AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Mobile Fidelity - MFSL 2-453 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Numbered Limited Edition - 45RPM - Pressed at RTI
Mastered by Kreig Wunderlich from the Original MasterTape at MFSL
Half Speed Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
Mobile Fidelity has been on a roll for some time, releasing masterworks from the coveted Columbia vaults from the likes of Miles Davis and Bob Dylan. Its track record remains unbroken, as the sound of these Janis Joplin reissues is outstanding. MoFi release, as I think it adds dimension without the phony soundstage. And Pearl sounds better still - The Audio Beat
Cheap Thrills, the major-label debut of Janis Joplin, was one of the most eagerly anticipated, and one of the most successful, albums of 1968. Joplin and her band Big Brother & the Holding Company had earned extensive press notice ever since they played the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, but for a year after that their only recorded work was a poorly produced, self-titled album that they'd done early in their history for Mainstream Records; and it took the band and the best legal minds at Columbia Records seven months to extricate them from their Mainstream contract, so that they could sign with Columbia.
All the while, demand continued to build, and they still faced the problem of actually delivering something worthy of the press they'd been getting -- Columbia even tried to record them live on-stage on the tour they were in the midst of when the new contract was signed, but somehow the concert tapes from early March of 1968 didn't capture the full depth of their work.
So they spent March, April, and May in the studio with producer John Simon and, miraculously, emerged with something that was as exciting as anything they'd done on-stage. When Cheap Thrills appeared in August 1968 -- sporting a Robert Crumb cover on its gatefold jacket that constituted the most elaborate album design ever lavished on a rock album from Columbia Records, as well as a pop-art classic rivaling the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's jacket -- it shot into the charts, reaching number one and going gold within a couple of months, and "Piece of My Heart" became a Top 40 hit and helped to propel the LP to over a million sales. Joplin, with her ear- (and vocal cord-) shredding voice, was the obvious standout. Nobody had ever heard singing as emotional, as desperate, as determined, or as loud as Joplin's, and Cheap Thrills was her greatest moment. Not that everything was done full out -- there were relatively quiet moments on the album that were as compelling as the high-wattage showcases;
Her rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime" was the finest rock reinterpretation of a standard done by anybody up to that time (though, in an incident recalled in his autobiography Clive, when Columbia Records president Clive Davis played it to Richard Rodgers to give him an example of some of the sounds that younger audiences of the late '60s were listening to, the 66-year-old Rodgers stomped out of the Columbia corporate offices in fury, vowing never to write another song); and Joplin's own "Turtle Blues" showed that she and the band could turn down and do credible acoustic blues, in something like an authentic period Bessie Smith (or, more properly, Memphis Minnie) sound. Big Brother's backup, typical of the guitar-dominated sound of San Francisco psychedelia, made up in enthusiasm what it lacked in precision. But everybody knew who the real star was, and Joplin played her last gig with Big Brother while the album was still on top of the charts. Neither she nor the band would ever equal it. Heard today, Cheap Thrills is a musical time capsule and remains a showcase for one of rock's most distinctive singers.
Quintessential 1968 Record a Potent Mix of Psychedelia, Blues, Folk, and Rock: Janis Joplin Delivers Cathartic Vocal Performance on Major-Label Debut That Includes Powerhouse "Piece of My Heart"
Mobile Fidelity 45RPM Vinyl Pressing Touts Superb Spaciousness, Punchiness, Dynamics, and Texture: Cheap Thrills Sounds As Close to Live as Music Gets and Features Robert Crumb Artwork
Ranked #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 facets, 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 #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 45RPM 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.
Having drawn national attention for their legendary performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, Big Brother and Joplin faced huge expectations to deliver a studio set that would convey their onstage vibrancy and potency. Cheap Thrills does this and more, becoming one of 1968's most commercially successful releases that remained on the charts the week Joplin announced her separation from the ensemble. Contrary to popular belief, only one of the album's songs, "Ball and Chain," was recorded live. Everything else owes to the unhinged, spirit-elevating performances and true collaboration between vocalist and band that manifests itself throughout the record's 37-minute-plus running time. Merging biker-babe ruggedness with wounded-bird poignancy, Joplin's expressive belting, mega-watt moaning, and sensitive crooning take center stage. Yet her bandmates match every step with explosive rhythms, heavy guitar-driven blues, and assertive solos that take inspiration from free-form jazz.
Indeed, Cheap Thrills still exhilarates not only due to Joplin's almighty singing but because of boundary-shredding arrangements that reflect the period's anything-is-possible mindset. More so than any other musicians Joplin encountered, the members of Big Brother pushed limits on convention via soirees into acid-dipped psychedelia and its orbiting sonic galaxies. Together, they aim and achieve an aural mythos that makes a permanent connection between artist and audience by way of eliminating traditional divisions. Such communal power is evident on the mind-bending version of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" and insistent, sinewy "I Need a Man to Love." It's also obvious during quieter moments, whether the tripped-out, twisted, and curvaceous contours of George and Ira Gershwin's "Summertime" or restrained, throwback acoustic blues of "Turtle Blues."
Yes, Joplin presents – and rallies against – loneliness and desperation in a cathartic language few had heard before or since. What's even more significant is the fearlessness, toughness, synergy, and sexual danger pulsing through every song, including the take-on-all-comers challenge "Piece of My Heart," which the collective attacks with career-making ferocity. Like Robert Crumb's daring pop-art illustrations that grace the cover, they simultaneously lure and dare the listener to enter a space where outsiders run free and where outlaws are heard above the mainstream din.
Janis Joplin, vocals
Peter Albin, bass
Dave Getz, drums, piano
James Gurley, bass
Sam Andrew, bass, vocals
Big Brother and the Holding Co. Cheap Thrills Track Listing:
1. Combination of the Two
2. I Need a Man to Love
4. Piece of My Heart
5. Turtle Blues
6. Oh, Sweet Mary
7. Ball and Chain
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of MFSL’s founding fathers – Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL’s most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customized reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, we only utilize first generation original master recordings as source material for our releases. We then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master’s sonic information. Our lacquers are then plated in a specialized process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). We further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors’ items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
As you can imagine, all these efforts involve a tremendous amount of time, technology, cost and effort. The introduction of GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ maintains Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s position as the world’s leading audiophile record label, where a passion for music with extraordinary sound quality matters most.
RTI HQ-180 Vinyl
Record Technology is a world class record pressing plant located in Camarillo, California. We have been operating since 1974, pressing for most audiophile record labels and for many quality minded independent and major record labels from around the world.