In many facets, Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills is the quintessential album to spring from the conclusion 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. Merging bikerbabe ruggedness with wounded-bird poignancy, Joplin’s expressive belting, mega-watt moaning, and sensitive crooning take center stage. Her bandmates match every step with explosive rhythms, heavy guitar-driven blues, and assertive solos that take inspiration from free-form jazz. Mobile Fidelity’s reissues intensify the quintet’s storied sophomore effort. Increased spaciousness, punch, energy, pacing, and dynamics come to the fore. Joplin’s hurricane-force singing reverberates with texture, grittiness, and volume. An arresting array of instrumental colors and tones emerges with clearer separation and depth. Always noted for it’s 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.