Cheap Thrills is an intense and exuberant celebration of life with Joplin's at times desperate, always intensely emotional vocals combined with Big Brother and their overwhelming acid rock/psychedelic roar. The gripping Piece Of My Heart sweeps one along in its maelstrom of sound whilst Combination Of The Two with its hypnotic textures takes you to weird sonic places. Summertime and Ball & Chain are soulful covers of the Gershwin and Big Mama Thornton tunes respectively. At times it seems that there's a huge cosmic battle taking place between Joplin's vocals and the band's deafening onslaught which creates a further element of tension that adds to the overall force of these performances. This is a great show of rock magic.
Pearl has stood the test of time equally well. Here Joplin is backed by the Full Tilt Boogie Band. After all these years, it remains a magnificent listening experience because of the quality of the songs, the band's tight playing and the impressive emotional range of her vocals. Unlike Cheap Thrills, where there is a battle between her voice and Big Brother's heavy metal onslaught, here the voice is the star. My favorites on an album of classics include the moving Me and Bobby McGee, the tender A Woman Left Lonely, the jittery Half Moon, the emotional Cry Baby, the buoyant Get It While You Can and the plaintive/humorous Mercedes Benz. Perfect arrangements, brilliant playing and masterly vocalization combine here to create a timeless masterpiece.
originaly,not having heard much of Janis's stuff, I thought I just wanted something to cover the bases,so I bought the greatest hits album with the iconic motorcycle cover. I was so impressed with this that I the bought the the cheap thrills/pearl album, and also kosmic blues. to be honest i'm totally hooked on all of it, and coming to it with " new ears " I would by-pass the debate on which is best, as I think they're all gems! I didn't think I would be a fan of the improvised style of blues/soul/rock singing that is Janis joplins signature sound, but the quality of her voice is mind blowing and the style of music totaly infectious. my litmus test for music is how long it stays in my cd player/ipod etc, and I've listened to it non stop for the last two weeks. Janis out-souls just about any other soul artist I can bring to mind and that's without losing the underlying rock blues vibe for which she is famous for. in addition there is some awesome lead guitar work on all three albums evocative of an age where "feel" was everything, and the musicianship throughout is superb. For the technophobes, the quality of these recordings is excellent. I have this double album, greatest hits and kosmic, and would definately recommend investing in all three! just such a shame she died so young.
I have both these albums on vinyl and thought it was about time I was able to enjoy the brilliant Janis Joplin again as I can no longer play my vinly albums. I knew exactly what to expect as I hace listened to both alboms many dozens of times. T Her voice seems to get better as I get older! What an awful year 1970 was - Jim Morrison and Janis both tragically died plus Brian Jones. The world was robbed of 2 great talents, just think about how good they would have been if they had only lived longer.
These albums showcase Janis Joplin at her very best but I still to this day think that she would have got better and better.
Janis, oh, Janis, much as it would be wonderful if you were still around, it would be awful if you followed the trend of making terrible comebacks. Instead we have you at your electrifying best on Cheap Thrills. I close my eyes and I can see you destroying us all in the Albert Hall.