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Released - August 1968, Columbia Records. Produced by Elliot Mazer, Bob Irwin, John Simon

Janis Joplin - Lead & Backing Vocals
Sam Andrew - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Bass Guitar,Vocals
Peter Albin - Bass Guitar, Guitar, Backing Vocals
James Gurley - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
David Getz - Drums, Piano

SONG (written by) RATING
Combination Of The Two (Andrew)     7.0
I Need A Man To Love (Joplin/Andrew)     7.4
Summertime (Heyward/Gershwin)   10.0
Piece Of My Heart (Ragovoy/Berns)   10.0
Turtle Blues (Joplin)   10.0
Oh, Sweet Mary (Joplin)     6.3
Ball And Chain (Thornton)   10.0
Ave.   8.67


Big Brother & the Holding Company's second album and a masterpiece thanks to Janis Joplin. Joplin's vocals are soaring all over this album. You can't make any better a song than "Piece Of My Heart," with acid rock guitar riffs filled with the heavy metal - blues vocals of Joplin. Most people were knocked off their feet the first time they heard this in 1968, nobody ever really heard a white woman sign that way before. There's more great songs here, "Summertime,"  with Joplin's strong emotional vocal and the live cut "Ball And Chain," which closes out the album. Recorded at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, Joplin's tear 'em up blues vocal cannot be topped. Yet there is another wonderful blues number found here, the night club like, piano driven, "Turtle Blues". But again, it's Joplin's vocal that brings it home.

No question that Big Brother & the Holding Company was a great guitar band, but this album is carried by Joplin. Just listen to the album's opener, "Combination Of The Two". The lead vocal on this song is sung by Sam Andrew, but as soon as Joplin's powerful vocal harmony kicks in the song just takes off in a different direction.

Some mistakenly call this Big Brother & the Holding Company debut album, but it isn't. Their first self titled album was released in '67 on Mainstream Records. Cheap Thrills was their first major-label release, which is not quite the same as a debut.

- Keno 2000

To listen to some soundclips from Cheap Thrills or to purchase it click on: Cheap Thrills

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