11 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Janis Joplin’s short career was established with her blistering performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and this 1968 major label debut that had been delayed by contractual wranglings but nevertheless shot to the top of the charts and remains a career highlight for all involved. Joplin’s overwhelming emotionalism coupled with her San Franciscan backing band’s “acid rock” — essentially, the blues distorted and strung out with intense amplification — made for a lesson in sonic overkill. Producer John Simon, upset with the results, had his name pulled from the credits and the ensuing album, mostly a full frontal assault on the senses, was assembled from studio and live recordings. “Piece of My Heart” became Joplin’s immediate calling card, but it was the extended take on Big Mama Thorton’s “Ball and Chain” that best exemplified the Texas singer’s anxious, desperate and heartfelt pleas for understanding. Joplin was driven to push her voice to the extremes and “I Need A Man to Love” and “Oh, Sweet Mary” stagger with her bourbon-soaked voice that understood the blues as a sad, doomed road to self-destruction. The expanded edition adds two studio outtakes (“Roadblock,” “Flower in the Sun”) and two previously unreleased live tracks (“Catch Me Daddy,” “Magic of Love”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Janis Joplin’s short career was established with her blistering performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and this 1968 major label debut that had been delayed by contractual wranglings but nevertheless shot to the top of the charts and remains a career highlight for all involved. Joplin’s overwhelming emotionalism coupled with her San Franciscan backing band’s “acid rock” — essentially, the blues distorted and strung out with intense amplification — made for a lesson in sonic overkill. Producer John Simon, upset with the results, had his name pulled from the credits and the ensuing album, mostly a full frontal assault on the senses, was assembled from studio and live recordings. “Piece of My Heart” became Joplin’s immediate calling card, but it was the extended take on Big Mama Thorton’s “Ball and Chain” that best exemplified the Texas singer’s anxious, desperate and heartfelt pleas for understanding. Joplin was driven to push her voice to the extremes and “I Need A Man to Love” and “Oh, Sweet Mary” stagger with her bourbon-soaked voice that understood the blues as a sad, doomed road to self-destruction. The expanded edition adds two studio outtakes (“Roadblock,” “Flower in the Sun”) and two previously unreleased live tracks (“Catch Me Daddy,” “Magic of Love”).

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