Joe Cocker – With a Little Help from My Friends

ARTIST: Joe Cocker 220px-Joe_Cocker-With_a_Little_Help_from_My_Friends_(album_cover)
TITLE: With a Little Help from My Friends
SINGLES: Marjorine (#48 UK), With a Little Help from My Friends (#1 UK, #68 US), Feeling Alright (#69 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He coveres some great songs that you know.
LINEUP: Joe Cocker, Chris Stanton, Jimmy Page, Henry McCullough, and many others
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album from English blues, soul and rock song interpreter that made him (along with his iconic Woodstock performance) a sensation.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Joe Cocker had been kicking around the fringes of the UK music scene for a few years, but once he hooked up with Chris Stanton and formed the Grease Band he got noticed. One single followed, then a move to London, then an album.

His unique vocal stylings and interpretations made him a favorite of many UK musicians, and this album shows why. He pours it all out on well-chosen songs and a few originals. He was not afraid to cover anyone – the Beatles, Dylan, Traffic, the Animals, and even standards.

The sessions were full of pros (plus Grease band members Stanton and McCullough) that knew exactly what each song needed – it was definitely the UK version of the Wrecking Crew. Denny Cordell’s production was spot-on as well.

Cocker’s later career involved maudlin ballads and he’s maybe best known for John Belushi’s manic impression of him, but this record, at least, shows that he was the real deal.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Cocker released a cover of “I’ll Cry Instead” by the Beatles in 1964, and when that stiffed he quit music for a year.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of B-sides added to the end.

GRADE: A: Cocker has his way with songs that are unique and powerful, and Cordell’s production and arrangements complement him well. This is great and holds up now.

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