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4.5 out of 5 stars61
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Although Janis Joplin's genius shines through all of these tracks, the selection is inadequate. An album with a title like greatest hits needs to contain Combination Of The Two (from Cheap Thrills, with Big Brother and the Holding Company) and Joplin's version of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody (from Kozmic Blues).
Luckily there are more comprehensive compilations available, and this album would do as an introduction to the Joplin novice. It contains the impressive acid rock onslaught of Piece Of My Heart, the original version of the timeless Me And Bobby McGee (a huge posthumous hit for her in 1971), the wrenching Maybe from Kozmic Blues and her popular novelty song Mercedes Benz.
Most of the tracks are from Pearl and while I love all of them, especially Cry Baby, Move Over and Get It While You Can, one must never forget her lesser known albums that contain many gems. The obscure Farewell Song, for example, has brilliant tracks like The Magic Of Love, One Night Stand and the title track.
For Joplin completists and those who would like to get more of her best in one place, there are The Essential Janis Joplin, a 2-CD set with 30 tracks, and The Janis Joplin anthology, a brilliant compilation of 19 of her very best performances.
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Janis Joplin's voice has been variously described over the years as, Raucous, Coarse, Cacophonus, Atonal, Vociferant, Rambunctious, Clamorous, Honest, Rough Deep Purple, Sends Shivers Down Your Spine, and many others. It is sufficient to say that whilst there may be more opinions describing her voice than most have had hot dinners, there is widespread accord that Janis possessed one of the most distinctive, charismatic singing voices of all time. To try and compare her to any other artist is doing her a disservice although, and many would disagree, there are fleeting vocal, delivery and posture similarities to Joe Cocker.

I have rarely come across a "Greatest Hits" album on which everybody agrees has the right tracks in it, and in reviews much 'argy-bargy' goes on debating what should, and what should not have been included. Whether you agree that the producers have the selection rightg on this album or not, does not detract one way or another from the fact that this is a darn fine album.

Janis's recording of "Piece Of My Heart" with The Big Brother and The Holding Company Band, which has been recorded by many artists, is the ultimate version. Her take on George Gershwin's "Summertime", is different and refreshing, and "Ball And Chain", is a belter. Other 'stand-out' tracks are "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)", the soul ballad "Cry Baby", "Maybe", and Kris Kristofferson's "Me And Bobby McGee".

Janis Joplin's turbulent life and untimely death is well documented and does not need to be raked over. It seems that she was above all a lonely lady who was reaching out through her music and erratic behaviour for companionship as she highlights in her comment that "I make love to 25,000 people on stage, and then go home by myself". Aah!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 February 2014
Although I did not get the opportunity to ever witness a Janis Joplin performance in real time (so to speak) - surprisingly, perhaps, I was too young for this privilege! - over the years, via the footage I have seen, I have become convinced that this was a very special performer (live, in particular), leading me to rate her up with my other all-time favourite 'frontmen', such as Elvis, James Brown, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and John Lydon. And, as with those other 'rock n' roll rebels' who died before their time - the likes of James Dean, Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis, etc - one is always left wondering what might have been (but with a nagging suspicion that, oddly enough, their reputation has been left intact and not diminished by lingering on 'beyond their time').

This Greatest Hits compilation provides a compelling cross-section of Janis' recorded material, with 12 songs (on the extended version) spanning all 4 of her studio albums, plus two songs, brilliant versions of Down On Me and Ball And Chain recorded live (the former in Detroit, the latter Calgary) for the In Concert album. What is, though, one of the most remarkable things about Joplin's recorded material, whichever of her three 'band incarnations' you choose (and all three are represented here, of course) is that even her studio recordings have a 'live feel' - being infused with a sense of raw spontaneity, and her near-unique blend of impassioned blues and soul delivery. Nowhere is this better exemplified than on Piece Of My Heart (which opens this compilation), a rendition whereby the vocal delivery and raw sounding BB&THC place the version on a par with Erma Franklin's (more soul-like) classic.

Of course, there isn't a weak moment here and Janis commands the vocal range whether on the bluesy rockers of Down On Me, Move Over and Ball And Chain or the more soulful sounds of Cry Baby, Get It While You Can or Summertime (a particular favourite of mine - the greatest ever rendition of this Gershwin classic). However, my favourite song here is her simply mesmerising version of The Chantels' song Maybe - this is a goose-pimple/tear-inducing masterpiece, on which the Kozmic Blues Band really show their hand - a brass-driven, song-reinvention par excellence, leaving any other version (Chantells, Shangri-Las, Three Degrees, etc) totally in its wake (although I must admit I would love to hear a Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes version!).

I am not at all surprised that this album is a 7xPlatinum (7 million sales) record.
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on 5 April 2009
For some, Janis Joplin's often raucous voice is an acquired taste but from the first time I heard, 'Try (just a little bit harder)' in early 1970 I was smitten. The opening track on this particular compilation,'Piece of My heart' is just so amazingly soulful it literally makes me ache to hear her pour so much emotion into the song. I've heard so many good versions of 'Summertime' over the years that at first, Janis' very individual rendering sounds perhaps quirky but after a few listens you know exactly where she's coming from... great!
An album of so many good songs that represent Janis' unfortunately short career well. Her voice on Foster and Kristofferson's country classic,'Me and Bobby McGee' is softer and more melodic than on many of her tracks and keeps the mix interesting. 'Get it While You Can' is very bluesy, whilst the staccato brass on 'Maybe' reminds me very much of the Stax labels output in the sixties, almost to the point where you might not be surprised if you suddenly heard Otis Redding or Sam and Dave launch into the vocal. Janis handles the song impeccably. So much blues and so much soul would be fair comments for the album in total and it's all rounded off with a song that even people that have never heard of Janis Joplin mysteriously seem to know... the tongue in cheek, 'Mercedes Benz.' All in all a great album. My only gripe being that Columbia (CBS to us), or should that be Sony nowadays, didn't make it a double because there are many more great Janis Joplin tracks that could've been included for such an album.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 March 2016
Although there are now much more extensive collections available of Janis Joplins' work (see, for example, the much more recent double CD set: The Essential Janis Joplin), this classic greatest hits compilation from 1973 still provides a good introduction to her genius.

Janis passed away far too young at the age of 27 in 1970, but her status as one of the greatest ever female voices in the world of popular music is assured. That voice, as expressive and whiskey-soaked as you're ever likely to hear, was perfect for all the bluesy rock songs which are featured on this neat little package, including the classic 'Piece of My Heart', which she effortlessly manages to tear apart, her unique take on 'Summertime', the soulful 'Cry Baby', and her never-to-be-beaten rendition of Kris Kristofferson's 'Me and Bobby McGee', which provided her with a number one hit in the US.

This 1999 CD re-issue from Columbia features all the LP's ten songs in their original running order, plus two bonus tracks: 'Maybe' and 'Mercedes Benz', all of which have been remastered to perfect digital quality. The booklet, with an in-depth biographical essay by acclaimed music writer Jaan Uhelski, also carries recommendations to other essential releases from this highly influential woman. If you want to discover the timeless passionate vocals of Janis Joplin, then this, the original greatest hits release still provides a mouthwatering appetiser of her finest recordings.
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on 9 January 2004
This album may have been a big hit back when it was released in 1973 but time and a growing appreciation of Janis Joplin's talent hasn't been kind to it's choice of tracks. Nearly half the tracks chosen here are from the 'Pearl' album and indeed it was with the Full Tilt Boogie Band that Janis's voice could come to the fore, not having to compete with the spaced out acid rock of Big Brother & The Holding Company and the soul-influenced horns of the Kozmic Blues Band. Her seminal live performance of 'Ball & Chain' from the 1967 Monterey Festival was ignored for the lacklustre performance featured here. Ironically this is the best selling and least satisfying of all the Janis compilations out there.
Having said that there are some great Janis moments on this album. Her vocal performances on the Big Brother tracks are powerful and unrelenting. 'Cheap Thrills' was recorded in a way that would capture some essence of their intense live act. Although Janis's live shows with the Kozmic Blues Band never reached the same level of intensity, the album 'I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama' proved she could adapt her vocal style to soul-influenced riffs with veritable ease. 'Move Over' was an indication that she was also a pretty handy songwriter. A talent which unfortunetly never came to full fruition.
An average compilation in the end that needed an inspired compiler brave enough to make some track changes (or at least insightful enough to add 4 or 5 more bonus tracks).
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Although Janis Joplin's genius shines through all of these tracks, the selection is inadequate. An album with a title like greatest hits needs to contain Combination Of The Two (from Cheap Thrills, with Big Brother and the Holding Company) and Joplin's version of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody (from Kozmic Blues).
Luckily there are more comprehensive compilations available, and this album would do as an introduction to the Joplin novice. It contains the impressive acid rock onslaught of Piece Of My Heart, the original version of the timeless Me And Bobby McGee (a huge posthumous hit for her in 1971), the wrenching Maybe from Kozmic Blues and her popular novelty song Mercedes Benz.

Most of the tracks are from Pearl and while I love all of them, especially Cry Baby, Move Over and Get It While You Can, one must never forget her lesser known albums that contain many gems. The obscure Farewell Song, for example, has brilliant tracks like The Magic Of Love, One Night Stand and the title track.
For Joplin completists and those who would like to get more of her best in one place, there are The Essential Janis Joplin, a 2-CD set with 30 tracks, and The Janis Joplin anthology, a brilliant compilation of 19 of her very best performances. I recommend the Anthology for anybody but the most ardent completist.
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this albumn is deep and blusey, even more so with janis' history. she sings from the heart and the lungs, with backing to add to the general 'get on down' tone.
I think summertime is the most haunting piece,guitars flow under the rough deep purple voice,an equal duet of voice and guitar. with the guitar yeilding to janis' voice.
the whimsical me and bobby mcgee is an antidote and almost quaint (for janis)in the general goings on in this CD.
not unlike other tourtured female singers not an easy listen, but great for a drink and a think.
one down side i miss the crackles of the vinyl or if live the talk and the smells, hence the 4 out of five!
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on 23 April 2014
A nice selection of oldies....but goodies from Janice !
Check out Janice and her FINEST performance at Monterey Pop on You tube...
It WILL give you goose bumps !!Janice at her truly BEST !!
Watch "Moma Casses" reaction....who is sitting front row !!
A TRULY talented artist from the past !!
UNIQUE !!
The young generation have NO idea what they have missed by not growing up in those days as I was lucky enough to do !!
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on 10 July 2012
Janus Joplin is an acquired taste. At times sounding like a scalded cat but there is no denying her talent. joplin's arrangement of Summertime is the most moving I have ever heard and if you can get hold of the footage of it being recorded you will see what I mean. Joplin was an unhappy mess of a person but often that makes a superb artist, sadly she died of an overdose far too early and this album is a fitting tribute to her immense talent Although a key icon of the hippy movement Joplin's musical taste are far more blues, soul and Jazz. This is a must for any collection.
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