Title - 'The Pearl Sessions: Expanded Edition'
Artist - Janis Joplin
The Pearl Sessions, based off of the incredible album in its own right Pearl, has finally been remastered and expanded by Legacy Recordings. Sure there was the 2CD Pearl: Legacy Edition that came out in June of 2005, but this contains, for the first time ever, a collection of never-before-heard studio outtakes, live recordings, and other rarities.
Janis Joplin was just 27 years old when she died in October of 1970. She had put together a band, Full Tilt Boogie, which would dispense with the endless jams and showcase her voice and her talent in a way that wasn't done by Big Brother. In the midst of recording Pearl with her vocals tracks for 'Buried Alive in the Blues' scheduled to be recorded the day after her death, instead 'Buried Alive in the Blues' continues to rest on the album as an instrumental filler; a lonely commentary of her life, sadly.
And so, released in 1971 after her death, Pearl was a truly extraordinary album which displayed a range and emotion which Janis' voice was more than capable of reaching. In truth, it was obviously meant as a bridge to better things instead of the lasting musical landmark that it is. Janis' voice stretches from gentle and tender in a 'Woman Left Lonely' to pained and sorrowful in 'Cry Baby' to amused in 'Mercedes Benz.
And so The Pearl Sessions documents the legacy of Janis Joplin's masterpiece album. In 1971, the noted posthumous release of Pearl topped the charts, yielding the hit single 'Me and Bobby McGee' and going on to sell nearly 8 million copies.
A feew of this album's highlights, for me if nobody else, include the funky beats of the John and Johanna Hall song 'Half Moon,' her commanding, three-dimensional, highly textured vocal bounce across the delightful melodies on both 'Move Over' and 'Cry Baby,' and and seemingly induced dulcet psychedelic trance for 'Half Moon.'
Note: The 24-page booklet has liner notes by Holly George-Warren that discuss the forming of her backing band Full Tilt and the myriad of great writers used for the songs on the album (of the ten tracks only 'Move Over' and 'Mercedes Benz' are her own compositions). The text is peppered with new photos of Janis and her band live on stage, a snap of her laughing with Kris Kristofferson, reproductions of trade adverts and master tape boxes - and a great outtake of the iconic front cover artwork where she's reclining on her favorite chez lounge.