Janis herself has never sounded better on record, but it took me four full listenings to the LP before I could hear her. That's how bad her band is. When (and if) you get hold of this record, my suggestion is that you listen really hard to how awful the backup is — everything from the arrangements to the level of musicianship. Those sons of bitches can't do anything really right. The only answer is to get super-familiar with what they're doing so you can ignore it. And then dig Janis. They can't be that bad, you say? On "Try," they stutter along like Stax rejects, thudding out a 16-to-the-bar quick-step so metronomic it defies you to pat your foot, let alone get up and dance. Janice sounds great, but — "One Good Man" contains perhaps the only instrumental blessing on the whole record, wherein Sam Andrew plays a tolerable bottleneck introduction and obbligato to Janis' vocal. At least the rest of the band is relaxed on this track, even if they add nothing. (Disconcerting reminders of Canned Heat intrude late in the arrangement, however.) "As Good As You've Been To This World" finds the band back in their accustomed… Read full this story
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