(Ed. note–this post was inspired in part by the always wonderful She’ll Grow Back blog and their dedicated mission to bring multiple covers of a given track.)
A sad, but true thing happened to me the other night whilst I was attending the St. Vincent show at the Black Cat. Out of nowhere and apropos of nothing, a couple seemingly not much younger than me approached and asked if I could settle a bet. They had seen my iPhone and wanted to know if I could Google to see if Joe Cocker still was alive. There was no need for that, however, as I knew the answer, having already secured tickets to his upcoming gig at Wolf Trap for myself.
I understand Joe has been off the main radar for years, if not decades, but still, this harmless question somehow hurt me. My Pop got me into JC years ago. Pop tells of seeing the gravely voiced belter during the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, and how, at one show, Joewas so drunk he fell off the stage not once, but twice! For whatever reason, I still consider that the height of concert viewship–seeing someone so messed up, s/he falls off the damn stage. I came close at a Pogues concert a few years ago, but, alas, such an occurence has escaped me thus far. One of the first times I ever smelled pot was at a JC show. The fact that it was being smoked by an obviously very pregnant woman who was then apprehended by an over six foot woman security guard still ranks as one of the more surreal things I’ve ever seen. And don’t get me (or any other Gen-Xer for that matter) started on The Wonder Years. It was Joe that heralded the arrival of our favorite mathematician-to-be once an week and then heavily in syndication.
While I understand Mr. Cocker has long since cleaned up his act and gone the path of the sober, that’s no reason to dismiss the man’s legendarily infamous past. In fact, Let’s Go Get Stoned. And with that, it’s covered.
Originally performed by the late Ray Charles, the song was penned by the soon-to-be-famous-in-their-own-right Ashford & Simpson, as well as Joey Armstead. Others have covered it, too, including the Hardest Work Man in Show Business himself. Ray obviously set the standard, while JB goes the instrumental route here. Joe updates the lyrics to reflect a more contemporary selection of, um, “party favors,” so there’s that. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not any advice offered in the music is worth heeding yourself.
NOTE–WE HERE AT LET DO NOT CONDONE PEOPLE THAT DO NOT CONDONE. SO, YEAH. MOVE ALONG; MOVE ALONG.