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Hymn For My Soul

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Audio CD, May 13, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hymn For My Soul is the 2008 release by Englishman Joe Crocker who is the purveyor of the most blood-curdling scream in pop music history (on his epochal cover of the Beatles "A Little Help From My Friends"). The deeply soulful Cocker is also one of rock's most gifted interpretive singers. After a breakthrough performance at Woodstock, he enjoyed a wave of success before dropping out of sight, only to reemerge in the '80s with the surprising soft-rock hits "Up Where We Belong" and "You Are So Beautiful." The reflective song titles on this album are 'One Word (Peace)', 'Don't Give Up On Me', 'Love Is For Me' plus seven more for a total of ten tracks.

About the Artist

On May 13th, Fantasy Records will release Hymn For My Soul, the newest album from legendary singer Joe Cocker. The album unites Cocker, possessor of one of the world's most instantly recognisable and iconic voices (Lennon & McCartney's With A Little Help From My Friends, anyone?), with Ethan Johns, who has proved both his worth and his Midas touch via albums he's produced for, among others, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, Razorlight, Kings of Leon, and Ray LaMontagne. The union has resulted in one of the most accomplished pieces of work in the Sheffield-born singer's long and illustrious career, and one played by arguably the most stellar band to be assembled in a recording studio anywhere in the world in recent times.

Among them are drummers Jim Keltner (uniformly viewed as the best session drummer in the world, a man who played with John Lennon and Bob Dylan), and James Gadson (as well as producing classic albums for the soul star Bill Withers, he drummed on hit recordings by artists ranging from Gladys Knight to Justin Timberlake). Also present are Tom Petty's pianist Benmont Tench, former Jethro Tull keyboard player Dave Palmer, bassist Bob Babbitt (member of Motown Records' studio band The Funk Brothers in the `60s and `70s, and hence a player on more seminal recordings than can be listed here), and Hammond organist Mike Finnigan (who played with Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland). Completing the all-star line-up on backing vocals are Merry Clayton (once one of Ray Charles's Raelettes, she sang on the Stones' Gimme Shelter), Tata Vega, Julia Walters, her brother Oren Walters, and Jim Gilstrap.

The uniformly blues / gospel-ish material on Hymn For My Soul spans the decades. In addition to the classic Bob Dylan track `Ring Them Bells' there are vintage songs by Stevie Wonder (`You Haven't Done Nothin'), George Harrison (`Beware Of Darkness'), and John Fogerty's (`Long As I Can See The Light').

There are tracks associated with veteran soul legends too, notably Art Neville and The Meters (Love Is For Me), Solomon Burke (Don't Give Up On Me), and Percy Mayfield (Rivers Invitation). But there are also two selections from the recent past, namely those by New Orleans group The Subdudes (One Word (Peace)), and Andy Fairweather-Low (the titular Hymn 4 My Soul). Recorded at L.A.'s Sunset Sound Studios and sung, played, and produced to near-perfection, they represent the best work that Cocker has done in years. The last track on the album, the only song not produced by Johns, is Cocker's version of The Beatle's `Come Together,' which was featured in the Oscar nominated movie, Across The Universe.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. You Haven't Done Nothin' 3:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. One Word (Peace) 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Love Is For Me 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Don't Give Up On Me 4:05$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Long As I Can See The Light 3:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Beware Of Darkness 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Just Pass It On 4:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. River's Invitation 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Ring Them Bells 3:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Hymn 4 My Soul 3:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Come Together 4:23Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 13, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fantasy
  • ASIN: B00160ANPU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,603 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Scott Bleiberg on April 5, 2007
"Hymn For My Soul" is one of the finest albums Joe Cocker has ever released. And, he has found the perfect producer for this stage of his career - Ethan Johns. Together, they have created a masterpiece. It is my hope that this partnership will remain in force for a long time.

What makes this album great is a back to basics approach. The album was recorded on tape, with Joe and the musicians all in the same room, and Joe singing live with the band. This brings out the best in Joe's voice. All the nooks and crannies are there, and there is great warmth and presence in the sound. There are no computers, no multi-layered arrangements, and there isn't the slick adult contemporary feel that has been present on recent albums. What we have is Joe singing R&B and ballads as only he can. His voice remains powerful, yet at the same time he is capable of great sensitivity. That is what sets Joe apart from all of the pretenders.

Joe puts his imprint on songs from Stevie Wonder (You Haven't Done Nothin'), Bob Dylan (Ring Them Bells), George Harrison (Beware Of Darkness), John Fogerty (Long As I Can See The Light), The Meters (Love Is For Me), Percy Mayfield (River's Invitation), Solomon Burke (Don't Give Up On Me), The Subdudes (One Word - Peace), old friend Daniel Moore (Just Pass It On), and the title track by Andy Fairweather Low. These are, in many cases, unexpected and inspired song choices.

Some will complain about another "covers" album, but they don't get what Joe is all about. While he has put out a lot of memorable original material, he is at his best when he takes a great song introduced by someone else and sings it his way. After all, isn't that what great interpretive singers do? Would anybody criticize Sinatra for not writing his own material?
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Accordino VINE VOICE on April 2, 2007
Verified Purchase
Rock legend Joe Cocker has just released a stunning new studio album "Hymn For My Soul", which in my opinion will generate rave reviews. The album will only be released in Europe while Joe starts a world tour in that region. The cd will eventually find release in the USA in late 2007. It can be ordered on Amazon or many other sites that sell music. What makes this cd so special, is Cocker recorded this cd with Ethan Johns, whose father Glyn mixed the "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" album some 37 years ago. Recorded in the same studio as his sophmore classic from 1969 "Joe Cocker!", "Hymn For My Soul" is a smooth rock/soul delight that sounds as if it were sung live. In many ways this is a live recording from the studio, as it was recorded the old fashion way, with musicians actually playing in the studio as the vocal tracks were being recorded. No over-production, or computer over-dubs here. This is the real deal, and what you get is the pure growl of Joe Cocker's voice, and real instrumentation. Some of the highlights here include "You haven't Done Nothing", "Just Pass It On", an unbelievable take on George Harrison's "Beware Of Darkness", "Ring Them Bells", and of course the funky title track "Hymn For My Soul". Some great musicians lend a helping hand on this recording, like Jim Keltner and James Gadson on drums, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's band on keyboards, Jethro Tulls piano man Dave Palmer is also on keyboards. The legendary Bob Babbit who played for the Motown house band the "Funk Brothers", is on bass and Merry Clayton, who sang back-up to Joe in the sixties, is back on back-up vocals. This is Cockers purest album in quite awhile, complete with some of his best vocal arrangements and sound in years. Also included on this domestic release[U.Read more ›
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dorfman VINE VOICE on April 3, 2007
Finishing up his fourth decade of recording, the original Mad Dog and Englishman, at times better known for performances masquerading as epileptic fits and a growl with enough grit to use as sandpaper, Joe Cocker has survived and thrived as an ultimate interpreter of other people's songs, bringing to them a power and vulnerability that few singers can match.

He's back again with a new collection with less grit but no less passion wrapped in crystal clear production that shows off his still compelling voice off to it best advantage. Every selection either has a bluesy, elegaic, or gospel tone and is done well.

As usual Joe shines with his cover versions and there are plenty here to carry on that tradition - Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothing," George Harrison's "Beware Of Darkness," and Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation." John Fogerty's "Long As I Can See The Light" is re-imagined as a religious dirge and Andy Fairweather Low (of Amen Corner and later back-up guitarist/vocalist for Eric Clapton) provides Joe with the tour de force title tune "Hymn 4 The Soul."

There's more treasure to be dug here, particularly "One Word (Peace)" which, if I had my way, would be playing on every radio station from here to Timbuktu. It is a fervent plea for peace in a world where war and terrorisn is now in everyone's backyard.

For Joe Cocker fans and people who like the blues and brilliant interpretors.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sue Few on August 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This cd is one of Cocker's best....he doesn't "belt 'em out"....he treats each song individually. Choice of material is great including "Pass it On" by Daniel & Matthew Moore.
So glad I purchased this cd because I want to hear it over and over again. Joe Cocker is magical. I think he stopped listening to people who told him what he should record and what he shouldn't record - Sounds as though he has brought along the music/songs he wanted to record....and he was right.
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