Joe Cocker’s music has been influential for me over the years. His set on a double bill with Steve Winwood was my first concert in 1991. He ran through a terrific set with his band and almost stole the show from Winwood, who was also fantastic. A few years later, I picked up ‘Mad Dog’s & Englishmen’ on CD and my mind was completely blown upon first listen. Many hours were spent listening in awe to Joe, Leon Russell, their enormous band and even bigger choir working themselves – song after song – into a balls of frenetic, soulful thunder and lightning on the Fillmore East stage. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing this album, please do your ears a favor and pick it up. It’s just completely unreal.
Joe never wrote much of his own material but was one of the best interpreters of others’, often outdoing them completely and making his own arrangements the new standard. The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ and ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ along with Traffic’s ‘Feelin’ Alright’ are just a few examples.
Offered here is a mix of two sets. First (tracks 1 through 9) is the super rare and long out of print ‘Live In L.A.’ album recorded in Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA during his 1972 tour. His first since ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’, this tour found Joe featuring a much smaller band and more obscure material. It never quite reaches the dizzying heights of the ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ album but is still a satisfying listen. Highlights include Bob Dylan’s ‘Dear Landlord’, Ashford & Simpson’s ‘Didn’t You Know You’ve Got To Cry Sometimes?’ and a slow, gospel tinged reading of Stephen Stills’ ‘Love The One You’re With.’ Next (tracks 10-18) is an earlier set recorded live at the Fillmore West in San Francisco featuring a gorgeous rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ and a psychedlic, bluesy take on Ray Charles’ ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’.
Click the link above or below to download this folder from Dropbox. Unzip > Import to iTunes > Enjoy!