Big Brother And The Holding Company
Cheap Thrills


4.0
excellent

Review

by neekafat CONTRIBUTOR (55 Reviews)
October 1st, 2017 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Four gentleman and one great, great, girl; Big Brother and the Holding Company!”

When Cheap Thrills was released nearly 50 years ago, it’s easy to see why people thought it was a live album. Not only does the production mimic the raw energy of a live performance, but producer John Simon incorporated crowd noise to several tracks on the album.

To this day, the album has left an indelible impression on psychedelic and heavy music, and yet it seems to have been left on the backburner of many peoples’ minds. On one hand, it’s easy to see why Cheap Thrills was so successful and continues to be acclaimed by critics to this day, but on the other it’s understandable that it hasn’t been reviewed on this site until now.

For one, the album does admittedly sound dated. For all it’s arresting musicianship and vocals, many tracks, especially “I Need a Man to Love,” feature nothing that modern listeners haven’t heard before and better since its release. Joplin’s vocals are equally at fault at times as well. Her voice is an incredibly versatile one, but it can also be grating at times. It’s not nearly as polished and just plain deadly as it is on her later solo work, such as Pearl.

But while these are admittedly detractions from the quality of the work, its important to understand that they aren’t overbearing. Aside from the one song that I mentioned (which is no more than a weak link), the faults are only noticeable in small instances throughout the album.

In fact, the album is ridiculously consistent overall. With only seven tracks, there’s absolutely no room for filler, and the album benefits greatly from it. It feels no shorter than it was meant to be, or should be, and there’s no sense of constriction or lack of creativity evident due to its short runtime.

Take for example “Turtle Blues.” For all we know, they just plopped Joplin down in front of a piano at an old-timey saloon and she started playing the blues. There’s an occasional murmur of background conversation and the eventual hush and appraisal of the crowd as their attention turns towards her. It’s just plain cool, and far more interesting than a straightforward studio cut would’ve been.

“Summertime” and “Piece of My Heart” also benefit from thinking outside of the box. Refusing to lean on any one side of the sonic spectrum, each flies about from sound to sound without care. This was a time unworried about labelling noises and trying to stick with one, and a time where the audience didn’t give a damn what they were listening to, as long as it was good. It’s no wonder that they still play “Piece of My Heart” on the radio today; it’s timely appeal remains timeless even now.

The more times my ears are graced by the album, the deeper I fall in love. By the third listen, I was captivated by “Oh, Sweet Mary” when at first I was skeptical. And as far as “Ball and Chain” is concerned, well… why waste words when if you take one thing from this review, you’ll go and give it a listen yourself" In fact, go do yourself a favor and give the entirety of Cheap Thrills a spin.

You can thank me later.



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user ratings (153)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now you guys can focus on tearing apart my review instead of my competition

MrSirLordGentleman
October 1st 2017


12435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Was planning to review this. It is ridiculous that it didn't have one



Great job bro!

Divaman
October 1st 2017


3601 Comments


Wow, I'd have never guessed this didn't have a review. Good one, neeka.

Digging: The Cranberries - In the End

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys!

I'd still love to see what you have to say about it MrSir!

MrSirLordGentleman
October 1st 2017


12435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Uni won't give me a break lol



That's why I haven't reviewed a single thing in such a long time

SuperMatt
October 1st 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't believe no one had reviewed this yet. Pretty nice review too!

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I here you man, that's why it's been a while since my last review!

Me neither and I was checking it out so I figure out why not? Thanks dude!

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


11677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to see this one reviewed even though I'm more of a fan of her solo work. Nice review too, pos.

Digging: Flame, Dear Flame - The Millenial Heartbeat

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same here man, Pearl is jesus, have yet to check out Kozmic Blues yet!

butcherboy
October 1st 2017


9464 Comments


yes, neeka! this is the good stuff.. great job, have your nemesis pos, damn you

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha that's when I know it really means something! Thankya butch you horrible person (:

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2017


2879 Comments


Killer review, Neeka! There are a few small bits of expression that could be cleaned up a little, I'll point them out to you a bit later if you'd like. But overall, this is amazing, and although this doesn't sound like my kind of thing I'm super interested now.

Digging: Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2017


15525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks so much Blush! And I always appreciate feedback if you have it!



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