This picture (by Gijsbert Hanekroot) should go in the blank white space*
He was known to the public at large as the writer of Eric Clapton's hits "After Midnight" and "Cocaine." But then, he never wanted to be known to the public at large.
Oddly, people cover "Call Me the Breeze" on Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute albums...even though Lynyrd Skynyrd's version was a cover of J.J. Cale.
He was called J.J. rather than the name he used in the first half of his life, John, to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground's John Cale.
Neil Young once said, "Of all the players I ever heard, it's gotta be Hendrix and J.J. Cale who are the best electric guitar players." Eric Clapton said simply that J.J. Cale was the person he most admired.
If you're unfamiliar with him, download "Naturally" from iTunes, his 1971 debut effort for Denny Cordell and Leon Russell's Shelter Records. You'll either be hooked or you won't be—Cale was laid-back to a fault, and sounded just like an old black man even when he was a young white man. The modality is country blues, the riff on it unique.
I adore the song "Magnolia." But "Clyde" no less, really.
Late in life he said, "If it weren't for Eric Clapton, I'd be selling shoes now."
He died of a heart attack on Friday, age 74. On jjcale.com it says, "Donations are not needed but he was a great lover of animals so, if you like, you can remember him with a donation to your favorite local animal shelter."
You know what's playin' Chez TOP today on the downstairs system. J.J. Cale on scratchy old vinyl. Perfect art.
(Thanks to Steve Rosenblum)
"Open Mike" is a series of off-topic essays by Yr. Hmbl. Ed. that appear here on Sundays.
*But I don't want G*tty climbing up my a**.
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Featured Comments from:
Andrew Molitor: "Cale's a perfect metaphor for a lot of what I think about photography. Some of his best recordings are just some session players he grabbed from someplace and a drum machine. You don't need a bunch of gear to make great music. You don't even need good gear. You didn't even need gear capable of making particularly high fidelity recordings. What you need, what you can't escape from, is some great music. Extending this to photography is left as an exercise for the student!"
Hans Muus: "Don't know where to begin—there are so many Cale songs that I love. 'Crazy mama,' on the first album (Naturally), will always be one of my favourites (note the beautiful, archetypical wah-wah slide guiter by Mac Hayden that fits in so well with the groove that J.J. Cale is laying down). And I was there at the (single) concert Cale gave in 1974 in Amsterdam where the backstage picture by Gijsbert Hanekroot was taken that TOP is linking to! J.J. Cale, sitting on a chair, half of the time with his back to the auditorium, seemed a little shy. The show lasted exactly sixty minutes—we were actually surprised it was over so fast. To my (young) mind, there were quite a few old blokes in his band—but they all played marvelously, including the almost invisible master himself. (In the Europe of that time, rock music was pretty much a youth-only thing.)
"In later years, my musical friends and I have practiced hours and hours on end trying to emulate the typical Cale sound. It is all about laying down the right groove, in which each single instrument involved does very little individually, but what it does has to be just right. A true joy when it happens (not very often...) and a thing of beauty when you hear it practiced by J.J. Cale and his friends.
"I hope he has not suffered much and may rest in peace. Been listening to his music (LPs and CDs) for the past two days to no end."