Back when I was in Junior High School I’d hang with my best friend Chris at his house where his parents had several vinyl records, some of which included The Beatles, The Stones, and Janis Joplin. The first time we tried to listen to a Janis Joplin album I knew right off the bat that I didn’t much care for her singing. It’s been that way ever since. As of this past month I reviewed one of her earlier performances with The Big Brother Holding Company, which did nothing to sway my opinion, and now The Pearl Sessions, which is actually pretty good.
The album is a two disc release containing the original Pearl album with some extra’s slapped onto the back end of it which include Mono versions of some songs, as well as a bonus disc which contains never before released studio outtakes and alternate versions of Pearl songs. Fans looking to add to their collection of Joplin material should be quick to rush to this album, the last recorded studio album of the singer who died prior to its release.
For not being a fan I was pretty impressed. Joplin sounds as if someone had really come along and helped her focus her singing talents, mainly producer Paul A. Rothchild, and the great jam influence of her backing band Full Tilt Boogie aided in making the album sound great. There were a few tracks on the album that I didn’t really care for but obviously with this being a reissue it is what it is. The second disc was interesting. Lots of chatter in the studio and some of the alternate takes give you a rawer sound that may or may not have sounded better then the final cut. All in all a very nice presentation of the album for loyal fans and new listeners.