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Fly Fishing People: Joe Cocker

Posted on June 15 2008

Driving back from Fort Lauderdale after my Bahamas trip yesterday, I found myself in that radio-wave dead zone known as Alligator Alley. Actually it’s not that you can’t find any music on Alligator Alley, it’s just that it inevitably turns out to be a rumba or samba, or some relic from a music collection that might have been purchased in a gated-community yard sale. Then I heard “Up Where We Belong,” sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, and decided out of boredom to actually listen to the lyrics. They weren’t bad at all. But of course I prefer the live version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” or “Feelin’ Alright.”
Turns out the arm-flailing artist now makes his home in Crawford, Colorado, where after fifteen years he has managed to blend in with the locals. And besides growing tomatoes and riding horses, Cocker likes to spend his time fly fishing in the Gunnison. “He said the flailing was a subconscious motion — what he would do if he could play a musical instrument. But he can’t, ‘because I have these fat thumbs,’ he said, holding up two meaty digits. His version of air guitar is toned down in his performances nowadays. But his friends say occasionally his right arm will go into motion when he’s caught up in a close snooker game.” Nancy Lofholm in the Denver Post.

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