Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joe Cocker: "Feelin' Alright" (by Dave Mason)

Music on Saturday @ The Reaction

By Richard K. Barry

I play in a rock 'n roll / blues band in and around Toronto. It's an eight piece with a four piece horn section. I'm on tenor sax. We're mostly middle-aged white guys, though Rosemary is on trumpet and young Ewan, a fairly recent jazz college grad, is on bone.

It's all for fun. If we can pay for gas to and from the gigs and buy a beer or three, we're ahead of game. But the gang can play.

At a practice three days before our last gig, just for fun, David on keys starting laying down the intro riff to "Feelin' Alright," which is a tune I know best as done by Joe Cocker. Our vocalist started to dig in, the horns found a part, our drummer made up something to do as did the lead guitarist and bass, and before you knew it we were in all in the middle of a very cool wall of sound.

Never played the song together before, and it probably would have sounded ragged to an outsider, but for that moment, we were all having a hell of a good time.

Three days later we played it at a gig and felt pretty good about it. It's one of those songs that doesn't make you want to move a lot, just a little bit in a very tight and self-contolled sort of way. It's also the kind of tune where it's easy for the band to forget the audience because the groove is so mesmerizing. They could get bored while we kind of play for ourselves. I don't know. But, if that happens occasionally, so what? Like I said, no one is getting rich.

By the time everyone has had a chance to take a solo, and it's time for the outro, everything does in fact feel all right. It's true.

Here's Joe Cocker with a great version. The song, if I am not mistaken, was written by Dave Mason in the late '60s, originally for the group Traffic.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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