JJ Cale - Naturally
My artist for this week is the fabulous American guitarist, singer, songwriter JJ Cale. Born in 1938 he died in 2013 of a heart attack aged 74. Although, very successful he was one of those super talented musicians who I don't think received the public recognition that his talent deserved. Despite his songs being covered by some of the greats such as Eric Clapton, JJ Cale shied away from the limelight and spent the eighties as a recluse. I am fairly certain that I may have overlooked this great artist if it hadn't been for my good friend Bob, who sadly died last year. Bob loved his surfing and his weed and pre children in the seventies, he and I, and a group of friends would spend many an evening sitting around playing vinyl on our latest decks, debating the pros and cons of Wharfedale speakers and using the album covers to roll a continuous flow of spliffs to accompany the music. It was during one of these sessions that Bob introduced us to the sounds of JJ Cale. The songs and guitar playing were so fantastic I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of this great musician before and I was totally hooked. Again, it's difficult to pigeonhole Cale's music genre wise I have heard it described as the Tulsa sound which is where JJ Cale was raised in Oklahoma.
A musical mix of blues, rockabilly, country and jazz. To be honest I am not really bothered, to me, it's just a great sound and music that when I listen to it today lifts my spirits. I will always be grateful to my dear friend Bob for introducing me to the great JJ Cale. There are so many wonderful tracks to recommend including Cocaine and After Midnight, Magnolia, Nowhere to Run, but to be honest, why not just select any of his albums to try, because if you enjoy great guitar playing, great vocals and great songs you can't really go wrong by choosing a JJ Cale vinyl.
My favourite album design has to be on the album "Naturally, which happens to be the first JJ Cale album that Bob introduced me to back in the 1970's. I have no idea what the significance of a giant raccoon wearing a pink coat, carrying a stick and a top hat with a dog at his feet is all about. However, as you can imagine, it made for a perfect discussion point whilst the next spliff was being rolled. In memory to my dear friend Bob, hopefully surfing the waves somewhere listening to the sounds of JJ Cale blasting out from a pair of 1970 Wharfedales.