Essential

2CD (Sony)

Available from 04/10/2010

12.50 €

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JANIS JOPLIN

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Such was the visceral power of Janis Joplin's voice that her enduring legend as '60s rock icon was based on just a pair of solo albums and the two releases with her fronting Big Brother and the Holding Company that she recorded before her death in 1970 of a drug overdose. This 30-track double-disc anthology offers a concise introduction to the incendiary talents of a singer whose tortured blues seemed no mere affectation; being cruelly voted "Ugliest Man on Campus" during her tenure at the University of Texas barely hinted at the depth of Joplin's personal demons. Organized chronologically with its discs split between her band and solo careers, the anthology documents the story of a raw, riveting talent that carried the often slovenly psychedelic blues of Big Brother to stardom via "Down on Me" and "Piece of Heart," stumbled only slightly on her solo debut (I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama), and then reached full, ragged glory on the quintessential Pearl with tracks like her posthumous hit "Me and Bobby McGee" and the playful "Mercedes Benz." The collection also features a pair of previously unreleased live Big Brother tracks ("To Love Somebody," "Kozmic Blues") recorded at Woodstock '69. --Jerry McCulley

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