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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Cheap Thrills

Big Brother & The Holding Company

1968

Cheap Thrills
Album Summary

Cheap Thrills is the second studio album by American rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. It was their last album with Janis Joplin as lead singer before she started a solo career. For Cheap Thrills, the band and producer John Simon incorporated recordings of crowd noise to give the impression of a live album, for which it was subsequently mistaken by listeners. Only "Ball and Chain" was actually recorded in concert at Winterland Ballroom.Cheap Thrills reached number one on the charts for eight nonconsecutive weeks in 1968.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.45

Votes

11251
Genres
Rock
Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sun Feb 07 2021
4

When the Album art has R. Crumb doodles you know it's gonna be a *freak out* All of a sudden, it's 1968. Vietnam. Nixon. Motown. Psychedelia. And screaming atop that Mountain is Janis Joplin. Such voice, such energy. I like to imagine Janis at the Crossroads with Robert Johnson, selling her very soul for her voice. That growl, that twang. It's unmistakable and irresistible. Especially on my new favourite version of "Summertime". The guitar tone is fuzzy and the temp is funky and soulful. There's solos, call and response. The piped in crowd noise before each track adds a wonderful electricity to each. These are the hymns of the counterculture, sung by their troubled high priestess and burned into our collective memory of the late 60s. Take a piece of my Heart, Janis. Just take it.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

Let's fucking party! Lo-fi and wild, and Janis sounds amazing. Great fun all round.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

Janis Joplin kills it in the vocals, strong blues roots, great guitar

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Sat Feb 20 2021
5

This was made for me. I loved this. Also I kept thinking of 30 rock when Jenna has the fake Joplin doc.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Cracker. Surprise Janis Joplin gem.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
5

Incredible album, I love it. Janis Joplin is timeless.

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Fri Aug 06 2021
2

Not a big Janis Joplin fan. There are some things I can appreciate - Piece of My Heart is a classic and deservedly so, but in a lot of cases her voice grates on me. For example, her rendition of Summertime is supposed to be a classic but I couldn't stand her voice on it and even the fuzz guitar was annoying me. I liked a bit of the first track, "Combination of the Two" - it was half good sixties heavy rock and half hippy time. "I Need a Man to Love" had some good funk going on, but it also made me feel that this album is very much of its time. The best albums are timeless. I found Joplin's voice grating again on Ball and Chain, which is a shame because I really like Big Mama Thornton (her original version of Hound Dog blows away Elvis). Not sure if a link will work, but here's how Ball and Chain SHOULD sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbdUjHmCHA4 ...take it away Big Mama. Have to call this album a 2, unfortunately.

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Wed Nov 23 2022
2

The vocals were grating, like Robert Plant scraping a dying budgie down a blackboard.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

A classic. Raw, powerful, soulful. And that voice.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

This was simply great! The vocals, the guitar, the drums, the bass, the whole band, the album cover. Even not liking too much the "live" inserts in the middle of the songs, this still is a great piece of modern music. Enough said!

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Sat Feb 20 2021
4

Dripping in acid haze and California heat wave, so damn cool and confident

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Tue Nov 02 2021
4

J'ai profité d'une heure durant laquelle je devais surveiller une élève pendant qu'elle rédigeait son devoir de français pour écouter cet album. Bien que je l'aie globalement apprécié, deux moments ont bien failli gâcher son écoute. En plein milieu de l'album, l'élève en question eut l'impolitesse de me demander comment "langweilig" se disait dans ma langue. J'enlevai mes écouteurs et allai écrire le mot "ennuyeux" au tableau avant d'éclater la craie au sol d'un geste d'humeur et de me rasseoir. Enfin, alors que mon écoute en était à la dernière piste, si proche du but, l'élève crut bon de m'annoncer qu'elle avait terminé son devoir. J'entrai alors dans une colère noire. Les tables volèrent, les chaises voltigèrent, les fenêtres se fracassèrent... Une note de quatre sur cinq bien méritée en attendant de finir incessamment les trente secondes restantes.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
3

Honestly, I had no idea that Janis Joplin fronted a band until this album came up. I always thought she was a solo act only. I also found out today that Congress has several subway trains connecting their buildings. So not to brag, but I learned two things today! Janis has a voice that shouldn’t work, but is just right for theses songs. It’s gravelly. It sort of sounds like what happens the day after a night of drinking and screaming too many songs. It sounds like the after effect of smoking too many cigarettes. Maybe she drunkenly screamed too many songs while smoking gravel cigarettes. Nothing would surprise me here. The guitar distortion during the first minute of Ball And Chain reminds me of her voice. Maybe she has a distortion pedal in her throat. The point is Janis’s voice is perfectly imperfect. I like the songs on this album, I don’t love them. There is a bit too much jamming for my taste that’s better saved for the live show.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
5

I’d never listened to this. Amazing

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Sun Jan 24 2021
5

Enjoyed more than I thought I would.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Incredible album, I love it. Janis Joplin is timeless.

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Tue Oct 05 2021
5

Brilliant album. Nice bit of Janis screeching away!

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Mon Oct 18 2021
5

Amazing record, those live track are huge and this is the record that has Sumertimw in it. As great of a record as Pearl

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Sat Nov 20 2021
5

This is a gem! I'm slightly embarrassed to have never even heard of the band or album before, but grateful for the tip, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pure class.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

Is Janis Joplin the greatest singer of all time? No, but damn if she isn’t great

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

The arguable peak of blues rock, Janis Joplin’s voice is absolutely vibrant and aggressive. You can almost smell the late 60s on this record. 👍

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

Zeppelin couldn’t copy if they tried.

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Sat Aug 14 2021
4

Blues is not usually my jam. I think this is the second time listening to this album; the first time through I was not grabbed at all...this time definitely moreso. Summertime is my personal favorite and the one two punch of that song and Piece of my Heart is worth the price of admission. Though I find the gutar on Ball and Chain heavy handed Janis' vocals are tour de force. And there are other incredible vocal performances. I'm giving it a 4 which after my first go through I would have never thought would happen. Maybe it will increase still on my next listen (hard to find to listen to anything but the next two on the list (yeah I'm doing 2 per day.

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Sat Nov 27 2021
4

Definitely has a raw, faux-live energy that is both fun but a little bit grating at the same time. Songs are solid though, and everything has a pretty loose and jammy feel to it. All the players here are great, but compared the Janis they are like candles to a torch, which really holds back the songs where she isn't in the spotlight. Overall a very fun time, and Janis is always a pleasure, and its flaws are many but minor.

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Mon Dec 18 2023
4

Love that Jackie Jormp Jomp voice.

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Mon Jan 08 2024
4

Janis Joplin’s vocal cords might have mothered Axl Rose’s. Years ago, during my loud "never trust a hippy" phase my dad, not a man in whom I've noted more than an atom of hippy, told me that actually, they did some great stuff, and I shouldn't be so dogmatic. Without disaggregating the whole bursting of restrictive social norms and segregation that they contributed, I'll tip my hat to my dad for the necessary corrective. The sort of disorganised, bold and restless spirit I associate with the movement is present in this record. This list has resurrected my fondness for messy '60's blue-rock recordings, off-the-cuff albums with a bunch of covers thrown in to make up the numbers, production carefree and murky, audience sounds dubbed in, echoes thrown into odd places, and a sense of wanting to capture a moment before moving on, who cares if it isn't perfect, the next one will be better, though the next one often never came. The bass sometimes is off hidden in some corner of a club, stoned and noisily planning some sort of revolutionary arts happening to a bunch of comrades, probably outnumbered by FBI spies, the guitar sometimes is just inappropriately blitzed out in a way that you'd never hear on a contemporary record, they've raided the party, swept the canapés into a bin bag, and have blazed off down the canyon. Anyway, pretty good. Now I'd probably add a star to each of those Doors albums that were thrown at us early in the run.

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Tue Jul 18 2023
3

Big brother and the holding company if they didn’t have Janice Joplin: 💀📉😭

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Mon Jan 08 2024
2

One from my Dad's record collection - I would gaze at the cover art but never got to playing the actual vinyl. So, good to get it here! Unfortunately pretty generic 60's blues/rock with some histrionics. Also features that weird 60's 'live but not really' anomaly. R Crumb remains the highlight

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Mon May 17 2021
5

This record has always felt a little disjointed to me, but it is undeniably an all-time classic.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
5

Janis Joplin en directo. Espectacular.

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Thu Jul 01 2021
5

52. Ele já te vê de longe e ainda não sabes o seu aspecto. Uma eternidade à espera na montra do Preço Certo. Gostava de ter mais bom texto p'ra ti. Meu bem. Meu bem. Leva a aorta primeiro. MotA: Piece of My Heart "Everybody's got it"

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

Wow! 5 songs in and LOVE IT. Loved it all the way through

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

Fav song: - I Need a Man to Love - Summertime - Piece of My Heart - Oh, Sweet Mary - Ball and Chain -

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

Heard this one before, food album.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
5

Sulla fiducia, da un primo ascolto senza cuffie. Da riascoltare

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Sun Dec 12 2021
5

Fanfuckinhtastic! Another of my all time faves

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Mon Jan 10 2022
5

Super bon album, l'essence de la musique hippie même. Bons passages plus blues rock aussi. Définitivement un classique à revisiter.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

Fantastic album. Great energy, the songs have so many layers, I could listen 100 times and hear something new each time

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Amazing experience, epic Janis vocals

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

Vraiment bon, janis est super bonne et les tounes sortent vra8ment de lordinaire. C’est a reecouter car toutes les tounes sont bonnes. 4.95

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Tue Mar 22 2022
5

Janis Joplin??? Iznenađena san (ugodno naravno). Slusat ću ponovo!

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

Awesome album. Amazing voice. Amazing blues.

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Sat May 07 2022
5

This album is just rock and effing roll

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Wed May 11 2022
5

This is another really good example of music that would be better produced, rather than live. I mean, the live performances are superb - genuinely remarkable - but the reliance on "first take" recording means that there's so much in here that could be made better. The drums, I don't think, were mic'd particularly well, so they sound rather clipped and tinny. The balance between Joplin's singing and the music is not great. I mean, this music is brilliant. Truly brilliant. But it would have been so very much better in a studio. Even a mediocre producer could have taken this from brilliant to world-changing.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

God damn, Janis was good. I never knew which of her hits were actually part of Big Brother and the Holding Company vs. solo. But there are some big time classics on this album. And you've got to love this album cover.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

I haven’t participated in this as much as others but this is the first album that I actually really liked. The amount emotion in Joplins voice is palpable. It’s impossible to not be moved by it. She’s one of the best rock singers ever and this album exemplifies it.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

Stuff of legends! Dem pipes, dem pipes.

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Buenísimo, te lleva a los inicios del rock & roll de los 70's

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

It's a wonder I haven't heard this one early. With my recent enamoring with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. These bands feel like future successors of Big Brother & The Holding Company. It's also easy to see how this band fit right into the counter culture movement and hippie scene in San Francisco. If this is Janis Joplin in her early and inexperienced, I can't wait to listen to more as she grew as a person and artist. Favorites: 'Summertime', 'Oh, Sweet Mary', and 'Piece of My Heart'

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

Excellent album. Though there is a clear sound (Joplin's singing voice is quite distinct) throughout there is enough variety and energy in each song that you'll find you skip barely any.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

This album slaps so hard, oh my god. The album cover, from R Crumb's hand, is super cool and a super creative way to present the band and songs. Apart from the... you know...

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

Almost Zep feel, heavy influence on later music. Why didn't I know more

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Tue Sep 27 2022
5

Screaming guitars Angela growling vocals. I loved this

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

Janis Joplin. What more needs to be said !

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Janis showcase. She was so good.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

one of the best psychedelic rock albums of all time . 10/10

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Sun Oct 09 2022
5

I'm struggling to find words for how much I enjoyed this album. I really didn't expect much from it which is why I was caught off guard, I guess. I forgot that Janis Joplin used to front this band. Joplin was an absolute powerhouse of a presence, though. She was one of those singers who never holds back and just leaves everything on the stage. And the rest of the band ain't slouches either. Overall, an utterly riveting performance from top to bottom. Super great. Instant repeat. Saved to listen to later again and again.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

harsh twangy gritty blues. soulful screeching and smoky backroom parlor vibes. note: the last 4 tracks are bonuses, hence the drop in quality

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Mon Oct 10 2022
5

Honestly, wasn't expecting this to be that good. Never heard a thing from Janis Joplin before, really only knew her from her image being painted on numerous hostels when backpacking Europe and news articles about The 27 Club. Must say she blew me away with those vocals. The instrumentation is also top notch and although not live according to Wikipedia, it feels right at home at a den or a cavern type theatre full of smoke and booze. Nice little variety too for blues which can be repetitive at times from experience. Got great solos, reliable rhythm section and some slow acoustics too. I guess the thing I find odd is that the songs themselves feel secondary to the performances. I didn't come away point at a particular song and say "This was the shit" or alternatively "Well that was shit". But if the performances were so good that you can view this record as an album, then who cares. Also the artwork, very creative and innovative instead of an image of the band or a model. Love how the comic style features images of each song along with the band members. Only bad thing about it is a couple of the images not aging well (*cough* Summertime *cough*).

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

Really solid psychedelic and blues album. Really good.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

Soort van psychedelische bluesrock met een dijk van een zangeres. Heel goed album!

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

I almost wish I didn’t see the R Crumb album cover before listening to the album itself. The racial caricatures aren’t cool. Janis’s vocals are superb, a surprise to no one, and the band highlights her voice well. The guitars are fantastic, it’s the early days of the fuzz pedal and you just don’t hear tone like that anymore. You can feel that they’re pushing the boundaries of the music that’s currently available to them. I could do without the tanbura (or super sparse sitar?) on “Oh, Sweet Mary,” but I can’t fault them too much for wanting to experiment. Overall I’m super glad I listened to this, no complaints about the music.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

I can't be the first person to have this realization but I think Robert Plant bases a lot of his vocal stylings on Janis Joplin? Just another thing Zep stole... This record is great! Imagine hearing these people live. They're really going for it.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

An absolute glorious mess. 1968 summed up in a record. Changing the world through music, messing up themselves with drugs, everything is possible and nothing is sacred. Joplin burning bright but too, too fast.

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Tue Dec 27 2022
5

There are some pretty incredible performances on here. Of course the star of the show is Janice Joplin. I am certain that rock music had never heard a voice of her range and emotional power. Her performance on Summertime, Piece of My Heart, Turtle Blues and Ball and Chain are seminal. Although i'm not typically a blues-rock lover this album is an exception and its all because of Janice. 5 stars

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Absolutely an incredible experience. Presenting such a heavy bluesy album in the unpolished format of a live performance is a truly remarkable sound which emphasizes the nonstop assault this is. The type of album which makes you want to look up every detail about the artists. Janis Joplin deserves all the praise she gets. 9/10

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

Fuck yes. Was gonna hit 4 stars, then that first live track came in. Janis for prez

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Mon Jan 02 2023
5

Amazing, definitely listening again

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

Actually didn’t know that Janis Joplin was in this band before her solo career. This is a very solid album and I really enjoyed it Saved tracks: I Need a Man To Love, Piece Of My Heart, Oh Sweet Mary, Ball and Chain

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Fri Feb 17 2023
5

From the jump “Combination of the Two” set fire to my speakers. Is that JANIS JOPLIN I hear?! (AND HOW!) How am I just now discovering this song? I listened to this barnburner over and over… The rest of the album consists of incredible songs performed by an incredible band with an incredible lead vocalist. Incredible!

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Fri Feb 17 2023
5

Glorious abandon. Janis is fearless.

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Wed Mar 01 2023
5

Early Janis Joplin. Pretty amazing.

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Thu Mar 09 2023
5

An absolutely incredible album! Last Big Brother album with Janis Joplin on it and she leaves with a bang! She really gives everything she has in this album, her voice is just so recognizable and so different and raw all coming from so deep within. Truly one of the greatest singers to grace the microphone. Cannot believe this album isn’t a live album and only produced that way, gives it such a raw sound that steps the album up to a whole other level. Always have loved this album cover, incredible artwork. Great album with classic songs on it!

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Fri Mar 24 2023
5

Awesome album, I love Janis Joplin, what a singer. Favourite tracks: 'Summertime', 'Piece of My Heart', 'Turtle Blues' and 'Ball and Chain'. 5/5

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Wed May 03 2023
5

One of the best albums of all time. Amazing theme, great tracks, amazing artwork, its got it all. 5/5

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Wed May 10 2023
5

In the Winter of 1993, I drove away from my university in Ohio and my girlfriend at the time with the mixtape she gave me playing in my car. I lost the tape a number of years ago, and I've forgotten the majority of the tracks that she put on the tape. I think about how much I liked the songs from time to time, and I keep a running list that I add to whenever I hear one of the missing tunes in a potentially vain attempt to recreate that piece of my past. Summertime just went back on the list. That was a sweet relationship, but I have to admit: I miss that tape more than I miss the girl. Nostalgia aside, Big Brother & Holding Company is a hell of good band. They just put it all out there. Then Janis' vocals explode all across the stage and blow me away. Huge and bold, raw emotion on display. God, I live for these kinds of performances. The uncompromising expression of those things you can't express any other way. It's just sublime. The piecemeal acquisition of the performances that compose this album just add to the charm. I love me a good live performance, and this whole album has all the vitality of the best live performances whether recorded in the studio or on stage.

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Mon May 22 2023
5

My first 5 star album of this challenge! Janis is obviously a legend. My favorite songs were Piece of My Heart and Turtle Blues

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