Joe Cocker found himself in the unusual position of having no band and several concert dates to play when his group Grease Band returned to England ahead of him. He then recruited over 40 of his friends and family to help out, and for the next six weeks, effectively created a touring commune. See more »
"Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is the account of Joe Cocker's 1970 American Tour. There is lots of great music, but the impression the film left me is what joy there is when good music is being made.
It was made in the same vein as "Woodstock" the 1970 Oscar winner for Best Documentary. "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is even better than "Woodstock". I don't want to sound like a spoiled sport, but the best parts of "Woodstock" were the musical sequences and "MDAE" is loaded with songs, 21 to be exact.
Cocker exudes a kind of kinetic energy rarely seen anymore. His body moves with the music. He isn't just singing; he feels it. And when the band finishes up with an exceptional take, we see the joy they feel. It was a highlight in "Woodstock" and here, with a 2 hour running time, you can't help but feel exhilarated after it ends. I know I did.
Sadly, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" is not as well known as "Woodstock", mostly due to the rights being in limbo for so long. Now, A&M Video preserves the film on tape, with the multi-image widescreen images intact and the result is a unearthed treasure. The album only covers some of the bases. The film covers them all.
**** out of 4 stars
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