Janis Joplin

I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

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Janis Joplin's solo debut was a letdown at the time of release, suffering in comparison with Big Brother's Cheap Thrills from the previous year, and shifting her style toward soul-rock in a way that disappointed some fans. Removed from that context, it sounds better today, though it's still flawed. Fronting the short-lived Kozmic Blues Band, the arrangements are horn heavy and the material soulful and bluesy. The band sounds a little stiff and although Joplin's singing is good, she would sound more electrifying on various live versions of some of the songs. The shortage of quality original compositions -- indeed, there are only eight tracks total on the album -- didn't help either, and the cover selections were erratic, particularly the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." On the other hand, "Try" is one of her best soul outings, and the reading of Rodgers & Hart's "Little Girl Blue" is inspired.

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