"This is a great cd! Little Girl Blue is such a wonderful song. I highly reccomend this cd to any Janis fan and with such a low price who could pass this by?"
Janis Joplin Review
M. England | SF | 09/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sound is as good if not better than Janis in person. Mega fan..She has no equal."
It's Better Than You Think
BluesDuke | Las Vegas, Nevada | 07/31/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the year, Janis Joplin's departure from Big Brother and the Holding Company for this aggregation and album to launch a solo career got mixed reviews at best---either people thought she wasn't a rock singer anymore; or, they thought she hadn't paid enough dues to qualify as the soul singer this album presented her to be. There were those critics who thought she should have dumped this band and returned (as would guitarist Sam Andrew, who came with her in the first place) to Big Brother---whose sloppy psychedelic blues flash got sloppy enough to prod her to leave in the first place when it looked like she was going to have a career no matter with or without them. It couldn't have been easy for even so stubborn yet sensitive an individualist as Joplin to record or break in a new band under that kind of pressurised oversight.
The only problem with this album, really, was a) the aggregation, a great idea on paper and full of outstanding musicians, didn't have all that much time to jell; and, b) the Bee Gees may have written "To Love Somebody" for Otis Redding, whose brand of soul was one of this band's most obvious influences, but Joplin and company took it too far over the top to deliver it as the soul ballad it was intended to be. The obvious highlights are "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," an R and B chestnut given a sharp band performance and a classic Joplin reading; "Little Girl Blue," in which Joplin proves her deconstruction of "Summertime" was no fluke when it came to reimagining Gershwin; and, "One Good Man," an original Joplin blues that puts her back into her truest element with sensitive band support and an appropriately crying guitar break from guest Mike Bloomfield (who'd helped her put the band together in the first place).
The less obvious highlights include "As Good as You've Been to This World," a Nick Gravenites composition in which the band gives hints of what they might have become had they more time to knit together properly; "Kozmic Blues," a surprising soul ballad written by Joplin herself (with Steppenwolf producer Gabriel Mekler) that includes a haunting warning the singer herself should have heeded ("You got to live your life, you got to love your life, because some day you're gonna die") considering how soon some day would come for her; and, "Work Me, Lord," another Gravenites offering that might have become another tour de force for Joplin in concert but for the occasionally out-of-synch ensemble.
If you want a better taste of what this aggregation could have been, however, you'll get a classic chance to compare---"Kozmic Blues" has been remastered and reissued in a package that also includes their complete performance at Woodstock in 1969, an event for which Joplin is in absolutely top voice and form (something that wasn't always true of her last year and a half of life) and the band, while a little ragged, is as inspired as they would ever become. The set includes a few of the album's centerpieces, including "As Good As You've Been to This World," "To Love Somebody" (which sounded at Woodstock the way they merely hoped it would sound on the album), "Try," "Kozmic Blues," and "Work Me, Lord," plus a few of Joplin's established calling cards, including (and especially) a steamy reimagining of her already well-reimagined version of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain.""
Dave Sigmon | Connecticut, USA | 08/01/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Except for Sam Andrew, Janis leaves Big Brother and spaced-out San Franciscan blues jams behind replacing it with soul-inflected horns that are more reminiscent of the Memphis Stax records of, say, Sam and Dave. The band sometimes sounds stiff, even unsure. "As Good As You've Been To This World" is a mistake. The intro drags, the arrangement is weak and Janis isn't powerful enough to make it take off. They don't cut the break on "Work Me Lord" either. But those are the worst moments.
Overall, Janis's moods do vary here, which is a testament to her talent. The melancholy of the horns on "Maybe" push her to great heights in her ability to reach that high note, truly revealing her essence. Amazingly, the band adds perfect punctuations to "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" providing Janis an ideal setting for her to move unaffectedly along with it. She does her thing and the track gets better and better. My two favorites are the white-blues noise of "One Good Man", highlighted by Mike Bloomfield's icy slide guitar as well as Janis's good-humored sass, and the Broadway standard "Little Girl Blue" where she learns the art of nuance. It's an achingly powerful performance done so poignantly that you know she sings of this firsthand."