Eldon Stoesz painted a Joe Cocker wall mural in the Mennonite Collegiate Institute boys lounge while I experimented with lighting Absorbine Jr. in puddles on the floor of my room in the residence. My roommate, a bully boy and an MLA’s son, flunked out by Christmas. I lived alone in room 32.

My late 1960s and early seventies were confused with religion (I was baptized, as an adult like a good Mennonite) desire, and drink. Turns out my playing Simon Stimson in Our Town in the MCI was prescient, as I conducted the Glenlea Church Choir, often with a skin-full

In  high-school, I related to Cocker, Crowbar, CSN&Y, Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Chicago, Cockburn, Lighthouse, Procul Harum, and Santana, writing their names on a sweat-shirt adding the names of drugs I had heard about in movies. I was dissuaded from being a poser, in a midnight intervention by Rick Vogt and somebody, (not famous) Bachman, who were serious about their drugs and alcohol.

This was my first experience as an impostor.

Rick played in a psychedelic rock band called “Hard Rain” achieving their zenith at a Portage Avenue “Come together” in 1972. He also won a Manitoba Music Festival singing category, singing Gilbert & Sullivan while lying on his back on a set piece he had designed for the purpose a year earlier. He died long before Joe Coker, who died tonight in England.

Happy trails, Joe. I’ve just loaded all your albums that I don’t own into my computer. The others there already.

My Joe Cocker top twelve –Joe Cocker standing a little rain

  1. My Baby Sent me a Letter
  2. Feeling Alright
  3. Don’t let me be misunderstood (just a smidge better than Eric Burdon’s version)
  4. I can stand a little rain
  5. Guilty
  6. Many Rivers to Cross
  7. You are so Beautiful
  8. Chain of Fools
  9. Don’t Give Up Me (also check out Solomon Burke’s versios
  10. With a Little Help from my friends
  11. 11. Lie to me
  12. 12. So good so right.

Good night Joe. May the angels sing back-up for you, as always.

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