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Sheffield Steel is Joe Cocker smost consistently pleasing program of tunes in many years. Island Records label boss Chris Blackwell took Joe Cocker to Compass Point studios in the Bahamas. With legendary session musicians Sly and Robbie and Wally Badarou, Cocker crafted this smooth, sun-kissed album of reggaefied covers, including Bob Dylan’s Seven Days, Jimmy Webb’s Just Like Always and Stevie Winwood’s Talking Back To The Night a full year before Winwood’s own version was released.Sheffield Steel has plenty of fine moments and in Cocker’s hands, the reggae classic “Many Rivers to Cross” becomes movingly autobiographical and Randy Newman’s Marie and Jimmy Webb’s Just like Always are two of the kind of romantic big ballads that Cocker does so well.
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