Numbered, limited edition 180-gram 45 RPM double LP
1968 smash a potent mix of psychedelia, blues, folk, and rock: Janis Joplin delivers powerhouse vocal performance on major-label debut
Mobile Fidelity reissues tout enhanced spaciousness, punchiness, pacing, dynamics, and texture: Cheap Thrills sounds as close to live as music gets
Ranked No. 338 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List: Big Brother and Joplin convey fearlessness, toughness, and synergy on every note
In many ways, Big Brother and the Holding Company's Cheap Thrills is the quintessential album to spring from the outcome of the Summer of Love. Best known as Janis Joplin's major-label debut, the 1968 set arrived when the countercultural movement was in full swing and before co-optation, drugs, and violence signaled the fall of the era. Ranked No. 338 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it puts a female singer in the prominent position traditionally given to a male and showcases a band pouring a potent cocktail of fiery psychedelic, blues, and folk sounds that informed the unfettered creativity of the San Francisco scene. Produced by John Simon, Cheap Thrills also features one of the most iconic and elaborate album covers in history. Now, thanks to Mobile Fidelity, the instantly identifiable effort also possesses sonics equivalent to its visual and musical status.
Cut at 45 RPM and pressed on dead-quiet vinyl at RTI, the iconic audiophile label's analog reissue intensifies the quintet's storied sophomore effort. Due to the wider grooves, this pressing benefits from increased spaciousness, punchiness, energy, pacing, and dynamics. Joplin's hurricane-force singing reverberates with texture, grittiness, and volume. An arresting array of instrumental colors and tones comes on with clearer separation and depth. While previous pressings find the band and Joplin's voice in competition with one another for room, both emerge as distinct entities. Always noted for its rawness, Cheap Thrills sounds as close to live as it gets, an unadulterated portrait of nervy rock n' roll delivered with exuberant enthusiasm and all-out determination. This is music at is most visceral.