Joe Cocker

Hymn for My Soul

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The very title of Joe Cocker's Hymn for My Soul suggests that this, his 2007 studio album, is a gospel affair, or at least something inspired by faith -- something that isn't true to the letter, yet there is something true about the spirit of this sentiment, for these are songs that serve as a tonic to Cocker's soul. He's pulled songs from several familiar sources -- Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Bob Dylan -- and found other newer songs that share a similar sentiment, offering reassuring thoughts in troubled times. While nobody could ever claim that this album -- produced by Ethan Johns, son of Glyn -- has any grit, it nevertheless is warmer than recent Cocker discs, boasting a soulful heart (even if it has been polished and cleaned until it sparkles). If this isn't enough to bring long-straying Cocker fans back into the fold, it nevertheless is his best record in recent memory, and will satisfy those who have been looking for nothing more than a good, solid album from him, which this surely is.

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