Rolling Stone (1/23/03, p.68) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This two-disc thirty track anthology gets the balance right..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/03, pp.122-3) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...When she sang it straight she was worthy of her lineage, possessing all the dignity of Irma, Aretha, Etta and all the other heroines..."
Personnel includes: Janis Joplin (vocals); Big Brother & The Holding Company.
Producers include: Paul Rothchild, Gabriel Mekler, John Simon, Bob Shad, Lou Adler.
Compilation producer: Bob Irwin.
Includes liner notes by Holly George-Warren.
This two-disc set breaks from the usual pattern of Legacy's ESSENTIAL series by presenting a large number of concert performances, in this case, focusing more Janis Joplin's tremendous power as a live vocalist than her comparatively sedate studio appearances. Other than a handful of tracks (the immortal "Down on Me" from BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY, three from CHEAP THRILLS, and others), the entirety of the first disc consists of live recordings. These include two previously unreleased tunes ("Kozmic Blues" and the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody," a la Wilson Pickett) from Joplin's solo debut at Woodstock. The second disc contains more live tracks, plus the best tunes from Joplin's two solo albums and the various outtakes that were released after her death (like the scorching performance of "Tell Mama" that was previously available only as a bonus track on PEARL), providing a well-rounded overview of Joplin's brief career.