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on 19 January 2004
Although most of the contents are undeniably 'essential Janis' it's hard to fathom why the record company chose to include the inferior studio pre-Monterey versions of classics such as 'Down on Me' and 'Bye Bye Baby' from their 1st album. The definitive versions of these 2 songs (live versions) are better known to most Janis fans (i.e. on 'The Ultimate Collection' for example and 'Live at Winterland 68')
In fact,with the fantastic wealth of material available from the great albums released in Janis' lifetime....Cheap Thrills, Kozmic Blues, and then the later posthumous 'Pearl' 'In Concert, and 'Live at Winterland 68', the mind boggles as to why anything from the inferior first Big Brother album (recorded 1966 but delayed for many months before its release just after Monterey Pop in order to cash in)was included here. Janis just doesn't sound like Janis on these early recordings and the band lack their later grunge/psychedelic/punk power (by all accounts Janis and Big Brother were very unhappy with that 1st album). There's also a live version of 'Kozmic Blues' which, although it is good, is not a patch on the studio version from 'I got dem ol Kozmic Blues again mama'. Which is a shame as it's one of her great moments..
For a true 'essential' Janis collection, as this should have been, there'd be no hesitation in awarding it 5 stars. But it loses a star for the record company compiler's poor judgement.If you are new to Janis, it would be better to go for the original albums (as mentioned above) or for a taster of Janis, go for 'the ultimate collection'.
There is however one good reason for purchasing the 'Essential Janis' cd over and above everything else - for the sublime version of 'Ball and Chain' recorded at the Monterey Pop Festival 1967 - the performance that deservedly made Janis a superstar.
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'The Essential Janis Joplin' is a pretty good place to start if you want to learn more about this amazing and influential singer. This has an array of tracks spanning her career and shows how she could go from storming raw blues to soulful, almost jazzy vocals without blinking an eye. This has such tracks as 'Me and Bobby McGee', 'Piece of My Heart' and 'Mercedes Benz', but for me this album would be worth buying for 'Little Girl Blue' alone. Never will you hear such emotion and pain in one song, it moves me deeply every time I hear it. Janis has become one of those sixties artists that everyone mentions in the same breath as Hendrix and Morrison and whilst she is as influential and symbolises that era, she was also an outstanding performer in her own right. Joplin is well known for her outlandish lifestyle and extreme living, but in this case let her music do the talking for her and you'll soon get a picture of what a complex and versatile character she actually was. If the music has piqued your interest I recommend 'Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times Of Janis Joplin' by Alice Echols, which is an in-depth biography of Joplins life and makes for interesting reading.

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What an album, 31 tracks from the great Janis Joplin. In 2008 Rolling Stone magazine placed Janis number 28 in their 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Influenced by the blues scene, and the likes of the fantastic Bessie Smith, Janis showed that white women could sing the blues.

Over her career her music did change, taking in the rock scene, and r&b. Dominated by men singers Janis shown that women were more than capable at taking the men on. This double cd showcases the fantastic work of this great singer/songwriter. This is a great way to introduce yourself to her work, and for all her fans. Including studio and live performances listen to this star who burned too brightly, she died at 27 of an heroin overdose.
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on 10 May 2012
I ordered the "Frequently Bought Together" combination of this and "The Ultimate Janis Joplin" earlier this week, and this one has only just arrived.

I have yet to open it, but with identical Front and Back pictures and identical running orders (the Bonus Track on this seems to be part of the standard running order on "The Ultimate ..."), I seem to have two copies of the same album, but with different Album Titles and barcodes.

Now it is possible that when opened it will have different versions of the songs, but for the reasons given above, I don't hold out much hope.

Based purely on listening to the same songs on "The Ultimate ...", this will be a great album and is currently the cheaper of the two.

Because I can't write a review without giving it a star rating, I will give it the same rating as I gave "The Ultimate ...", namely four stars, but this is based purely on how good "The Ultimate ..." was (as stated, I have yet to open this version). It is possible that on actually listening to it, this being the cheaper version, it would deserve a fifth star, but I wanted to get this warning out ASAP.
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on 8 March 2012
A pretty good introduction to the mercurial career of one of rock's most charismatic singers. All the classics you might've heard like Summertime and Bobby Mcgee are there, plus a few you might not such as Kozmic Blues and Move Over. For completists there are two previously unreleased recordings from Woodstock.
Not perfect but still better than most greatest hits collections.
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on 6 September 2014
Nothing else needs to be said the cd's are amazing - sos this woman
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on 22 July 2015
Love Janis - great album - did not expect anything less
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on 15 November 2014
a overall good cd of janis songs
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on 12 September 2014
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