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Janis Joplin: Janis: Little Girl Blue [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Album Notes

As a soundtrack to the documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, this 2016 album does its job, providing an aural biography to complement the visual one. The 17 tracks are sequenced chronologically -- the exception being the title track, pulled from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! and functioning as a coda here -- so it's possible to hear her raw talent evolve from an early performance of "Careless Love" to a heavy dose of Big Brother & the Holding Company and on to her solo work. Although Big Brother's "Down on Me" and her lone Top 10 hit "Me and Bobby McGee" are here in their familiar studio versions, this soundtrack is populated by live tracks, many pulled from expanded reissues, so this functions almost as an alternate history: it tells the story through versions that aren't readily familiar. Also, these versions seem somewhat more rare than they actually are -- any dedicated Janis fan likely has all of the cuts here somewhere in their collection -- which speaks to how thoroughly the vaults have been combed. That said, this does a good job of rounding up some of the best rarities and presenting them in a fashion that's appealing to a broader audience. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine



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