18 Essential Songs
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This collection misses the mark on several crucial points, but is still better than the Greatest Hits album, mainly because it features the legendary Saturday afternoon recording of Ball and Chain at the Monterey Pop Festival, the moment that launched Janis into super stardom, with Mama Cass watching in awe. (The Greatest Hits album features the inferior Full Tilt version of Ball and Chain. The one we see on film was recorded the second night at Monterey, where Janis is wearing a gold lame pantsuit.)
All of the tracks on 18 Essentials were culled from the 3CD box set, thus some are not definitive, rather alternate. Such is the case with "Summertime." I've always felt that the bootleg live in Amsterdam version is the absolute best on record, but at the very least there are better "Summertime" tracks from the Cheap Thrills recording sessions than this one. I was also dismayed by the omission of "Cry Baby," the second-best charting single from the Pearl album. Granted, the alternate take of "Cry Baby" featured on the boxed set is not the same as on Pearl, but to me it is a great cut none-the-less and should have been included in lieu of "Trust Me," which doesn't showcase Janis at her best.
Also, no where to be found is "Little Girl Blue" from the Kozmic Blues album. This was Janis's favorite of all her recorded tracks, and should have been included because it is, in a word, ESSENTIAL. I personally like the inclusion of the acoustic demo of Bobby McGee in this collection.Read more ›
The tracks on this CD are a mixture of previously unissued material and of the formal studio recordings (or sometimes the live performances) that appear on her previous primary CDs. A classic example of the former: the version here of "Me and Bobby McGee" -- her one number one hit -- is not the traditional version that appears on her "Pearl" album, but rather, is a previously unissued solo demo prepared for the album's producer.
So if you just want a 'traditional' overview of Janis Joplin's music, the "Greatest Hits" album is probably your best bet. If you're a dedicated fan -- who WANTS the solo demo of "Bobby McGee" or the track of "Trouble in Mind" recorded in an apartment with a typewriter clacking in the background -- you might look at the 3-disc 49-track "Janis" album from which the tracks on the current CD were culled. Alternatively, if you just want to supplement an already largely complete collection with the previously unissued tracks, they're all available for download.
But it's hard for me to imagine WHO the audience would be for the curious collection of tracks on the "18 Essential Songs" album.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
C'mon now, does this really need a review? This CD is amazing. I have the Janis box set and have since converted all my CDs (including this one) to digital but I bought this as a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Alizarine
What more can I say but this is a MUST HAVE for all JJ diehard fans!!Published 15 months ago by Sandra Bradley