- Number of Discs: 2
- Released: September 8, 2009
- Label: Sony
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Hair of Spun Gold
- 2.God & the FBI - (previously unreleased, live)
- 3.Silly Habits - (live)
- 4.Society's Child
- 5.Haven't I got Eyes
- 9.This Train Still Runs - (live)
- 10.At Seventeen [Album Version]
- 11.Live is Blind
- 12.Fly Too High
- 13.Arms Around My Life
- 14.His Hands - (previously unreleased)
- 15.When Angels Cry
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.My Tennessee Hills
- 2.Every Love
- 3.Some People's Lives - (previously unreleased)
- 4.Stolen Fire
- 5.Days Like These - (previously unreleased)
- 6.Tattoo - (live)
- 7.Through the Years - (previously unreleased)
- 8.I Hear You Sing Again
- 10.My Autobiography
- 11.Hair of Spun Gold [Original Worktape Of Janis' First Song] - (previously unreleased)
- 12.I Long for You - (previously unreleased)
- 13.Ginny the Flying Girl
- 14.Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
- 15.Today You're Mine - (previously unreleased)
- 16.At Seventeen
Personnel: Dolly Parton (vocals).
Audio Mixers: Robert Haynes; Jeff Balding.
Liner Note Author: Janis Ian.
Recording information: Birchmere, Alexandria, VA (10/1991-??/1995); Masterlink Studio, Nashville, TN (10/1991-??/1995); Royal Festival Hall, London, England (10/1991-??/1995); Schouwburg Concordia, Breda, The Netherlands (10/1991-??/1995).
Author: Janis Ian.
Photographers: Art Maillet; Peter Cunningham.
Arranger: Janis Ian.
Compiled by Janis Ian herself, the two-CD THE ESSENTIAL JANIS IAN offers a wealth of material spanning more than 40 years, though it might not be quite what some listeners primed for a best-of are expecting. Ian's most commercially successful recordings spanned less than half this period (roughly from the late '60s through the early '80s), and while the most famous songs from that era are here, greater weight is given to her post-1990 material. Yes, her teen hit "Society's Child" is here (though her late-'60s recordings are very sparsely represented), as well as her most prominent songs from her 1970s stint with Columbia Records, "At Seventeen" and "Jesse." Although there's not much in terms of rarities, there are a few inclusions that collectors will appreciate, among them a mid-'60s demo of "Hair of Spun Gold" that predates the version from her first album; a previously unissued 1978 track, "I Long for You"; a live 2000 performance of "God & the FBI"; the single version of "At Seventeen"; "Ginny the Flying Girl," originally heard on the 1981 Sesame Street album IN HARMONY 2.