Artist: J.J. Cale
Album: Naturally
Year: 1972
Rec.: Mishail collection


01. Call Me the Breeze
02. Call the Doctor
03. Don't Go to Strangers
04. Woman I Love
05. Magnolia
06. Clyde
07. Crazy Mama
08. Nowhere to Run
09. After Midnight
10. River Runs Deep
11. Bring It Back
12. Crying Eyes

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J.J. Cale. Bio

His unique sound has profoundly influenced artists such as Eric Clapton and Dire Straits, and his songs have been covered by everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple, Johnny Cash, The Band, and Santana to Captain Beefheart, Bryan Ferry, The Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic. Untarnished by all the success, his self-effacing persona has endeared him to audiences throughout the world. And today, in an era dominated by pre-fab pop divas and assembly-line teenybopper acts, J.J. Cales authenticity and genuine talent are needed more than ever before.

Thankfully, after spending five years shunning the spotlight, Cale now returns to action to reveal a whole new side of his homegrown genius. J J Cale, Live, Cales first-ever live album, provides an exclusive look at his onstage prowess and documents his extraordinary bond with his fans. More than just a recitation of smash hits, its 14 songs include intimate explorations and dramatic reinterpretations of rock n roll classics, all performed by the man who wrote them.

It begins, fittingly enough, with a haunting rendition of "After Midnight," the song that launched Cales career. Millions of fans worldwide are familiar with Eric Claptons rendition that rocketed up the charts in 1970. Not only did "After Midnight" mark Cales first hit as a songwriter, it was Claptons first worldwide smash as a solo artist.

On Live, Cale captures a whole different mood from Claptons hard-driving performance. Recorded at New Yorks legendary Carnegie Hall, Cales solo version just vocals and guitar conjures an eerie, compelling vibe. "After Midnight is pretty stark," nods Cale, "which is how Ive been performing it a lot during the last ten years. I have some versions that are full tilt boogie rock n roll, but for this album I wanted to show that other side. As you play some songs over the years, you start changing em around to keep them fresh. You can hear the changes on this album, especially the first four songs that were recorded at Carnegie Hall. Theres nothing quite like that place. Its like the American dream for a musician."

Following "After Midnight" Cale brings bassist Bill Raffensperger, his longtime Tulsa buddy, onstage for a simple, elegant version of "Old Man." The CD then shifts into high gear on its third track, when Cale is joined by his entire band for a locomotive rendition of "Call Me The Breeze," a tongue-in-cheek classic recorded by numerous stars including Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In creating the album, Cale handpicked each song and sought to capture the feel and pacing of a live concert. "The albums structure pretty much reflects how we played the shows," Cale explains. "I would start off by myself, then bring on one of the band members, and over the course of a few songs we would gradually have the whole band."

Among its many highlights, Live combines well-covered songs such as "Magnolia" and "Cocaine" (another mega-hit for Eric Clapton in 1977) along with lesser known nuggets like "Thirteen Days," "Humdinger" and the minor-key marvel "Money Talks" which features vocals from guitarist Christine Lakeland, who co-wrote the song with Cale.

Spanning an astonishing range of moods, the album varies from the dark luster of "Sensitive Kind" (previously covered by Santana and John Mayall, on this version Cales guitar work perfectly defines the songs beautiful twilight atmospherics) to the gritty, straight-outta-the-honky-tonk energy of "People Lie," replete with hollering audience members.

Each track benefits from a highly personal treatment by Cale as he chronicles the songs that have defined his acclaimed career to date. In bringing those songs to life, Cale surrounds himself with musicians who know the music well including some old friends from the same Tulsa scene that Cale helped popularize along with Leon Russell. "Yeah, Bill Raffensperger [bass], Rocky Frisco [keyboards] and Jim Karstein [drums, percussion] have been playing with me for about forty years," Cale notes. "Christine Lakeland [guitar, vocals] and James Cruce [drums, percussion] are the new kids they both began playing with me in the80s."

Mirroring the long loyal friendship with his bandmates, Cale has stayed true to his musical roots. Those origins can be traced to Tulsa, where Cale began playing in clubs at age 17 and was soon leading his own band, Johnny Cale and the Valentines. In 1964 he moved to Los Angeles and began working as a studio engineer and playing live with a variety of musicians, including fellow Tulsa emigre Leon Russell and Delaney & Bonnies soon-to-be-famous entourage.

After Clapton recorded a cover of "After Midnight," Cale released his debut album Naturally in 1971, marking the beginning of a successful solo career. Through 12 studio albums (his most recent, Guitar Man, was released in 1996), Cale has concentrated on simply making great music, undistracted by the commercialism that permeates the record industry. "Ive written some very commercial tunes, but Ive just tried to focus on the music rather than the business," he explains. "I didnt want music to turn into a day gig. If you cant have fun making music, you might as well be selling shoes."

Cale continues to live life on his own terms. In the five years that have passed since the release of his last studio album, Cale has turned down virtually every offer to perform live or release new recordings. One exception is the song "Stone River," which Cale wrote and contributed to the Earthjustice Legal Defense Funds Fish Tree Water Blues album, a compilation project aiding in the struggle to save endangered fish and forests in the Pacific northwest.

Even more intriguing, Cale recently joined Eric Clapton in the recording studio to perform on the much-anticipated upcoming album by The Crickets, Buddy Hollys band. It was the first time that Clapton had recorded with the man he has admired for so many years. When recently asked by Mojo magazine "which musician (other than yourself) have you ever wanted to be?" Clapton named J.J. Cale. "I like his philosophy, writing skills and musicianship," Clapton explained. "Hes a fine, superior musician, one of the masters of the last three decades of music."

Now, J J Cale, Live offers fans new evidence of his mastery. By documenting Cales onstage magnetism, it illustrates yet another facet of his wide-ranging talent and attests to the enduring, timeless quality of his music.

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