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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic given an excellent Deluxe Edition, 7 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Mad Dogs & Englishmen: Live (Audio CD)
I first came across Joe Cocker on the first album I ever owned, Fantastic Original Hits, a compilation album my parents bought me because it had some T Rex tracks on there. Included on the album were Joe's Delta Lady and With A Little Help From My Friends, the latter track being a near perfect example of how to make a cover version your own. It's so much better than the original which is plodding and boring (Calm down Beatles fans we're all entitled to our opinions) whereas this version was sung like he meant it, a real tour d' force.

Roll on a few years and I see Joe's performance at Woodstock and that really gets my interest and so off I go and buy the original double LP. I always liked it even though there was no With a Little Help... which always puzzled me. Move onto the CD era and finally I come across this Deluxe Edition and there hidden away on disc two is, of course, With A little Help.... Now was the time to replace my old vinyl copy.

Unlike his Woodstock performance Joe is not accompanied by the Grease Band. The story is in the package of how Joe had sacked the band but was committed to tour the States and if he did not fullfil that commitment he might not tour there again. So he calls up Leon Russell who agrees to pull a band together, and what a band. It's basically Delaney and Bonnie's backing band plus a few others such as Chris Stainton and Jim Keltner. They have a few days to rehearse and then it's the real thing.

I guess that is the difference between top notch musicians, such as these, and those less talented, because after only a few days they get to sound like they had played together for years. This is a real classic live album. All the numbers, most of which are covers, are given that whole soul stew treatment. A whole new lease of life is breathed into all of them including my old favourite With a Little Help... This is how Deluxe Editions should be done, they should add to and improve the original album. On too many occasions someone just goes in, sweeps a few cuttings off the studio floor, pretends to re-mix some of the old tracks, claims to have remastered the whole thing and sells it to us as that particular artists holy grail. And too often we fall for it. That's not the case here, the extra tracks do improve on the old album by letting us experience what the whole show was like. The sound is excellent, the studio tracks actually worth hearing and an informative essay in the booklet. The record companies should take note of how the Deluxe Edition is really done, excellent!!
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