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

Pearl

Janis Joplin

1971

Buy At Rough Trade
Pearl
Album Summary

Pearl is the second and final solo studio album by Janis Joplin, released on January 11, 1971, three months after her death on October 4, 1970. It was the final album with her direct participation, and the only Joplin album recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, her final touring unit. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, holding that spot for nine weeks. It has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.72

Votes

12540
Genres
Rock
Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sat Mar 06 2021
5

‘Pearl” by Janis Joplin (1971) Very familiar with this album and artist. It will be a struggle here to focus on this album as an album, simply because there is so much worth saying about Janis Joplin and her times. But here goes: “Pearl” is stellar, even without context. Joplin’s soul soars in this recording, which is, almost incidentally, very well produced and arranged. The songwriting is first rate (only “Move Over” was written solely by Joplin herself), and the instrumentals of the Full Tilt Boogie Band excel. Top notch lead guitar, with some great solo riffs. Elaborate bass lines, always in concert with steady and dynamic drums. Nice colorings on Hammond organ. All very professional. But the chief topic of interest here is the vocal performance by Joplin. Her inimitable tonal characteristics are on full display. She does things with her voice that literally no one else can do. Tightly disciplined yet delicate trills. Effortless execution of singing two pitches simultaneously (e.g., hear the first word of “Cry Baby”! I actually did). Dynamic variation as an art form in itself. Listen to the constant interplay between the soft and the loud on “Me and Bobby McGee”. Few singers (or listeners) pay attention to that nowadays. There’s only one way to articulate the line “Windshield wipers slappin’ time”, and it’s the way Janis Joplin does it, though others have tried. Here we’re treated to Joplin’s prodigious range and exemplary pitch control, with vibrato that is customized for each phrase. Moreover, none of her vocal stylings are affected or artificial. It’s as if each song has been internalized, and thus it springs from her soul with minimal interference by her considerable physical singing tools. Listen for what’s going on beneath her breathing, vocal cords, oral and nasal cavities, and phonetic mechanisms. It’s passion. And passion rules over the body as the sound comes out. It’s not just ‘singing the blues’. It’s the blues emerging as song. Her frequent exclamations and extra-lyrical flourishes are not contrived. They seem unrehearsed. She is feeling, and we have the privilege of hearing what her feelings sound like. There is a maternal aspect to her singing. Mom can scold, comfort, rage, caress, and lament with abandon. So does Janis Joplin. But also, there’s plenty of eroticism—of a kind that is not bound by constructs like identity or even gender. It’s lust without heavy moral overtones. I’ll resist the urge to be more specific. This album is superb work of art. Recommend on every level. 5/5

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Wed May 05 2021
5

What an excellent album, and yet a desperately sad one. She was just a kid. Such a tragedy.

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Sun Feb 07 2021
3

She is a talented singer but this is the exact music your least fave aunt loves

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Tue Dec 01 2020
5

Janis Joplin is, hands down, top 5 coolest artist ever. This, being smoother and more polished than her previous work, is her at the top of her career.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

Janis is a tiger shooting firecrackers. What an excellent, punchy, and fiery set of songs.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
5

Nr. 5/1001 Move Over 3/5 Cry Baby 4/5 A Woman Left Lonely 4/5 Half Moon 4/5 Buried Alive In the Blues 2/5 My Baby 3/5 Me and Bobby McGee 3/5 Mercedes-Benz 4/5 Trust Me 4/5 Get It While You Can 4/5 Average: 3,5 Enjoyed this quite a bit more than expected

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Really, really good. Makes you want to take a star off everything else to make it look better still.

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Wed May 05 2021
5

Janis is a favorite. Bluesy, jammy, rock-n-roll with one of America’s best voices. She conveys love and torture and hope all at the same time. Backing band is great but doesn’t overshadow the star of the show. Also have a soft spot for “Me and Bobby McGee” because it won us a round of drinks at Silky O’Sullivan’s bar on Beale Street on my 40th birthday. American classic, and sad member of the 27 club...

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

A candidate for the greatest singer of the early 70s. This is her most polished album, full of instant hits that it's a crime only two of them are modern radio staples. It's not just her powerful voice, full of raunch and passion, but the full bluesy instrumentation that energizes every line she puts in. The fast-pace ensures there's always something happening in these songs. I'm really glad "Buried Alive in the Blues" exists to back up my claim that it's not just Joplin that makes this album amazing, but it's when they combine forces when they become something else entirely. I liked how the beginning of that track sounded like the start of a 70s sitcom intro. I'll for sure be coming back to this album, probably as much as Carole King's Tapestry.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
4

Today I'm listening to Pearl by Janis Joplin and released in 1971. I remember being introduced to Janis Joplin by my sister when I was starting to devour good music in my late teens. And this was done by sitting and listening to Me and Bobby McGee over and over again. Then Piece of My Heart became a big deal to me. I've never actually listened to any of her albums. Another in a long line of greatest hits artists I've enjoyed. I'm definitely enjoying this album, and that voice is towering and unique and full of feeling as always. And like other albums, hearing Me and Bobby McGee just roll out of the speakers is a lovely experience. It makes me think of road tripping in the 60s with Kris Kristofferson. It's the best feeling I can imagine right now. This is all tinged with sadness of what could have been had Janis not been part of the 27 year-old rock start death club.

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Thu Jan 04 2024
4

I’m not big on the San Francisco psych-rock scene of the 60’s - the Velvet Underground are far more psychedelic and interesting to me than most of the San Francisco bands - but this record is proof of Janis Joplin’s phenomenal talent. Her band here is exceptionally tight and funky. Excellent musicianship all around. By every metric, Pearl is a great record.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
2

Fuck Janis Joplin is crusty. You can smell the stains on her fingers just looking at the cover. Singing is pretty impressive (especially considering all the drugs and ciggies), but wears out its welcome kinda quick. Music isn't too bad, just average rock of the time. 2.5/5.

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Sat Jan 02 2021
2

Yeah it’s good but I can’t listen to her song for more than a minute or two.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

I've been a fan ever since I was little. Both my parents are huge fans so the you have it. When I found that Bobby Mcgee has her greatest hit couldn't believe it! then I found out that Janis had quite more than I believed. this is an awsome and gorgeous record. Cry baby always tears my heart. Thank you Janis for your work

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Sun Jul 25 2021
5

Sexy and the voice of a chain smoking angel.

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Sat Mar 16 2024
5

"My friends all drive Porsches," sang Janis Joplin, and so did she - a 1964 356 SC Cabriolet that she bought when it was four years old and used as a daily driver. What made her car special, compared to other 356s was its psychedelic paint job, which was as flamboyant as her music and persona. Joplin is said to have paid her roadie, Dave Richards, $500 to decorate the light ivory car, portraying the "History of the Universe" in every colour of the rainbow. He did, starting with a coat of Candy Apple Red, then adding portraits of Joplin's "Big Brother and the Holding Company"band-mates and other motifs such as "The Eye of God" on the hood, and a California valley on the right door. This car is a tribute to that work of art painted by former GM designer, Nick Moskatow, for its current owner. Loved the iconic album from Janice Joplin 5/5

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Fri Apr 02 2021
3

Honest, raw and polished in equal measure. A good listen.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

Großartig. Kannte ich bis auf 'Booby McGee' und 'Mercedes Benz' natürlich wieder nicht. Wahnsinn.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Excelente, Janis inigualável

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Mon Mar 15 2021
5

Some great, classic songs here

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

very nice listen, reminds me of simpler times and drugs. lots of drugs.

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Sat Jan 16 2021
5

Fabuloso. I and Bobby McGee es increíblemente buena canción.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

great album, makes me wish I was around in the 60s

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Sun Mar 28 2021
5

What a voice! Blues rock genius released after she died. What a waste...: Best Tracks: Move Over, Half Moon, Me and Bobby McGee

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Thu May 20 2021
5

This album is pure GOLD. She’s incredible

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Thu May 06 2021
5

i loved mercedes benz and the opening track. really good

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

When I bought my first iPod back in 2005, this was the first album I downloaded and basked in the irony of listening to “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedez Benz” on the then biggest symbol of conspicuous consumption. Anyways, I love this album so much. Janis’s voice is just one of the most powerful forces on earth. Favourite track: “A Woman Left Lonely”

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Wed Jul 28 2021
5

Janice has a great blues voice. A Woman Left Lonely is a wild tune, transcending the genre. Half Moon Comes in with this funk rock intro and I'm all for it. Wow what a back half of an album.

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

Certified 5 stars. RIP to the goat

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

Janis Joplin was a troubled person that left us way too early. She bared herself and put it all out when she sang. Very soulful and heartfelt album. 5 all the way on this one.

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Thu Aug 26 2021
5

Great. Jazzy but heavy at times. Love it.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

This was an amazing album. Loved it

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Sun Sep 12 2021
5

Love this album, love Janis. I can’t believe I haven’t listened to this album before.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

This is a HEAVY ROTATION album in the Spence house. Her voice. Jesus. And the band is so damn good. I remember one time an 80's hair band shredder that I worked with at a guitar shop said something like "Yes, Janis is a great singer. You'd think she would've had a decent band that was at least proficient..." F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-uck you! This band has it all. Technical chops, feel, groove, psychedelia. I love this record and it really bums me out that Janis was in a better place when this record was made and had plans to be on the up-and-up, given her past addictions. It's a sad story. She was treated horribly as a kid in Texas. Lots of self medicating happening. Which is interesting because her voice and songs are like medicine, in a way.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

The most iconic blues of the women blues.

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

Forget the Beatles, This is the sound of the 60s.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

I love this album. All of my favorite Janis songs are on here.

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Tue Dec 28 2021
5

PEARL A beautiful, precious, little gem from the sea (where Janis Joplin - oh! such a powerful voice! - rests now). I don't even know who Janis Joplin is, but this posthumous album blew my mind. Just a standard soul album, but with a great band and a passionate voice. The Full Tilt Boogie Band's performance slaps. Setting aside the haunting context of "Buried Alive in the Blues" (what an ironic title), the band's bluesy beats here are irresistibly moving, not undermining the energy of the rest of the album. Her voice is of course, incredible. This album is a great showcase of her voice's vigor (perhaps not, but the empty space in "Buried Alive in the Blues" might give us an idea of what more she could possibly achieve). It's a lasting final statement. It's possibly one of the best soul albums of all time. It's a pearl.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

"I can't take it no more baby And furthermore, I don't intend to" (Move over) "You said you'd try to look for the end of the road You might find out later that the road'll end in Detroit" (Cry baby) Ojalá molar alguna vez la mitad de lo que molaba Janis Joplin <3

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

I have never really listened to a Janis Joplin album before, strangely enough. I knew some of the 'hits,' but nothing really more than that. I now know I was missing out. This rocks!

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

FIVE STARS An all-time classic As is usually the case with those five-stars albums, I won't write a full-blown review here, because others have already written wonderful stuff about this record and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. This album is just a gem. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. [Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 994 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 1 (starting with this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 4 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (as I think many others are more important): 3 ]

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Sun Feb 13 2022
5

I probably have heard this album in my youth. My dad was a big fan of Janis Joplin. I was probably a little young for this music, though, and I haven’t really listened to any Janis Joplin other than the occasional song heard on the radio. As I grew older I kept thinking I should change that but never got around to it. I’m very excited to listen to it now. This album is incredible. “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Mercedes Benz” I knew well going in to this, but those incredible songs barely scratch the surface of this album’s contents. From start to finish it is hard to fathom how a person can put so much into these songs. They are powerful. They are emotional, they are incredible, they are fun! I teared up on several occasions. How could you not during “A Woman Left Lonely?” There is incredible exuberance captured on this album and I can’t help but feel happy hearing songs like “Half Moon.” But could there be a sadder moment than “Buried Alive in the Blues?” Such a funky song. Such a sad song. Maybe the bitterest sweet as I listened and never heard her voice as she died before it was completed. I was quite glad that the writer of the song turned down the request to have him perform the vocals on it in tribute. The song sits in the middle of the album in sad tribute to the loss of an incredible performer. How about that album cover?! That smile. That drink. Those feathers. Such great spirit captured by that image. Fortunately we have Janis Joplin’s incredible music to give us a little of that today.

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Sun Feb 13 2022
5

Its only flaw is that it is too short. Power, vocal agility, and so fucking much heart.

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Sun Feb 13 2022
5

I was already very familiar with about half of this album and the rest was filled with newly discovered gems.

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Sun Feb 13 2022
5

This really felt like a personal experience with Janis Joplin. This is a voice that's raw and real. I listened over and over today.

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Tue Mar 15 2022
5

I grew up with my parents listening to that album. It's great!

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

Prachtige stem. Topalbum van een vrouw die veel te vroeg is komen te gaan

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Janis Joplin is good as always.

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Wed May 11 2022
5

Excellent. Love her energy and her songs are fantastic

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Fri May 13 2022
5

Amazing, startling, arresting, wonderful, complex, emotional, and brilliant.

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Thu May 19 2022
5

Ah Janis, 3rd member of the 27 Club, whats not to love about the co-star of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel" Her perfectly raw blues voice was a gem of the 60's and an inspiration to so many. Favourite tracks on Pearl have got to be "Mercedes Benz" "Me And Bobby McGee" and "Get It While You Can" A great album which is rightfully on the list imho

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Thu Jun 09 2022
5

Janis Joplin siempre en vinilo. SIEMPRE.

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Sun Jun 12 2022
5

Raw and authentic as Janis always was, but more polished and tighter than other of her records (especially those with overly loud Big Brother). Lots of winners here, including "Bobby McGee," a classic among classics, and really no losers on either side. There's also a touch of sweetness to these blues that belies the early death.

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Mon Jun 13 2022
5

An all-time favorite. Tragedy that we lost her so young.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
5

My wife hates it, I love it - 5/5

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Mon Jun 20 2022
5

I skipped the live bits because I'm not a huge fan of live recordings. But other than that a great album. Love Janis Joplin, so this is a great listen. With maybe an exception of only few songs from this album that are just -too country- for my personal taste. Great listen though.

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Fri Jul 01 2022
5

Janis Joplin was a great singer. In this album his better songs are "Move Over", "Cry Baby", "Half Moon", "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Trust Me". In every album she mades there's a hits.

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Sat Jul 02 2022
5

What a powerful and legendary voice! Proved that woman can rock and make classics for all pub bands to play for the rest of time. Great run time, sounds great, the grooves are amazing.

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

10/5….excellent album..became a fan year before she died..wish I had attended a concert…what a voice, gets right in your soul

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Mon Jul 11 2022
5

Ah, one of my first albums, definitely one of my favorites!

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

This album made me sad. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it really is a shame that Joplin died so young. The enthusiasm and soul that she can sing on a track is absolutely unparalleled. I don’t think there was a single song I didn’t enjoy. The opening track “Move Over” is a perfect introduction to the album. The vocals missing “Buried alive in the Blues” is haunting. Then “Me and Bobby McGee” plays like a Dolly Parton song and I love country shift and the lyrics freedoms just another word for nothing left to loose. 5/5

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Sun Jul 31 2022
5

Ooh. Power. Not usually into blues, but this is amazing. So sad that she was nit alive to see it released. I always though janis joplin was a folk singer songwriter. I have now been corrected.

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Sat Aug 13 2022
5

hell yeah, man fuckin amazing - 10/10 she just has such a beautiful, powerful voice I love it

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

All around amazing, have always loved.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Joplin is in top form. Sadly her band can’t keep up with her energy for every song and felt overshadowed during the first two songs. Still a 5 star album.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

First listen. Awesome such a powerful and unique voice.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Shits a bop, definitely added to the album to on collection

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Classic and soulful jewel of the South, infused with R&B, folk and gospel into an unmatched voice. Gone too soon.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

Such outstanding music and, of course, the vocal performance by the inimitable Janis is just wonderful. She always draws me in. I do like her other albums, but this one I like in particular because things (the writing, arrangements, performances, recording, all of it) overall seem more clear and well put together. I don't mean that in an over-produced way; I genuinely like the way it all sounds here. I feel like it lets us (or at least me) hear much better just how incredible she is. Such superb songs on this amazing album. Rest in power, Janis. Shine On!

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Great Album, always loved her raspy voice and hug personality that comes through her music

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

"Cry Baby" is played in "Look Who's Talking," one I my favorite movies that I grew up with. Also the rest of the album was just wonderful. All of the love.

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Tue Sep 27 2022
5

I was expecting to only know "Me and Bobby McGee", but there were other familiar songs, too. "Move Over", "Cry Baby" and others are standouts. Much more rockin' than I had expected, frankly. The band is great!

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