Born Janis Eddy Fink (hence the album title), Janis Ian peaked too soon, writing and recording the classic Society’s Child while still in her teens. These albums were her third and fourth, from 1968 and ’69, after which she split from Verve, retired from music and spent five years in the wilderness before making a glorious comeback with her career’s second timeless single, At Seventeen.
While these releases were overlooked at the time and reflect her demoralised state of mind, Ian still had something to say. The second on this twofer, Who Really Cares, takes her into rockier territory with a hornbased backing sometimes verging on Blood, Sweat & Tears’ then-fashionable jazz-rock. This was still a couple of years before Carole King made her major breakthrough with Tapestry, so maybe Ian was just a little ahead of her time.
Janis Ian’s website gets an average of 75,000 hits a year and its subject is still very much alive and performing. If substance concerns you more than record sales, then this is worth investigation.