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Pearl (Legacy Edition)

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Album Review

After the live Cheap Thrills, Pearl is undeniably Janis Joplin's studio classic, and her final recording, released posthumously. She departed the earth at the very top of her game creatively. The album was recorded with a less-is-more approach — the explosive horn section so prevalent on Kozmic Blues was replaced by a rootsier, more organic studio group called the Full Tilt Boogie Band, with precious few guests in a minimal number of places. The album cooks from the opener, "Move Over," with John Till's jagged, knife-edge guitar playing the lyric line in duet with Joplin and Ken Pearson's choogling Hammond B-3 stomping on the chorus and the bridge. The emotional intensity actually gets upped on "Cry Baby," where Pearson's organ drives the track, raucously and passionately augmented by Till and Richard Bell's soul cum honky tonk piano. The thing is, the album just doesn't quit from "A Woman Left Lonely" to "Buried Alive in the Blues" to "My Baby" and the closer, "Get It While You Can." The fact that Pearl's most famous cuts, "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Mercedes Benz," are both here as well and were issued as the album's singles is simply astonishing given they are far form its strongest cuts. On the double-disc Legacy Edition of Pearl, some changes were made from earlier CD versions of the album. For starters, the bonus live tracks included on the 1999 version have been relegated to disc two. In their place, six cuts have been added, including three cuts taken from the Love, Janis box set: the demo of "Me and Bobby McGee," an alternate of "Cry Baby," and "Happy Birthday John (Happy Trails)." But there's more: three unissued alternate takes of "Move Over," "My Baby," and Full Tilt Boogie's instrumental tribute to Joplin called "Pearl." Disc two contains 13 live cuts taken from three different concerts on the Canadian Festival Express tour, recorded between June 28 and July 4, 1970. In addition to the bonus tracks moved from the original CD version of Pearl and others taken from Janis Joplin in Concert and Farewell Song are six more unreleased tunes, including awesome versions of "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," "Kozmic Blues," and "Maybe." Oh yeah, there's yet another version of "Piece of My Heart" (can't have too many). In sum, this new version of Pearl is a gold mine, a treasure trove that juxtaposes the final will and testament of Joplin with her throwing down live with the same band on the road in electrifying performances. Add to this a wildly intimate and canny essay by Joplin's road manager, John Byrne Cooke, and a wonderful set of photos in a handsome package and you can safely assume that perfection has been improved upon.

Customer Reviews


One of the greatest female rockers of all time. If you are not familiar with her stuff take a few minutes to give these tracks a listen to hear what a real woman rock singer sounds like instead of these pathetic Barbie doll pop singers that dominate popular music these days.

"Pearl" Is More Like A Diamond, Really!

Janis Joplin was proof that a woman could sing rock n'roll, blues, country, and a touch of pop and STILL bring as much energy as any male performer could. Her final album really saw Janis at a cusp in her career that makes one wish that Pearl herself had been alive to watch just how much her talent has inspired not only our parent's generation, but those of us making the transition from youth to young adulthood. Love, pain, and joy is mixed together beautifully to make each song shine, and it's wonderful that the record label put out an EXTENDED album featuring live versions and alternate recoridng takes. "Me and Bobby McGee," "Half Moon," "My Baby," "Cry Baby," and "Move Over" are great tracks for new Janis listeners to start with, but it won't be long before they want the entire album. Thanks for the great music, Janis, whereever you are!

Great Deluxe Edition

I've bought this album on CD and Vinyl and I still purchased this Deluxe Edition for the live concert on the second disc. This album is amazing. Highly recommend any version of it.


Born: January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

The greatest white female rock singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was also a great blues singer, making her material her own with her wailing, raspy, supercharged emotional delivery. First rising to stardom as the frontwoman for San Francisco psychedelic band Big Brother & the Holding Company, she left the group in the late '60s for a brief and uneven (though commercially successful) career as a solo artist. Although she wasn't always supplied with the best material or most sympathetic musicians,...
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