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Jed1000 (74)
I remember being about 11 or 12 y/o when I first heard this album, not understanding why that lady's voice made me feel sad, or why I liked it so much.

  (6 voted this helpful, 0 funny and 0 agree)
irishgit (158)
Four stars for "Summertime" alone. Can't quite go to five stars, despite the brilliance of "Ball and Chain" and "I need a Man to Love" because the band isn't quite tight enough. Must have album though.

  (3 voted this helpful, 0 funny and 0 agree)
Djahuti (57)
As Oscar and Edt have noted,whatever shortcomings the band may have had,Janis soulful and searing voice made up for it.Her performance on "I need a Man to Love" alone is worth buying the album (ok,CD nowdays) for."Summertime" is also given five star treatment as is "Piece of my Heart".Side two ends powerfully with "Ball and Chain".The album also featured wonderful "vintage" cartoon cover art by Robert Crumb,who perhaps best captured the 60s underground spirit better than anyone.

  (4 voted this helpful, 0 funny and 0 agree)
oscargamblesfro (86)
Very good review by edt4 below. This is a good album, I was rather surprised that it was the #1 selling album in this country for 8 weeks back in' 68, that's quite a long time...I think the reason I'm so surprised is that it sounds so raw, even factoring in that it was recorded live. Also, the only modestly commercially successful debut was on Mainstream, a Chicago based sort of major label run by a shyster named Bobby Shad, who signed some acts to Faustian ripoff deals, where he either kept them and screwed them over, or sold them to bigger companies for a great profit. It must have been hard for even the shrewd Albert Goldman to extricate them from that contract. "Summertime" I always actually enjoyed for the music than Janis' singing." Ball and Chain" was good, but I agree with edt4 in that the Monterrey Pop version is better, "Piece of My Heart" was the hit single, a r&b; track first done by Aretha Franklin's sister Erma, I heard the original so long ago I forgot what it's like , maybe 15 years ago on the M.I.T. college radio's 60's program. "Combination of The Two" is an exciting opening track, where Janis shares lead vocals with one of the guitarists, Sam Andrew. It's a good song, albeit one with the "Sock it to you's" and "All Rights!". A harbinger of that "Action fist pumping rock" that unfortunately would become so commonplace in the following decade. Some of the other tracks are pedestrian. She soon left this outfit to strike out on her own successfully, though a reformed Big Brother had some very minor success without her a few years later.

  (5 voted this helpful, 0 funny and 0 agree)
edt4 (118)
I believe Big Brother always had a reputation of being less-than-stellar musicians, but Janis always made up for any lack, in my opinion. I didn't love everything she did (her supposedly spontaneous hippie stream-of-consciousness monologues in the middle of a song...I have a live version of "Ball and Chain" where she goes on interminably with this, injecting a million "Man's" during the excruciating course of it...were more silly than engaging, although they assuredly were reflective of the times) but her voice was definitely powerful, exotically raspy and evocative. Love their version of "Summertime" and "Ball and Chain" (although the best version of this that I've yet heard was a live version they did at Monterrey). I always felt bad for her, as she evidently had an emotionally-torturous past, and died way too early. Would be interesting to see where she'd be today if she had lived...

  (5 voted this helpful, 0 funny and 0 agree)
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