Picks and Pans Review: Civilized Man

updated 06/04/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/04/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joe Cocker

Cocker's personal life is still not exactly placid. He was arrested last month in Austria for allegedly accepting $21,000 in payment for a scheduled concert he never actually performed. To judge from his LP, however, a certain world-weary calm seems to have settled into his music, and it combines with the raggedy-edged blues that made him famous to produce a uniquely affecting sound. Much of the album has a subdued, almost torchy approach. Even the LP's rock-oriented tracks, such as the title tune, Cocker's version of the Drifters' classic There Goes My Baby, and a Troy Seals-Mike Reid number, I Love the Night, sound at least relatively under control. More surprising, Cocker's approach to the Seals-Will Jennings song A Girl Like You, Larry John McNally's Long Drag off a Cigarette and Even a Fool Would Let Go (Tom Snow and Kerry Chater) is almost sentimental—in the best sense of that word. Cocker is backed by what is for him a mainstream group of studio musicians, including Toto's drummer, Jeff Porcaro, its guitarist, Steve Lukather, and saxophonist Jim Horn and percussionist Paulinho da Coasta. This all adds up to a kind of pop blues that turns into a terrifically intelligent, musical album. (Capitol)

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