Joe Cocker: Fire It Up

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joe cockerJoe Cocker
Fire It Up
(Sony)

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A straight ahead, simple title track opens what is Joe Cocker’s 23rd studio album. The horn-infused soul and slight naughtiness of “I’ll Be Your Doctor” is next (some great guitar here) and than a killer big power ballad, “You Love Me Back,” handled brilliantly as much by Cocker’s distinctive gravel delivery as by Matt Serletic’s production (he has worked with Matchbox Twenty and Santana).

I love the laid back “You Don’t Need A Million Dollars,” with Cocker sounding so perfect, so mature, so considered in this angelic little poem of a song; this is one of the best for me here. “Eye on the Prize” mines some blippin’ bleepin slight funk. “Younger” shimmies with a roiling, flippy acoustic and 4×4 snapping snare with a lyric that’s as fun as it shimmers of something truly solid underneath. This is another one of the better eleven here; “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing to Me” has Cocker using his voice perfectly in a piano-based ballad, though I’m not so sure the song ever really goes anywhere. Keith Urban’s “I’ll Walk In The Sunshine Again” is a tentative plinking song of lover’s loss, once again not lifting off too far from where it starts, but a solid exercise for Cocker, especially when he gets to use his distinctive growling near-scream at the end.

“Weight of the World” ends the collection, a cool strutting song with a well-placed percussion backing, a solid albeit commercial, sing-able chorus and solid backing vocals with big single note piano lead.

One again, Joe Cocker presents a startling solid collection of songs.

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