Essential Janis Joplin

The Essential Janis Joplin

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by Janis Joplin
     
 

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While generally considered to be one-third of the tragic troika of late-'60s rock -- along with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix -- Janis Joplin has never been the subject of the extensive vault raiding that followed the deaths of her contemporaries. This well-paced two-disc set doesn't extend far beyond what most fans already know, although the previously unreleased

Overview

While generally considered to be one-third of the tragic troika of late-'60s rock -- along with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix -- Janis Joplin has never been the subject of the extensive vault raiding that followed the deaths of her contemporaries. This well-paced two-disc set doesn't extend far beyond what most fans already know, although the previously unreleased live (at Woodstock) versions of "To Love Somebody" and "Kozmic Blues" do burn appropriately red-hot and cool. The collection's compilers have, however, done a nice job of remastering the classic recordings, punching up Joplin's remarkable voice without casting an artificial sheen over the top. That's particularly evident on the live material -- highlighted by poignant takes on "Flower in the Sun" and "Farewell Song" -- but also on the studio takes of lesser-known songs like "Women Is Losers" and "A Woman Left Lonely." Essential's 30 songs comprise tracks recorded during Joplin's stint with Big Brother & the Holding Company, as well as solo material; among them are her most widely heard songs, from the easygoing "Mercedes-Benz" to the rough-hewn "Piece of My Heart" to that shiver-inducing cover of "Summertime." It's a perfect way to celebrate what would've been Joplin's 60th birthday, and a nice kickoff to what Legacy promises will be an extensive reissue campaign.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
This two-disc, thirty-track anthology gets the balance right for everyone but collectors and completists.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/14/2003
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998713123
catalogNumber:
87131
Rank:
6812

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Down On Me
  2. Coo Coo
  3. Women Is Losers
  4. Bye, Bye Baby
  5. Ball And Chain (Live)
  6. Roadblock
  7. Piece Of My Heart
  8. Misery'n
  9. I Need A Man To Love
  10. Summertime
  11. Flower In The Sun (Live)
  12. Farewell Song (Live)
  13. Raise Your Hand (Live)
  14. To Love Somebody (Live)
  15. Kozmic Blues (Live)

Disc 2

  1. Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)
  2. Maybe
  3. One Good Man
  4. Little Girl Blue
  5. Work Me, Lord
  6. Tell Mama (Live)
  7. Move Over
  8. Cry Baby
  9. A Woman Left Lonely
  10. Half Moon
  11. My Baby
  12. Me And Bobby McGee
  13. Mercedes Benz
  14. Trust Me
  15. Get It While You Can

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Janis Joplin   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Big Mama Thornton   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Clarence Carter   Composer
Steve Cropper   Composer
Eddie Floyd   Composer
Janis Joplin   Composer
Bobby Womack   Composer
Bob Neuwirth   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Mort Shuman   Composer
Robin Gibb   Composer
Nick Gravenites   Composer
John Hall   Composer
Chip Taylor   Composer
John Simon   Producer
Barry Gibb   Composer
Dan Penn   Composer
Lou Adler   Producer
Peter Albin   Composer
Sam Andrew   Composer
Richard Barrett   Composer
Bert Berns   Composer
Marcus Daniel   Composer
Fred Foster   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
David Getz   Composer
Maurice Gibb   Composer
James Gurley   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Edwin H. Kramer   Engineer
Gabriel Mekler   Composer,Producer
Spooner Oldham   Composer
Jerry Ragovoy   Composer
Paul Rothchild   Producer
Bob Shad   Producer
Johanna Hall   Composer
Bert Russell   Composer
Holly George-Warren   Liner Notes
Bob Irwin   Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Baron Wolman   Cover Photo
DuBose Heyward   Composer
Mike McClure   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Alvertis Isbell   Composer
Wilbur Terrell   Composer
Powell St. John   Composer
Lee Osborne   Engineer
Mack McClure   Composer
Fred L. Foster   Composer

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The Essential Janis Joplin 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Tis I -- Your lord, King Friday. I desperately want to make love to Lady Elaine Fairchild. Sweet love would be made, my friends. Sweet love, I say. To feel the crest of her soft buttocks cupped in my hand. That is what I desire. That is all for now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
That's a good one. What can be said about Janis? Nothing that hasn't already been said. This is perhaps not the 'essential' they might want us to think, but newer fans will appreciate this collection more than the older fans that already have all this stuff on vinyl (or cassette). Regardless, it's on two CDs. This is great!!! Over twenty-five classic songs!!!! You can't beat that, can you?