Personnel: Joe Cocker (vocals); Neil Schon, Cliff Goodwin, Dann Huff, Eddie Martinez, Ritchie Zito (guitar); Mel Collins, Andrew Love (saxophone); Steve Madaio, Joel Peskin, Dick "Slide" Hyde (horns); Howie Hersh (piano, keyboards); Larry Marshall (organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Mike Moran (keyboards, bass); Jeff Lorber, Jeff Bova, Michael Boddicker (keyboards); Carl Marsh (Fairlight synthesizer); Arthur Barrow (synthesizer, bass); Bernard Edwards, Vito Sanfilippo, Randy Jackson (bass); Eric Parker, Michael Baird (drums); Curtis King, Maxine Green, Elisecia Wright, Julia Waters Tillman, Joe Turano, Leslie Smith, Albert Hammond, Diane Warren (background vocals).
Producers include: Albert Hammond, Diane Warren, Ron Nevison, Bernard Edwards, Richie Zito.
Engineers include: Terry Manning, Brian Reeves, Ron Nevison.
Just a few years after "Up Where We Belong" topped the charts, Joe Cocker found himself struggling to earn the attention of the audience he had just regained. It wasn't that he was recording uncommercial material. If anything, it was because he was trying too hard, as 1986's Cocker proves. He works with a variety of producers on the album, yet they all arrive at the same slick, mildly synthesized, vaguely soulful adult contemporary sound. There are some good moments on Cocker that do justice to his still-robust voice -- "Shelter Me" is a reasonably entertaining new effort, and Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" was a good cover choice, as was Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," even if Richie Zito's production on the latter is a little too slick. Cocker winds up being another uneven effort from a talented singer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine