Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

 |   |  <1 min read

Joe Cocker: I Hope
Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Cocker at 66 is candid enough to say that the idea behind this album was to get him on radio because -- good though his last one Hymn For My Soul was -- it didn't sell as expected.

That meant bringing in another producer (Matt Serletic who had done good work for Collective Soul and Matchbox 20), getting the word out for radio-friendly singles from songwriters and tweaking things with programmers in mind.

Still, there no getting away from That Voice though and Cocker here deploys its full and distinctive rawness on material like the title track, the standout ballad Unforgiven and the gospel-tinged Thankful, all of which sound vaguely autobiographical although come from other writers.

The slower So It Goes is also a fine piece of work.

But around these cornerstone tracks are others which feel like lesser vehicles . . . although he nails the Dixie Chicks' I Hope right at the end by moving into that zone where he is most comfortable, Ray Charles-styled gospel soul.

So a slightly uneven Cocker album and although it seems have to been a successful stab at radio (Europe picked up on it, so did the UK) you can't help feel its predecessor was a much better album in the comparison.

Like that? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

Sam Beam -- who is Iron and Wine -- really sounds like he has hits his stride with this exceptional, engaging and folkadelic outing, and he's achieved that by just continuing on the same, mildly... > Read more

Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)

Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)

The weird pop opener here Dust (“Dust is everywhere. Sweep”) reminds you this band's singer-songwriter Andrew Savage was once in the Zappa-influenced electronica outfit Fergus and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Ennio Morricone: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

Ennio Morricone: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

The relationship between some movie directors and composers is so close that it is hard to imagine certain films without their soundtracks: Hitchcock had Bernard Herrmann's gripping scores for... > Read more

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

This jazz giant will be 70 in December 2008 and can reflect on playing piano with the likes of John Coltrane in the 60s then a multi-faceted career as a leader, assimilator of world music... > Read more