Notes: A 1999 reissue added four live recordings from July 1970. The 2004 Legacy edition added a full second live CD as well as alternate versions of songs from the album.
“Janis Joplin made the blues her own” SA showing why she still “remains an essential, if tragic, figure in pop.” SA Her “second masterpiece (after Cheap Thrills), Pearl was designed as a showcase for her powerhouse vocals, stripping down the arrangements that had often previously cluttered her music or threatened to drown her out. Thanks also to a more consistent set of songs, the results are magnificent – given room to breathe, Joplin’s trademark rasp conveys an aching, desperate passion on funked-up, bluesy rockers, ballads both dramatic and tender.” SH
“Though she didn’t live to finish this album before her 1970 death from a heroin overdose, her intense passion and frantic cries of pain and ecstasy were enough to make Pearl one of the most memorable recordings of her era.” SA “Listen to the tortured heartbreak of Cry Baby or the hopeful declarations of Kris Kristofferson’s Me & Bobby McGee,” SA her signature song and posthumous number one hit.
“Her band does fill up some vinyl with the instrumental Buried Alive in the Blues” SA – “she was scheduled to record them on the day after she was found dead” SH – “but it’s the vocals that make this album worth hearing these many decades later.” SA
“Its incompleteness mirrors Joplin’s career; Pearl’s power leaves the listener to wonder what else Joplin could have accomplished, but few artists could ask for a better final statement.” SH
SA Steve Appleford, Amazon.com essential recording