I love this album. Awful short (just over a half hour, I believe, unless you've got the new version with bonus tracks), but full of emotion. Sam Andrew provides some of my favorite guitar ever--sloppy, but making up for it with enthusiasm and wonderful distortion. The rest of the band plays in kind. Joplin, of course, is the star. Even when she doesn't take lead vocals (a couple of the tracks), she steals the show from the background, but in a good way. My favorites are "I Need A Man To Love" (forget Carole King, Janis makes me feel like a natural woman with this track, and I'm a guy
), the top 40 hit "Piece of My Heart" (just drenched with emotion, from the guitar to the vocals), the Gershwin tune "Summertime" (with a very nice guitar arrangement and an unusual airy, far away vocal approach from Janis, which nevertheless works just as well as her screaming), "Turtle Blues" (a Joplin original, with a unique and heartfelt blues theme, just a piano, acoustic guitar, and "vibes" from Barney's Beanery as backing, and the sound of a bottle breaking at just the perfect moment to end the guitar solo in the middle), and the Big Mama Thornton cover "Ball and Chain", which is great. Just slow, heavy blues. Starts off with a beginning of a riff from the guitar, and after an almost too-long pause, it just explodes. Backed by only bass and drums during the verses, Joplin is quiet but fierce, and pulls out all the stops during the choruses just as the backing does.
Overall, excellent. Forget about her later wussy solo stuff ;). This is where it's at.