Handy two-CD career retrospective of ill-starred singer who happened in Monterey
Kicking off a year-long celebration of the doomed, hard-drinking rock’n’blues Port Arthur girl, this double pack chimes with a birthday celebration (she would have been 60 in January) which will see hordes of unreleased vault material. Mixing studio and stage favourites, including a remixed “Mercedes-Benz”, Essential confirms Joplin’s debt to the school of Bessie Smith and her love for a standard. “Summertime”, the excellent “Me And Bobby McGee” and “Piece Of My Heart” still stand up/out, although the Janis wow factor has diminished over time. One for the Bay Area fanatic, perhaps.