Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

by Joe CockerJoe Cocker


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Listening to this CD brings back a lot of memories. Mad Dogs & Englishmen was just about the most elaborate album that A&M Records had ever released, back in 1971, a double LP in a three-panel, fold-out, gatefold sleeve, with almost 80 minutes of music inside and a ton of photos, graphics, and annotation wrapping around it. A live recording done in tandem with a killer documentary film of the same U.S. tour, it was recorded at the Fillmore East, where the movie was a cross-country affair, and the two were, thus, completely separate entities -- also, as people couldn't "buy" the film in those days, the double LP has lingered longer in the memory, by virtue of its being on shelves, and also being taken off those shelves to be played. Unlike a lot of other "coffee table"-type rock releases of the era, such as Woodstock and The Concert for Bangladesh, people actually listened to Mad Dogs & Englishmen -- most of its content was exciting, and its sound, a veritable definition of big-band rock with three dozen players working behind the singer, was unique. The CD offers a seriously good sound, whether it's just Joe Cocker and a pianist and organist in the opening of "Bird on a Wire," or the entire band going full-tilt on "Cry Me a River"; the remastering was set at a high volume level and there was a decent amount of care taken to get the detail right, so you can appreciate the presence of the multiple drummers, and the legion of guitarists and singers, plus the multiple keyboard players. The lead guitar and solo piano on "Feelin' Alright," for example, come through, but so do the 34 other players and singers behind the lead. This record was also just as much a showcase for Leon Russell as it was for Joe Cocker, which A&M probably didn't mind a bit, as Russell was selling millions of records at the time. As is now known, and it's recounted in the new notes, the tour from which this album was drawn all but wiped out Joe Cocker -- on a psychic level -- because the music was presented on such a vast scale (and there is a moment in the movie where he mentions breaking up his former backing group, the Grease Band, with a hint of regret in his voice) and his own contribution was so muted by Russell's work as arranger and bandleader. He may well have been the "victim" of a "hijacking" of sorts, but the musical results, apart from the dubious "Give Peace a Chance," are difficult to argue about upon hearing this record anew, decades after the fact -- it's almost all bracing and beautiful.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/05/1999
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0606949044923
catalogNumber: 90449
Rank: 15743

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joe Cocker   Primary Artist,Vocals
Rita Coolidge   Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Leon Russell   Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Nickey Barclay   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Claudia Lennear   Vocals
Pamela Polland   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jim Price   Trumpet,Horn,Keyboards,Vocals
Jim Keltner   Drums
Jim Gordon   Drums
Chuck Blackwell   Percussion,Drums
Bobby Keys   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Sanford Konikoff   Percussion
Daniel Moore   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Matthew Moore   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Don Preston   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Carl Radle   Bass
Chris Stainton   Organ,Bass,Piano,Keyboards
Bobby Torres   Percussion,Conga
Donna Washburn   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Donna Weiss   Vocals
Claudia Linnear   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Donna Wiess   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Bob "Congo" Jones   Vocals
Bobby Jones   Vocals,Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Composer
Jerry Butler   Composer
Mick Jagger   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Dave Mason   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Leon Russell   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Bonnie Bramlett   Composer
Nick Ashford   Composer
Denny Cordell   Producer,Audio Production
Henry Glover   Composer
Isaac Hayes   Composer
Arthur Hamilton   Composer
Edwin H. Kramer   Engineer
Bill Levenson   Reissue Producer
John Mendelsohn   Liner Notes
Matthew Moore   Composer
David Porter   Composer
Keith Richards   Composer
Valerie Simpson   Composer
Chris Stainton   Arranger
Ron Wolin   Illustrations
Craig Braun   Concept
Wayne Carson Thompson   Composer
Joseph Armstead   Composer
Craig Bruan   Artwork
J.P Bean   Liner Notes

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