Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Mad Dogs and Englishmen


I’m not a fan of concert movies, but there are a handful of exceptions, and this is one. It follows the triumphant tour of Joe Cocker and his band—actually more like a family, in the good old hippie sense—through North America, the tour that made him a big star. There has never been and probably never will be again a singer like Joe Cocker. The first time I saw him I seriously thought he might have cerebral palsy. But no, he’s just the best white male blues shouter ever. I don’t know what his signature twitches are all about. But look at his mouth while he sings. His tongue is sticking out! He and Leon Russell covered some of the best songs of the era, many of them by The Beatles, and had a whole new slant on every one. They seemed to pick up members as the tour progressed, to the point that the chorus had about a dozen members by the time they do the last number. I am partial to rock bands that have a brass section, and chorus, and don’t spend a lot of time on ego-boosting guitar solos, and this crazy group fills all those needs for me. Highly recommended.