Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Joe Cocker: Jamaica Say You Will [A&M, 1975]
Think back to how drastically Cocker's early triumph--"With a Little Help From My Friends" or "Just Like a Woman" or "Darling Be Home Soon" or "Bird on the Wire"--departed from the originals; he literally forced us to rehear those songs. Then compare the strongest cut here, "Lucinda," with Randy Newman's prototype; arrangement and vocal approach are almost identical. That's the nut. Cocker and Leon Russell funkified pop so persuasively that they set up their own minitradition, and now Cocker can't imagine transcending it. C