Friday, January 20, 2012

Listening to: Joe Cocker "Hard Knocks" 2012

Joe Cocker
"Hard Knocks"
429 Records 2012
Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks

"One day you're goin' to look back and see it all happened so fast" from the song "The Fall" captures all that one needs to know about what this recording, the music, and the great Joe Cocker are all about today. Powerful lyrics and powerful but more controlled voice carry a disc that recalls lifes ups and downs, and where we are today. A lot of the roughness has been sandpapered off his voice, and certainly there are a lot of mellow songs, but  there is a nice range of songs, from the power rocker "Hard Knocks" that opens the disc and demonstrates that Joe still has it, to the lovely balladic song "So It Goes". Songs of life, songs of the battles, the changes that we all go  through -- "people come and then they this really all there is?" No one knows so we go on, and Cocker does beautifully in this heartfelt, reflective recording. A great closing "Forever Changed" builds to a nice guitar solo and releases some of the inner Cocker, but then gently subsides, concluding that "I'll remian forever changed." Lovely ending.

It's music that traces the arc of life, and  it talks well to those of us from the Woodstock generation. This is a must for those of us who basically have grown up in parallel with Joe. At age 67, he still has it, with more depth, more feelings, but a lot less of the wild rasp in a controlled performance that may disappoint some.

To me this is a must for Cocker fans. Now I can't wait to hear 77 year old Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas" next week.

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