Well, it’s a real disappointment. After all the hoopla of signing with Columbia, using one of the best producers in the business and the well-spread reviews of dozens of limp-limbed and sweaty-brow reviewers who have seen Big Brother and Holding Company in performance, one would expect slightly more than what we have gotten.
The title, Cheap Thrills, (shortened from Dope, Sex and Cheap Thrills) is an appropriate one, for that is to a great extent what this record has to offer. What this record is not is 1) a well-produced, good rock and roll recording; 2) Janis Joplin at her highest and most intense moments; and 3) better than the Mainstream record issued last year.
The record is a good representation of Big Brother and the Holding Company, as good a one as could have been expected and as good a one as there ever will be. It is also a fair approximation of the San Francisco scene in all its loud, exciting, sloppy glory, and for those who groove to it, the record should be adequate.
John Simon, who was signed to produce the album, but who did not have his name listed as producer, feels that this album is as good as the band and that’s about it. In fact, he likes the Mainstream LP better.
The fault here, dear listeners, lies in the stars, not in ourselves.