Pearl: Legacy Edition

Thanks to movies like The Rose and, okay, to JANIS JOPLIN herself, the Port Arthur native is remembered as a drug-addled mess. But as one of the great white blues singers of her generation, Joplin left significant work behind. What’s illuminating about PEARL: LEGACY EDITION (Columbia/Legacy) are the demos and live tracks (some previously unreleased) that augment this two-CD reissue of her 1971 classic. They display a singer with her demons largely behind her, controlling her voice with newfound maturity and clarity. Even moments like the wordless sing-along to “Me and Bobby McGee” seem meticulously thought out, while her live performances are physical triumphs. Had she not succumbed, during the last phases of recording, to boredom and, subsequently, bad heroin, Pearl could have marked a career milestone instead of a poignant finale.

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