Joe Cocker

The Ultimate Collection 1968-2003

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Calling something "The Ultimate Collection" is fraught with problems -- usually of omission. Certainly over these two discs -- containing a total of 30 tracks -- there are plenty of fine moments from some of Joe Cocker's earliest material, such as "The Letter," "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Delta Lady," "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window," etc. Also present are virtually all of his later hits and some that should have been: "Up Where We Belong," "You Are So Beautiful," "Many Rivers to Cross," "Leave Your Hat On," etc. But there's just too much that isn't here. Where are "Bird on a Wire" and "Hitchcock Railway," for starters? Nonetheless, given the length of Cocker's career, this is not an unusual complaint. One thing that is unique about this set -- other than the fine sound -- is the sequencing that crisscrosses over the breadth and chronology of Cocker's discography. There are also a couple of rarities, which would have been OK to leave off in order to include some of the more classic titles. But this is quibbling; Cocker fans will have a good time with this, but it's a safe bet they won't be selling off their original albums/CDs to replace them with this.

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