Hard Knocks

Studio Album by released in 2010
Hard Knocks's tracklist:
Hard Knocks
Get On
The Fall
So It Goes
Runaway Train
Stay the Same
I Hope

Hard Knocks review

Joe Cocker’s voice is recognizable at once

Joe Cocker despite the enormous number of internationally renowned artists, the number of those whose voice can be recognized after two or three notes is certainly limited. Thus, when the name of Joe Cocker is pronounced the first thing one thinks about is his amazing slightly husky voice and most beautiful bluesy tunes of his hits. This unique artist has performed a great deal of covers in his career which is more than four decades long, and each song become new in his interpretation. Growing up Joe was strongly influenced by the creative works of Lonny Donegan and Ray Charles, and he was once honored to sing in a duet with the latter. Born in England, but residing in Colorado with his wife, Joe Cocker was awarded an OBE three years ago for his invaluable contribution to the world music heritage. It seems like age does not exist for the singer – he is performing or recording in studio all the time. This autumn the artist’s twenty first album Hard Knocks is released, and it is first of all different from the rest of Cocker's works with containing only one cover the other 9 tracks being a great original material.

No failure tracks on Hard Knocks

It is hard to believe that Joe Cocker is already 66 for the album Hard Knocks with all its contemporary orchestra arrangements sounds as bright and fresh as any of his successful records in the discography. The album opens with the title track and the first single Hard Knocks – it is an autobiographical story about the hardships of the past in the streets, in which nothing was ever safe and orderly but it made the protagonist strong and more adapted to life. A more joyful and funky composition Get On reminds that Joe Cocker is always full of energy for a good party, whereas the ballad Unforgiven is the artist’s completely different side. It is a passionately repentant confession of someone who acknowledges his mistakes and realizes that it is too late to correct anything so he does not know where to go. He is again full of optimism on The Fall telling of rises and falls with a faultless accompaniment of a funky guitar and splendid drums. A mid-tempo composition Stay The Same is one of those wise songs about life and love for which the audience loves Joe Cocker, while another ballad Thankful is filled with the best and lightest feelings which come after the emotions displayed on Unforgiven have calmed down and give way to thankfulness. The album closes with a melodious philosophic number So, a great piano pop melody, followed by the only cover on the album, Dixie Chicks’ I Hope, one of the highlights on the album which actually has no failure tracks at all.

Wisdom, love, life

The absolute majority of Joe Cocker’s songs can boast great lyrics. His hits are the sources of human wisdom such as for instance My Father’s Son, N’oubliez Jameis, With A Little Help From My Friends, Up Where We Belong (for which he won an Oscar). Besides, his shiny stories of love adventures and passion are also unforgettable – Unchain My Heart, I Put A Spell On You and the irreplaceable seduction soundtrack, the eternal hit You Can Leave Your Hat On. At last, with his life energy and artistry he cannot help singing odes to life itself – Summer In The City, Into The Mystic, etc. Always breathing a new life into any composition he performs Joe Cocker has never disappointed his numerous fans, and he still can surprise as Hard Knocks has proved. For everyone who finds pleasure in smart lyrics combined with good melodies, orchestra arrangements – cellos, violins, sax and many other – and enjoys the marvelous, one of its kind, voice of Joe Cocker Hard Knocks is going to be the best treat in the dark autumn days.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (13.10.2010)
Rate review2.86
Total votes - 23

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