- This outstanding copy boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- There’s a reason this album is so tubey and real – it was recorded at Olympic and Trident in the halcyon days of 1968
- The sound is solid, present and rich – you’re unlikely to find a better sounding pressing, and if you own the mediocre Speakers Corner pressing from years back, a world of sound will open up to you that you never knew was there
- 4 stars: “Joe Cocker’s debut album holds up extraordinarily well across four decades, the singer’s performance bolstered by some very sharp playing… Tracks like “Just Like a Woman,” with its soaring gospel organ above a lean textured acoustic and light electric accompaniment… help make this an exceptional listening experience.”
- With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner – reasonably quiet vinyl too
- Consistently stronger material than his debut – did Cocker ever release an album with more good songs than these?
- How’s this for a track listing: Dear Landlord; Bird on the Wire; She Came in Through the Bathroom Window; Something; Delta Lady; Darling Be Home Soon – and there’s more
- “Cocker mixed elements of late-’60s English blues revival recordings (John Mayall, et al.) with the more contemporary sounds of soul and pop; a sound fused in no small part by producer and arranger Leon Russell, whose gumbo mix figures prominently on this eponymous release and the infamous Mad Dogs & Englishmen live set.”
This is a surprisingly good recording. Cocker and his band — with more than a little help from Leon Russell — run through a collection of songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and the Beatles, and when you can hear it on a killer Hot Stamper copy such as this, it’s hard to deny the appeal of this timeless White Soul music.
The consistently high quality of the material is another reason this album has to be considered a Must Own. Did Cocker ever release an album with more good songs than these?
On side one alone you’ll find Dear Landlord; Bird on the Wire; She Came in Through the Bathroom Window; and Hitchcock Railway.
On side two: Something; Delta Lady; Hello, Little Friend; and Darling Be Home Soon.
I put this album up against the best Cocker has ever made. He released both of his first two albums in 1969, strikingly reminiscent of another band we revere, Led Zeppelin. (Small world: Jimmy Page plays on Cocker’s first release.) (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This original A&M 2 LP pressing has FOUR EXCELLENT SIDES, including a shootout-winning A+++ SIDE TWO!
We did not give out a lot of top grades on this record — Super Hot is WAY better than most of what we heard (which to be honest was just not very good, a subject we discuss below). Overall this is the best copy to ever hit the site, boasting plenty of soulful rock and roll energy.
(Other than noisy, scratched up vinyl of course.)
Well, for one thing, if you get the wrong stampers on this record, you will discover, as we did, that it’s clearly been mastered from a badly made dub. The “cassette-like” sound quality will not be hard to recognize. If you have stumbled onto one of those pressings, give up on it and try your luck elsewhere, making sure to note the bad stampers.
Most copies have a tendency to sound smeary and congested. Listen for good transients and not too much compression. Most copies are opaque, as well as dull up top; try to find the ones with some degree of transparency and as much top end extension as you can (the percussion will be helped most of all by the extended top).
And of course you need to find a copy that rocks, as this is a definitely a Rock Concert, although what it most reminds me of is Ray Charles doing a choice set of modern classics, mixing it up by off-handedly mixing in a few of his own. See how they all fit together? That’s how the pros do it. (The main pro in this case is Leon Russell, the mastermind of the whole operation. He clearly knows what he is doing.) (more…)
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This Hot Stamper Original A&M LP has BIG BOLD sound. It’s dynamic, punchy and spacious. Just listen to the drums on Black-Eyed Blues — the way the percussion and bass mingle sonically with Alan Whites’ skins takes this listener right into the room where the magic happened. This is definitely the best sounding Joe Cocker record we have ever heard.
Both the lead and background vocals have real presence to them. This copy has energy and life that was nowhere to be found on ANY other pressing. Joe Cocker is known for being a throaty vocalist but this was extraordinary even for him. The breathiness found here was a good blend of the smooth and gravely — a true test for any Cocker record. Every time that piano hit the lower registers you could feel it right down to your toes.
This copy had extension on both ends. An absolutely fantastic weight and openness thrive on this copy, so much so that the tambourines sound like they are right in the room with you. The textural way the guitars were recorded is incredible; their tone is RIGHT ON THE MONEY! I don’t think there’s anything you could do to this recording to make it sound much better than this.
Soundwise, most copies became harsh and shrill in the loud passages of the music. When the music gets loud, the sound becomes strained and unpleasant. A copy (like this one) that doesn’t do that is the exception, not the rule. Listen to the cover song ‘Midnight Rider’ on side two. If you own the typical copy, parts of that song will sound pretty darn unpleasant. Not so here!
- A Killer Copy of Joe Cocker’s patented Blue Eyed Soul Album, rating an outstanding grade of Double Plus (A++) or close to it on both sides
- Plays on some of the quietest vinyl we have ever heard for the album, a true Mint Minus throughout!
- Pardon Me Sir; High Time We Went and Black-Eyed Blues, Midnight Rider; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man and St. James Infirmary – so many of his best songs
- “With “St. James’ Infirmary,” Joe Cocker has moved into a whole different sphere of musical activity, far distant from the rip-roaring anarchism of the Mad Dogs … This album is, when all be said and done, riddled with meaningful soul.” — Rolling Stone
Great sound for this rockin’ soul album with two live tracks. Just listen to the drums on Black-Eyed Blues — the way the percussion and bass mingle sonically with Alan White’s skins takes this listener right into the room where the magic happened.
On side one, three out of five you know or should know: Pardon Me Sir; High Time We Went and Black-Eyed Blues.
On side two, three out of four you know or should know: Midnight Rider; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man and St. James Infirmary.
Where or When
Prelude to a Kiss
Willow Weep for Me
Dancing in the Dark
Stunningly beautiful. The band plays perfectly. All the solos are fantastic. This album of romantic ballads is easily in the top 1% in my record collection of several thousand items. Picking highlights is an exercise in futility as every second of this album is wonderful. But don’t miss Duke’s piano with the full band on “Solitude” and in a trio setting on “All The Things You Are.” Ozzie Bailey’s vocal on “Autumn Leaves” is serene and lovely, but when coupled with the violin of Ray Nance, the beauty becomes more than we mere mortals deserve.
Sonic Grade: B
One of the better Speakers Corner releases. We haven’t played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let’s call it a “B” with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the ’90s when this record came out, but here it is anyway.
“Speakers corner knocks one out of the park with this wonderful reissue! Those conga drums and the back-up singers sound so much better than I remember them! If you”re going to own one Joe Cocker album make it this one. It’s a man-size serving of English Soul.”
- A killer 2-pack, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound, or close to it, from first note to last – they don’t get much better than this!
- Here it is – the energy, space, and full, rich, Tubey Magical sound this music needs to work
- You get Triple Plus sound for some of his best tracks here: Dear Landlord, Bird on the Wire, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, and Hitchcock Railway
- “Cocker mixed elements of late-’60s English blues revival recordings (John Mayall, et al.) with the more contemporary sounds of soul and pop; a sound fused in no small part by producer and arranger Leon Russell, whose gumbo mix figures prominently on this eponymous release and the infamous Mad Dogs & Englishmen live set.” – 4 Stars
This is a surprisingly good recording. Cocker and his band — with more than a little help from Leon Russell — run through a collection of songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and the Beatles, and when you hear it on a White Hot Stamper copy it’s hard to deny the appeal of this timeless music. (more…)
- An outstanding copy with all four sides earning Double Plus (A++) grades
- The overall sound is rich and tubey, with driving energy and most of the top end and clarity that’s missing from many we played
- What it most reminds me of is Ray Charles doing a choice set of modern pop classics, mixing it up by off-handedly throwing in a few hits of his own
- “… its content was exciting, and its sound, a veritable definition of big-band rock with three dozen players working behind the singer, was unique.” – 4 1/2 Stars
One thing we learned from our shootout was the how important TRANSPARENCY is to the enjoyment of this music. Of course this has to be a multi-miked, multi-tracked, overdubbed pop record — they don’t make them any other way — but it doesn’t have to FEEL like one.
The Feeling of Reality
When you get a good copy it feels like all these guys and gals are live on stage. They may have their own mics, and are certainly being placed artificially in the soundfield to suit the needs of the track (singers here, drummer there), but the transparency of the better pressings makes them sound like they are all on the same stage singing and playing together. You hear their grunts and laughter way back in the mix, just as if you were at the concert. (more…)
Some sections on our site are hard to find. Here’s one with lots of cool records in it:
We just finished our first shootout in over FIVE years for the album and were SHOCKED by how amazing the best copies can sound, even better than we remember them from last time around. Turn this one up good and loud and you’ll have Joe Cocker in all his raspy glory belting out With A Little Help From My Friends right in your very own listening room!