Once A Day

Nick West's reviews for Bucketfull Of Brains and Rock'N'Reel

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Co-editor and publisher of Bucketfull Of Brains since 1996.

Friday, December 05, 2008


J. J. CALE

Rewind: Unreleased Recordings

(W14)

“We feel the time is right to share these recordings with J.J. Cale’s fans,” says the lady whose late husband sat on them for a quarter of a century. Just perhaps, the recent brand visibility of J. J. in consequence of The Road To Escondido, might be what has triggered the release of this deeply pleasant album.

Cale will always be best known for songs like ‘Cocaine’ and ‘After Midnight’; classic examples of his patented “Tulsa Sound”. A kind of laid-back, shuffling roots music pulling in equal measures of country, jazz, soul and blues. Music that’s impossible to dislike, but similarly impossible to get greatly enthusiastic about. Those two named songs were both covered by Eric Clapton and helped usher in his extended, three decades and still counting, easy listening phase.

The music here comes from various dates between 1973 and 1983. Some excellent musicians are involved; Richard Thompson, Glen D, Hardin, Spooner Oldham, and Jim Keltner. Their playing is brilliantly understated, and utterly unthreatening. Cale’s singing is, as ever, raw but not too raw. A couple of songs; Clapton’s ‘Golden Ring’ and Cale’s own ‘My Baby And Me’; reach towards southern soul and it’d be interesting to hear what Dan Penn might do with them.

Meanwhile Waylon Jennings’ ‘Waymore’s Blues’ presents itself as a cross between a country honk and a Garcia noodle and you recognise what this is; the perfect soundtrack to a long, mellow, stoned mid-Seventies afternoon.

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