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The Essential Janis Ian

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 8, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The rollercoaster ride through the music business experienced by one of the most boldly honest songwriters of her generation is chronicled across these 2 CDs. Her 1967 eye-opening anthem Society's Child joins her 1975 smash At Seventeen and her key album tracks Hair of Spun Gold; Stars; Jesse; Love Is Blind; Tattoo; Through the Years; God and the FBI; I Hear You Sing Again; My Autobiography 31 tracks from a 40-year career!

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hair Of Spun Gold
  2. God And The FBI
  3. Silly Habits
  4. Society's Child
  5. Haven't I Got Eyes
  6. Jesse
  7. Stars
  8. Thankyous
  9. This Train Still Runs
  10. At Seventeen
  11. Love Is Blind
  12. Fly Too High
  13. Arms Around My Life
  14. His Hands
  15. When Angels Cry

Disc: 2

  1. My Tennessee Hills
  2. Every Love
  3. Some People's Lives
  4. Stolen Fire
  5. Days Like These
  6. Tattoo
  7. Through The Years
  8. I Hear You Sing Again
  9. Joy
  10. My Autobiography
  11. Hair Of Spun Gold
  12. I Long For You
  13. Ginny The Flying Girl
  14. Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
  15. Today You're Mine
  16. At Seventeen


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 8, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • ASIN: B002HMG49A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,164 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathleen A. Brogan on September 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent CD which was released September 9th 2009. A two CD set that starts with Janis' very first song "Hair of Spun Gold" that she wrote at the age of 10, up to her recent songs like "Joy" and "My Autobiography". All of Janis' smash hits are present: "At Seventeen" long and short versions, "Jesse" and disco surprise "Fly Too High". If that isn't enough, this album has three rare cuts: "Ginny the Flying Girl", "Today, You're Mine" and another, beautiful, previously unreleased ballad "I Long For You". Many of the selections are different takes from the regular album issue. A good example is the stunning "His Hands". Read the Janis' 2008 autobiography to find out what that song's about. It's very nice to see Janis working with Sony in the U.S. again after all these years. If you're a fan like me, make sure you add this wonderful CD set to your collection. If not, acquaint yourself with Janis now, this title is a great place to start.
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When I was in middle school and highschool between the years of 1991 and 1997 -while all the other boys were listenting to Dog Pound Gangers, Biggy Smalls, Tupac and LL Cool J -I was listening to Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian sing about what I guess they thought only teenage girls and women went thru. There were a few odd teenage boys who knew exactly what Janis Ian was talking about; in my case being a boy who liked the boys that liked the girls. Janis Ian spoke to me. I guess you would have to have been an outcast to really appreciate an artist like Ian, my mother was a cheerleader in highschool, she went to two proms, three gradnites and God knows how many parties in between. I ran across her highschool year book, there was not a single page that didnt have signatures on it, in a nutshell my mother was VERY popular in Highschool and she has no idea who Janis Ian is.
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Format: Audio CD
This two cd collection has something for everyone. It's a great choice for the person new to Janis' music as it spans her entire career from age 10 with "Hair of Spun Gold" to her 50's with "Joy" and "My Autobiography" And for the collector of Janis Ian's albums/cds, this set has the never before published song, and my favorite, "I Long for You." It even has something for the child in your family or the kid in all of us, "Ginny the Flying Girl"! If you're like me and love to know the story behind the titles like, "God and the FBI, or "Tattoo," a great accompaniment to "The Essential Janis Ian", is her revealing book "My Autobiography: Society's Child." Check out Janis' tour schedule on her website,[...]and find a show near you. I know Janis would be thrilled to sign your cd and/or book!
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There is something magic about Janis Ian's songs. Most of us know one or two, often 'At Seventeen' or 'Society's Child', but the sheer number of top quality songs that this lady has written in a career that began seemingly in the nursery is staggering. This two CD set is the definitive introduction to a truly inspirational songwriter who can bring tears to your eyes or a smile to your lips (sometimes in the same song) and say something fresh and important every time she puts pen to paper. As well as her songwriting talent she is also a first class singer, guitarist and pianist, by far the best interpreter of her own songs, as well as a very fine writer (see her autobiography 'Society's Child'). In Janis we have a true multi-talented Renaissance woman, and such a lovely person as well. It's enough to give you back your faith in real talent, unsullied by music industry hype. This is the genuine article, beware of cheap imitations. You have an enormous treat in store if you aren't familiar with her less mainstream work. Janis is still a prolific writer and performer of songs and the work she is doing now is just as poignant and powerful as it ever was. The woman herself is as ageless as her music. Buy the two CDs, you won't regret it!
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I remember the first time I heard Society's Child when I was in High School. I couldn't believe that someone a couple of years younger than me could write such a poignant song and perform it as well. The song gave me chills then and I still tear up when I hear it today. The beauty of this album is that it shows some of the depth of this artist. Janis is a remarkable singer-songwriter who truly has something to say. I don't know the body of her work well enough to know what tracks might be missing. What's included on this disc is wonderful. These discs make me want more of Janis. This recording is excellent and too affordable to pass up. You need this!
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Although this is a fine compilation covering the chronology of Janis Ian's recordings, I recommend that those new to her work listen first to "Between the Lines." In my opinion, that album contains some of her most powerful songwriting/singing, and only one of its songs ("At Seventeen") is included here.
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I guess I was a little young to have caught Janis Ian during her really famous success. I discovered "At Seventeen" - Actually, crossword puzzles clues would often ask who the "At Seventeen" singer was. I finally looked up her recordings and was hooked. She was way before her time ("Society's Child"). A great CD.
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