Monday, 15 September 2008

Janis Joplin "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmik Blues Again, Mama!" (1969) (News, Views and Music 4)

Please visit for a longer and more detailed version of this review - the old copy of which is left here for arcjhval purposes!

An Old Favourite I’m Currently Grooving To:  I’ve known 7/8ths of it from various compilations for years, but I’ve finally got the whole of Janis Joplin’s lengthy titled third album ‘I Got ‘Dem Old Kozmik Blues Again Mama’ on CD. And very fabulous it is too—more polished than her ‘big brother and the holding company’ records but less polished than the rather sanitised posthumous album ‘Pearl’ (which everyone seems to love but for some reason is the only one of Janis’ short catalogue to leave me cold). I defy anybody not to get a chill when listening to the second side (in LP terms) all in one go, an emotional experience only recently rivaled by CSNY getting together again. Most loved moment: classic closer ‘Work Me Lord’, a recording that rivals only ‘Ball and Chain’ as being Janis’ most devestating and heartbreaking vocal, three parts isolation to one part despair and packed with an awful lot of genuine sounding heart-ache. The  short-lived Kozmik Blues band also show their potential best on this track, with the switch in keys from major to minor halfway through just when everything’s looking rosy again a classy bit of arrangement. Give that group a cigar! (or a mercedes benz, anyway).  Look out for the extended director’s cut version of the Woodstock film for an equally classy live version of this little-known song. Most reviled moment: nothing is bad, but Janis doesn’t kick in till a good halfway through the album’s most obscure track ’As Good As You’ve Been To This World’ and the Kozmik Blues Band are still a couple of bluesnotes away from gelling completely. Score / 10: ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫ (8/10)

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