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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 4, 1975

I Can Stand A Little Rain: Joe Cocker (A & M)

I Can Stand A Little Rain: Joe Cocker (A & M)

Joe Cocker is a star whose success has always been touched with sadness; a performer whose performing span was limited by the sheer destructiveness of the performance. Only singers of opera, surely, can sustain such an act: and then only by restricting their movements on stage and going easy on the whisky and cocaine.

So Joe was the jaded rock star of 1973/74; like John Lennon forgetting himself in a New York nightclub, Joe's music was going to seed. Only John claims it wasn't like that at all - and Joe didn't lose it completely.

'I Can Stand A Little Ram' features songs by different composers, including Billy Preston, Jim Webb, Harry Nilson and Randy New-seeming contrived or calculated it achieves a seeming contribed or calculated it achieves a stunning unity.

On this album Joe sings the blues: songs of loss, sorrow, ruin, love, making them his own. The songs are uniformly excellent and Cocker's interpretations are for once not merely animated, but inspired.

Photo of Joe Cocker

Two tracks, 'Put Out The Light' and 'I Get Mad' seem awkwardly placed beside the others which are quietly restrained. Yet their presence-illuminates: the contrast between the old raver and the chastened veteran contributes much to the pathos - and there are some nice chords in 'I Get Mad'. The face on the cover, not studied or a pose; just Joe after too many three o'clock mornings: weary, exhausted. Not beaten.

Joe at the centre of the stage - you've seen him in Mad Dogs [unclear: nd] Englishmen, in Woodstock jerking, weaving, [unclear: most]-falling, screwed and screaming; the pathetic figure in the spotlight giving every energy, his whole body. And you [unclear: aw] him as the tour progressed becoming more and more lost, until finally he only nods, smiles. The boy from Sheffield, taken to the edge by Leon Russel on a body-and-mind breaking tour of the USA. And another tour. And another. And after this outrage the performer is too wasted to perform anymore; like a secret drinker exposed, the star experiences new pain: pity and even scorn.

It's good that there's not a trace of self-pity. On this album Cocker renders his failure triumphant simply by embracing it and going on.

'I Can Stand A Little Rain' is an album which confirms the axiom about great suffering producing great art. It's very honest, and it's very good. And while some may see it as the beginning of a new career, I think it's a statement about the end of a career and as such it's probably the best album that Joe will ever do.

Brian King