January 8, 2017
Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
So I am the bloke with the odd album, and as they used to say, who has stuff on heavy rotation during most waking hours. I listen to new, old, CD, downloads, vinyl, podcasts, Blues, Pop, Folk, Country, Rock etc. I’ve always believed that there are two types of music – good and bad. I’ve just under 3,000 albums to choose from at the moment and I thought I’d pick the odd gem to talk about as my album of the week. Let’s start with:
Me and Joe go back a along way to the joy of sitting in the Odeon, on The Headrow in Leeds, and watching ‘Woodstock’, the movie, in 1971. For a youngster not really yet steeped in Rock then I’d only recently graduated from The Beatles and pop music to the heavy and good stuff. Hippies rolling around in mud and indulging in free love (what was that?) and wacky backy were a mystery to a 16 year old from Barwick-in -Elmet but the soundtrack sure sounded good.
His tour de force cover of Lennon & McCartney’s Sgt. Pepper’s jovial uptempo song was a revelation as it turned the ditty into a rock soul ballad of gigantic proportions. Anyway Joe had me in his corner from there on in. However, the former Sheffield gas fitter’s output from there on was patchy albeit with a few highlights until he checked out in 2014. (However, his career didn’t go without recognition for his services to music and he received an OBE in 2007; all of which confirms my scepticism about the worthiness of the Honours system!)
The much maligned Music For Pleasure label picked up this selection of tracks and released it at a budget price in 1969 (it seems to be basically virtually nearly all the same tracks he released on various labels internationally at the same time). So as a boy with limited cash to spend I bought this and got some brilliant vocals and an introduction to Bob Dylan (I Shall Be Released, Just Like A Woman & Dear Landlord) and Leonard Cohen (Bird On The Wire) and not least the Beatles classic.
He is one of the important Rock vocalists of the age and I am sure that this vinyl gem will come to a charity shop near you soon. Frankly they are ten a penny but it is still a magnificent listen.