- Boasting superb Double Plus (A++) grades from top to bottom, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good as this original 360 Stereo pressing
- This copy has the ideal combination of openness and transparency balanced with the richness and solidity of vintage analog
- When Janis starts singing, watch out – her voice positively jumps out of the speakers, something we didn’t hear her do on many of the other copies in our shootout
- Features “Try,” one of Janis’s All Time Classics – and with these grades you can be sure it sounds positively amazing here
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
This Columbia 360 Stereo pressing is the cure for Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues!
Drop the needle on the great song “Try” and just listen to how crisp, punchy, and big the drums sound. The bottom end has real weight and the top end is silky and extended. The overall sound is rich, full, and smooth.
Energy is the key element missing from the average copy, but not on this bad boy (or girl, if you prefer). The electric guitars are super Tubey Magical and the bass is solid and punchy.
On many copies — too many copies — the vocals are pinched and edgy. Here they’re breathy and full — a much better way for Janis to sound. There’s a slight amount of grit to the vocals at times and the brass as well, but the life force on these sides is so strong that we much preferred it to the smoother, duller, deader copies we heard that didn’t have that issue.
On copy after copy we heard pinched, squawky horns and harsh vocals; not a good sound for this album. Janis’s voice needs lots of space up top to get good and loud, and both of these sides have it in spades.
Few other copies had this combination of openness and transparency on the one hand, and full, rich tonality on the other.
What The Best Sides Of I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For On I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this album Janis’s Masterpiece. It’s a recording that belongs in any serious Rock Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
One Good Man
As Good as You’ve Been to This World
To Love Somebody
Little Girl Blue
Work Me, Lord
Fronting the short-lived Kozmic Blues Band, the arrangements are horn heavy and the material soulful and bluesy… “Try” is one of her best soul outings, and the reading of Rodgers & Hart’s “Little Girl Blue” is inspired.
5 Star Amazon Review
Janis Joplin was REAL, a true rock star. Probably too real for this phony world. In addition, she was an artist, with edges unsmoothed, which is one of the things that made her so real. On this, her first solo album, she works in various styles, with songs from diverse sources, and gives us a sampling of the talent she had, and could have developed further, if circumstances had been different.
“Try” starts off simmering, then moves continually forward & upward in intensity, and ends by rocking like nobody’s business. “Maybe” is a basic torch song, and Janis and her band give it the good soul treatment. “One Good Man” is late night blues, with some blistering guitar licks. “As Good As You’ve Been To This World” continues in the same “juke joint” music vein, and it bears a message: “It’s gonna come right back to you, babe.” “To Love Somebody” is the best version of this song that I have ever heard, including the BeeGees original. “Little Girl Blue” is a standard written by the very show-biz team of Rodgers and Hart; but, complete with strings, an amazing vocal by Janis and a busy, alternate melody played on guitar, it is probably the most beautiful track she ever recorded. At the other end of the spectrum are 2 very somber tracks, “Kozmic Blues” and “Work Me, Lord”. On these Janis explores some of those unavoidable and insoluble problems that we all face – time’s inevitable march, loneliness, despair, the search for meaning in life and for a feeling of self-worth.
We’ve been mourning the loss of Janis since her death in 1970. She seems to be irreplaceable. Other female artists (Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, Joss Stone, Duffy) have talents similar to those of Janis, and have made good names for themselves in the world of pop-rock music; but none personifies an era the way Janis did, and still does.
-Steven Haarala, Amazon Reviewer