Digital Roundup: 1/28/2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Digital Roundup: 1/28/2015

We’re back! Did you miss us? Or did you even notice we were gone? (Given that we haven’t had a Digital Update for you since December 17, we sure hope you noticed.) A lot has happened since we were last together, including a very sad loss which, as it happens, ties directly into this week’s additions.

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

On December 22, the world of music lost the great Joe Cocker, who had the kind of unique voice that is likely never to be duplicated. Cocker had a substantial back catalog, with 22 studio albums to his credit, and three of those efforts – all of them from the mid-1980s – have at last made their way into our digital catalog.

Joe Cocker, Civilized Man: Released in 1984, this was Cocker’s first effort for Capitol Records, a switch in label which earned him his first UK chart placing in several years, even if it was only at #100. Ever the great interpreter, the album found Cocker delivering a solid cover of the classic Drifters hit, “There Goes My Baby,” and – on a more contemporary tip – a memorable rendition of Squeeze’s “Tempted.”

Joe Cocker, Cocker: In the grand scheme of things, Cocker is not a great Cocker album. It’s surprisingly easy to forget that, however, when you get caught up in the fact that Cocker’s cover of Randy Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” is, in fact, great. (It also doesn’t hurt that it was in Nine ½ Weeks.) The same goes for his take on Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” Unfortunately, the production is about as slick as ‘80s rock gets, so with the exception of a handful of tracks, it comes and goes without leaving much of a trace…except, of course, for the remember that when it comes to belting ‘em out, Cocker’s still one of the best.

Joe Cocker, Unchain My Heart: A step up from its predecessor, Unchain My Heart is probably still best remembered by Americans for its title track, which found its way into millions of viewers’ brains as a result of its use in a Miller Lite ad, but there’s also a raging cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation” that’s a must-hear.