Friday, 1 April 2011

Joe Cocker :Sheffield Steel

Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel
T-Bird records
Joe Cocker’s rock credentials are lengthy and of a high class and widely respected. He did however go down the mass popularity route in the late eighties and nineties and while he may have enjoyed massive success with this route most rock fans yearned for the day when Joe could be relied on to rock out.

Sheffield Steel comes from 1982 when Chris Blackwell signed Joe to a contract with Island. It could be argued however that this is where the more smooth version of Joe Cocker first reared its head. Don’t get me wrong this is a fine album with enough of Joe Cocker in it to satisfy even the hardened Cocker fan with some great covers of Bob Dylan (7 Days), Randy Newman (Marie) and Jimmy Webb (Just Like Always). There is even an excellent Steve Winwood cover, Back To The Night.

Having the ear to pick material has always been Joe Cocker’s talent and the material here is of top notch quality. The production and of course the high class sessioneers make this album the start of the smooth years for me. I prefer the rough raggle taggle feel of his earlier seventies material although there is n0o doubting Joe Cocker is in fine voice throughout. Just listen to his version of Many Rivers To Cross if you want proof of that.

Joe Cocker would shortly go on to massive worldwide success with Up Where We belong but for now Sheffield Steel proved that there was still a lot more to come from Joe Cocker after the seventies effectively left him behind as an artist.

Always a great interpreter of songs this album is full of great material and for that and Joe’s performance throughout I am prepared to give this album the seal of approval and you should too.

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