie Smith and Odetta, Janis Joplin developed a brash, uncompromising vocal style quite unlike traditional folk Madonnas. In 1966, Joplin was invited to the Bay Area to front Big Brother & the Holding Company. Cheap Thrills, a joyous celebration of true psychedelic soul, contained two Joplin "standards" in "Piece of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain," but she left the group in November 1968. Electric Flag members Mike Bloomfield, Harvey Brooks, and Nick Gravenites helped assemble a new act, known as the Kozmic Blues Band. I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! was coolly received, but the set contained several excellent Joplin vocals, notably "Try," "Maybe," and "Little Girl Blue." The singer subsequently dissolved the band and undertook medical advice for drinking and drug abuse. A slimmed-down group, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, was unveiled in May 1970 featuring a tighter, more intimate sound. Sessions for a debut album were all but complete when, on October 4, 1970, Joplin died of a heroin overdose at her Hollywood hotel. The posthumous Pearl proved her most consistent work, with "My Baby," "Cry Baby," and the anthemic "Get It While You Can." The highlight was the chart-topping "Me and Bobby McGee," which allowed Joplin to be both vulnerable and assertive. Joplin knew few boundaries, artistic or personal, and her sadly brief catalog is marked by her bare-nerved honesty. © Rovi Staff /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 23, 1999 | Columbia - Legacy

A limited-edition five-CD box set comprising both albums that Janis Joplin made with Big Brother & the Holding Company (Cheap Thrills and Big Brother & the Holding Company), both of her solo albums (I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! and Pearl), and a bonus EP with five previously unreleased recordings. Each of these four albums includes previously unreleased bonus tracks (including live material), and each is available separately with the same bonus cuts. The tracks on the bonus EP aren't available anywhere else, and if you're devoted enough to consider laying out for this deluxe box, you're probably most interested in what's on that fifth disc. There are a couple of Cheap Thrills outtakes, "It's a Deal" and "Crazy Once You Know How," with a garagey feel and some typically scorching, uninhibited Big Brother lead guitar; it can be seen why they may not have been deemed strong enough for the album, but they're pretty cool to have. The live versions of "Maybe" (April 1969) and "Raise Your Hand" (October 1969) are OK, but not essential; of greater curiosity is the raw live charge through "Bo Diddley" (also October 1969). In the original long-box shaped release, each of the CDs is packaged in a mini-LP-type jacket, which would be really cool except for the fact that, cheapskates that Sony management is, none has an inner-sleeve, so the CDs tend to roll out of the sleeve once they're unsealed, unless you put them back in the box very carefully; additionally, the producers didn't re-create the gatefold design of Cheap Thrills; there are two subsequent versions of the set, a domestic wide CD-sized box containing full, jewel-cased versions of the five discs, and a Japanese version in mini-LP sleeves (with inner sleeves) and with two accompanying booklets. Note that this box does not include a good deal of material that has shown up on the Janis box, the Janis movie soundtrack, In Concert, and Farewell Song, so it's not a complete collection of Joplin's recordings. © Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released June 30, 2009 | Columbia - Legacy

Sony/BMG's Legacy imprint decided to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock by issuing a slew of double-disc deluxe packages by catalog artists who played the festival. Each slipcase contains the featured artist's entire performance at Woodstock, and as a bonus, an LP sleeve reproduction of a classic album issued near the time the festival, as well as fine, individually designed double-sided posters. The Janis Joplin package contains the remastered version of I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, and the complete ten-song performance from Sunday, August 17, 1969. Much of this has been issued before either as bonus material on catalog reissues, or as part of her box set retrospective. That said, there are three totally unreleased performances, including the first two tunes of her show: the funky "Raise Your Hand" and "As Good as You Been to This World," and the Snookey Flowers' fronted "Can't Turn You Loose." The concert was one of the first featuring her new Kozmic Blues Band, with a complete horn section. Whether it was the weather or the band's newness as a stage entity, the performance is certainly rough and ragged in places, and the sound leaves something be desired despite valiant efforts by Eddie Kramer to restore and remaster it. It's more than acceptable, but far from the pristine sound of 21st century live recordings. It is more than worthwhile, however. First of all, it's great to have a document presented in its original context. Secondly, Joplin is in terrific voice -- there were times in that last year-and-a-half when she wasn't, and this isn't one of them. Her energy, spontaneity, and sense of musical adventure here are astonishing. She is truly inspired -- despite waiting ten hours after her originally scheduled showtime to go on. The band, for all its looseness -- particularly the guitars -- picks up on her fire and doesn't let the adversarial conditions get them down, which makes for an excitingly roughshod unit. Standouts are the burning "Try," "To Love Somebody," the aforementioned Nick Gravenites-penned "As Good as You've Been to This World," and the overdriven encore "Ball and Chain." © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released April 24, 1972 | Columbia

About half of this two-record set features Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company in 1968, performing songs like "Down on Me" and "Piece of My Heart." The rest, recorded in 1970, finds her with her backup group, Full Tilt Boogie, mostly performing songs from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Joplin puts herself out on-stage, both in terms of singing until her voice is raw and describing her life to her audiences. Parts of this album are moving, parts are heartbreaking, and the rest is just great rock & roll. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 12, 2016 | Columbia - Legacy

The soundtrack to the movie Janis:Little Blue Girl  has been running in cinemas since the 14th of January, 2016. It consists of 17 songs from the iconic singer who went on to become one of the most tragic figures of the Woodstock generation. Amy Berg's documentary shows us an up close and personal view of the musician, who was full of self-doubt which eventually spawned the self-destructive Actress. We witness a woman who prevailed in an era of music completely dominate by men and today, more than 45 years after her death at just 27, many have forgotten of her untimely depart from this world. The soundtrack to the film includes classics like Cry Baby and Piece Of My Heart and is very much like the soundtrack to her beautiful yet painful life. © MH / Qobuz
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Pop/Rock - Released January 11, 1971 | Columbia - Legacy

Not to state the obvious, but the reality is that The Pearl Sessions by Janis Joplin is primarily for completists and musical historians. That's fine; given its design and contents it appears it was meant to be. The two-disc package includes the original album and mono 45 masters of six of its tracks -- including "Me & Bobby McGee," "Move Over," and "Get It While You Can." These are interesting, but they don't hold a candle to the stereo album mixes. It's the second disc that holds the fan treasures. The studio banter by Joplin, producer Paul A Rothchild, and the Full-Tilt Boogie Band is priceless. It offers proof of Joplin's exacting standards when it came to getting across the maximum emotional impact of a song, as well as her vulnerability -- asking for guidance from Rothchild as to how to approach a particular take (he hands control right back to her). There is also plenty of humor, including comments about Richard Nixon and an unnamed rock star that Joplin claims she wouldn't bed because he's boring and a nerd. The genuine camaraderie between her, her band, and her producer offers ample evidence that these sessions were as much fun as they were work. Musically, there are multiple alternate takes of some album cuts. Sometimes they rival or even surpass versions that ended up on the final product: the fifth take of "Get It While You Can" (there are three here) and the demo of "Me & Bobby McGee," where she is accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. There are three takes in a row of "Move Over." The alternate of "Cry Baby," while inferior to the album take, reveals the song's deep emotional attraction for Joplin. Alternate takes of "Cry Baby" and "My Baby" are compelling. In addition, there is an instrumental version of "Pearl" (that could have been left off as it reveals nothing and is wholly uninteresting), a live version of "Tell Mama," with a breakneck tempo that makes one wonder why it was chosen, and a performance of "Half Moon," from the Dick Cavett Show in 1970. Add to this Rothchild's own remembrances from and observations about these sessions, Holly George-Warren's excellent liner notes, some rare photographs, and hardcore Joplin fans and historians have an excellent retrospective package which, while illuminating the process of the creation of Pearl, doesn't replace it in the canon. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 22, 2019 | Columbia - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released October 1, 1981 | Columbia

A ragtag collection of odds and ends, live and studio, from both the Big Brother and solo era. The best cuts are on the Janis box in different versions, but serious fans will find some interesting items here, especially the Cheap Thrills-era outtakes and live performances; "Misery 'N," "Farewell Song," and "Catch Me Daddy" were easily good enough to have qualified for inclusion on that album. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Blues - Released March 31, 2020 | Cult Legends