Album #120 – Cheap Thrills

Album #120

This album marks the point when women could rock just as hard, if not harder than, the boys. Janis Joplin proves on this record that she can sing and live the blues better than any other. Joplin could wipe the floor with Laura Nyro, twenty times over!!!! She had soul and sang from the depths of her soul. I realize Joplin’s voice is not everyone’s cup of tea and even I did not like listening to many of her songs for the longest time. Once I started listening to Cheap Thrills for the first time today, I fell in love again!!! This album contains Big Brother & The Holding Company’s biggest hit, Piece of My Heart (which is actually a cover, shhhhh!!! don’t tell anyone). It also features one of the best versions I have ever heard of the song from the Broadway musical Porgy & Bess, Summertime. This version captures the emotion of the song better than any version before it and Joplin takes a corny Broadway song about life in the South during Slavery and captures the pain of that time extraordinarily well. There are three live tracks on this album: Ball & Chain,  Combination of The Two and I Need a Man to Love. They were recorded live at Bill Graham’s Winterland in San Francisco and they are introduced by Graham on the first track and he also makes an appearance at the end of Ball and Chain. I also love this album’s cover and it is one of the best and one of my favourite album cover’s of all-time. One more thing that makes this album good is the band itself. Yes, Joplin is their singer but the other members of Big Brother and The Holding Company are extremely tight and good musicians. Joplin could not have had as good a band and album as Cheap Thrills without them. The only bad thing about this album was that Joplin tended to over sing at times and her screaming/singing could get on ones’ nerves pretty easily, if they are not used to it. But, overall, I was impressed and this album made me fall in love with Joplin’s music again. I’m sure she is showing Laura Nyro a thing or two up in the sky somewhere… who knows? Overall, I give this album 4.5 out of 5.

Next:  The United States Of America’s self-titled (and ONLY!!!) album

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