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Great tracks like 'Try' and 'Maybe' are excellent pieces of songwriting, and her voice conveys more emotion than either of the other albums. You really feel that this is a low point in her life, but a high point in her career.
Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew stayed around for this album, and gives a more raw edge to it than the other more polished musicians.
If you've been told that 'Cheap Thrills' or 'Pearl' are better albums, don't believe it - all 3 albums stand on their individual merits, and this one can certainly stand with its head held high beside the other two.
I'm not keen on the bonus tracks but they don't count really for me(I like to hear albums the way they were meant to be)..
What's very strange is that I've never read a good review on the Kosmic Blues album, apart from the customer reviews on this website (which are very encouraging). I understand that Rolling Stone panned it when released in 1969, mainly because of the 'intruding' brass section? Even though 'Rock bands + Brass' were fashionable that year (Doors/Soft Parade, Stones/Let it Bleed etc)...
Truly representative of the best of Janis Joplin, I would make 'I've got dem ol' kosmic blues again mama' your first purchase if you don't already own a Janis Joplin CD....
However, this record is packed with great, sassy songs and in the change of style you can hear her transition from the early Janis into the later Pearl.
If Aretha Franklin or Tina Turner had put this record out it would have been hailed as a classic, but because it was straight-ahead funk/soul it's unsurprising that it disappointed the psychedelic crowd who had given her her first break.
Good As You've Been To This World is amongst the best things Joplin ever recorded, and Little Girl Blue is potentially her very finest work.
It's different, yes. But it's a stunning soul record in its own right.