Janis Joplin – I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969)

LPFrontCover1I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! is a 1969 studio album by Janis Joplin. It was the first solo studio album Joplin recorded after leaving her former band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the only one released in her lifetime (Pearl was released 3 months after Joplin’s death).I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! is a 1969 studio album by Janis Joplin. It was the first solo studio album Joplin recorded after leaving her former band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the only one released in her lifetime (Pearl was released 3 months after Joplin’s death).

Recording began on June 16, 1969 in New York City and ceased on June 26. For the album, Joplin recruited guitarist Sam Andrew of the Holding Company to take part in development, along with the Kozmic Blues band. Joplin installed a brass and horn section into the tracks, a feature her previous band would not allow. It was a total contrast to Joplin’s previous psychedelic rock as the compositions chosen were more soul Janis Joplinand blues driven. All but two tracks were cover versions that producer Gabriel Mekler and Joplin chose. The other two tracks, “One Good Man” and “Kozmic Blues”, were written by Joplin herself. Overall, the album was a more polished work, but with the lack prominent accompanists like the Holding Company, the album was not as successful as Cheap Thrills.

The LP was released on September 11, 1969 and reached gold record status within two months of its release.[5] It was issued by Columbia under #KCS 9913. The first pressing was titled only on the spine and disc labels. Later, the title of the album was added as a sticker designed by R. Crumb and stuck to the shrink wrap. The album was re-released by Columbia as WKPC 9913 and again as PC 9913 both on vinyl. The re-issued album did not have the same title sticker, instead the re-issues had the title printed on the cover and the Sony’s “Nice Price” sticker on the shrink wrap. Some of the newer PC 9913 have a bar code. A 180 Gram Limited Edition classic LP high-definition Virgin Heavy Vinyl pressing was also released in 2010. Technically, this album was reissued on vinyl a total of six times. Many collectors are mistaken in thinking the issue that included the R. Crumb sticker was the original issue; it was not. The hard-to-find original sealed issue is KCS 9913, which had no R. Crumb sticker, and the title was only on the spine of the cover. Columbia Records released as a single Kozmic Blues b/w Little Girl Blue 4-45023. The single peaked at #41 on the US Billboard charts.

I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! also contains the hits “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)”, “Kozmic Blues” and “To Love Somebody”. The CD reissue of the album includes the outtake cover of Bob Dylan’s “Dear Landlord”, with new lyrics and arrangements provided by Joplin, and versions of “Summertime” and “Piece of My Heart” recorded live at Woodstock as bonus tracks.

John Burks of Rolling Stone wrote in a November 1, 1969 interview praising Joplin’s vocal performance. However, he notes that her vocals are hindered by her backup band’s instrumental role in the album. Overall, Burks was satisfied with Joplin’s change in musical direction, but recommends “reaching the point where you are able to shut out the band”.

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Janis Joplin’s solo debut was a letdown at the time of release, suffering in comparison with Big Brother’s Cheap Thrills from the previous year, and shifting her style toward soul-rock in a way that disappointed some fans. Removed from that context, it sounds better today, though it’s still flawed. Fronting the short-lived Kozmic Blues Band, the arrangements are horn heavy and the material soulful and bluesy. The band sounds a little stiff and although Joplin’s singing is good, she would sound more electrifying on various live versions of some of the songs. The shortage of quality original compositions — indeed, there are only eight tracks total on the album — didn’t help either, and the cover selections were erratic, particularly the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody.” On the other hand, “Try” is one of her best soul outings, and the reading of Rodgers & Hart’s “Little Girl Blue” is inspired. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Sam Andrew (guitar, vocals)
Maury Baker (drums)
Brad Campbell (bass)
Lonnie Castille (drums)
Terry Clements (saxophone)
Jerry Edmonton (drums; uncredited)
Cornelius Flowers (saxophone)
Luis Gasca (trumpet)
Janis Joplin (vocals, guitar)
Richard Kermode (keyboards)
Goldy McJohn keyboards; uncredited)
Gabriel Mekler (keyboards)
Michael Monarch (guitar; uncredited)
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Mike Bloomfield – guitar on 02., 03. ´08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) (Ragovoy/Taylor) 3.57
02. Maybe (Barrett) 3.41
03. One Good Man (Joplin) 4.12
04. As Good As You’ve Been To This World (Gravenites) 5.27
05. To Love Somebody (B.Gibb/R.Gibb) 5.14
06. Kozmic Blues (Joplin/Mekler) 4.24
07. Little Girl Blue (Hart/Rodgers) 3.51
08. Work Me, Lord (Gravenites) 6.45
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09. Dear Landlord (Session outtake) (Dylan/Joplin) Joplin 2.32
10. Summertime (Live at Woodstock) (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 5.04
11. Piece Of My Heart (Live at Woodstock) (Ragovoy/Berns) 6.31

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Big Brother & The Holding Company – Same (1967)

2ndFrontCover1The debut, self-titled album from Big Brother & the Holding Company is an evolving paradigm, ten tracks initially issued on Mainstream Records, a label that would have success in 1968 with “Journey to the Center of the Mind” by Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes. Unfortunately for Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company, the respectable performances and all of the material on this disc are undercut by a weak production that sounds rushed. Recorded on December 12, 13, and 14 of 1966, it’s quite telling that perhaps the best two songs from the sessions, Peter Albin’s tribal-sounding “Coo Coo,” and Janis Joplin’s fiery “The Last Time,” were only available on a 45 RPM and played as treats on FM radio “rare tape” nights. Those two songs have an intensity and drama missing from laid-back album cuts like “Easy Rider” and “Intruder.” Big Brother’s strength sans Janis was their ability to experiment and rely heavily on ideas to make up for their lack of musical prowess. Sad to say, there is little of that experimentation here. Even a potential science fiction Peter Albin composition, “Light Is Faster Than Sound,” comes off like an audition tape instead of the hit it could have been had it the cosmic explosion of a “Journey to the Center of the Mind.” The album does contain interesting studies of future classics, like Moondog’s “All Is Loneliness” (the street poet eventually signing with Columbia himself), and Joplin’s creative arrangement of “Down on Me,” making it more of an entertaining textbook than a deep musical experience.

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It was the lack of product from superstar Janis Joplin which kept putting an emphasis on this release with little else available to satisfy rabid fans who couldn’t get enough Janis. Columbia picked up the album and re-issued it in its original form, then reissued it again with “The Last Time” and “Coo Coo” added. In 1999, former Cars’ manager Steve Berkowitz coordinated a superb 14-track re-release with invaluable Sam Andrew liner notes and an eight-page booklet, alternate takes of “Call on Me” and “Bye, Bye Baby” opening up the vaults and giving more insight. Almost four decades after their release, these naive recordings remain a precious snapshot because of the spirit and enthusiasm of the superstar just emerging from the grooves. (by Joe Viglione)

And this was the start of the short but great career of Janis Joplin … one of the best female singers in the rock history !!

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Personnel:
Sam Andrew (guitar)
Peter Albin (bass)
David Getz (drums)
James Gurley (guitar)
Janis Joplin (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Bye, Bye Baby (John) 2.40
02. Easy Rider (Gurley) 2.26
03. Intruder (Joplin) 2.30
04. Light Is Faster Than Sound (Albin) 2.33
05. Call On Me (Andrew) 2.35
06. Women Is Losers (Joplin) 2.06
07. Blindman (Getz/Gurley/Joplin/Albin/Andrew) 2.26
08. Down On Me (Traditional) 2.07
09. Caterpillar (Albin) 2.21
10. All Is Loneliness (Moondog) 2.32
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11. Coo Coo (Single) (Albin) 1.59
12. The Last Time (Single) (Joplin) 2.17
13. Call On Me (alternate take) (Andrew) 2.42
14. Bye, Bye Baby (alternate take) (John) 2.39

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