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The Very Best of J.J. Cale

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: The Very Best of J.J. Cale

Artist: J.J. Cale
Genre: Blues, Rock/Pop, Country
Release Date: June 1998

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

J.J. Cale's legend was furthered two fold once other popular artists started covering his material. Most notably, Eric Clapton (who sounds like Cale) turned "Cocaine" and "After Midnight" into huge mainstream hits while southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd did the same with "Call Me The Breeze." In fact, most people do not realize that these songs are Cale's. The laid back down home Oklahoman does not mind one bit, he equates it to finding oil in his own backyard. "The Best of JJ Cale-20th Century Masters" sums up his recorded works briefly but marvelously.

Cale's bluesy country fried rock influenced generations of artists, and he continues to do so. Because of his across-the-board musical style, you could easily find his influence in any popular genre today. J.J. never gave in to the status quo; he would not grant interviews and kept to himself so he could concentrate on his music alone. The result of that resolute focus on his art has produced some of his most brilliant music since his recording career started. He has inspired greats like Clapton and Santana to cover his best work; opening doors that could have just as easily been slammed shut forever. I think other artists that may have tendency to be a little heady should take heed of the humble way he has handled his career. While listening to the last song in the collection titled "Carry On," I heard Mark Knopfler loud and clear. He obviously felt stirred by the work of the reclusive string bender early on in his career. Listen to that song and tell me if you do not here Dire Straits?

While 11 tracks is just the tip of the iceberg for his volume of work, this is an excellent way to get some exposure to this critically acclaimed guitar player. Even though he has shunned the spotlight in exchange for less notoriety and peace of mind, his legend continues to grow in spite of it. With a high profile release such as this, he is bound to gain more fans onboard that lonesome train that he is riding. Somehow, I know that he keeps himself in good company, and the reason his music is so unfettered and wholesome is his attitude toward life. Everything is plain and simple for J.J. Cale. Listen to his music and you will come to know the man.

1. Call Me the Breeze (Cale) - 2:38
2. Crazy Mama (Cale) - 2:31
3. Magnolia (Cale) - 3:24
4. After Midnight (Cale) - 2:23
5. Lies (Cale) - 2:58
6. Cajun Moon (Cale) - 2:17
7. Travilin' Light (Cale) - 2:56
8. Cocaine (Cale) - 2:55
9. I'll Make Love to You Anytime (Cale) - 3:13
10. Sensitive Kind (Cale) - 5:09
11. Carry On (Cale) - 2:19


Bob Holmes - Horn Arrangements
Dianne Davidson - Vocals (bckgr)
J.J. Cale - Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals, Producer, Slide Guitar, Gut String Guitar
Mac Gayden - Guitar
Barry Beckett - Piano (Electric)
Harold Bradley - Guitar
Chuck Browning - Drums
Kenneth A. Buttrey - Drums
Marvin Chantry - Strings
Roy Christensen - Strings
Tommy Cogbill - Bass
Ed Colis - Harmonica
Tim Drummond - Bass
Joel Green - Bass
Buddy Harmon - Drums
Roger Hawkins - Drums
Karl Himmel - Drums
David Hood - Bass
Bill Humble - Horn
Jimmy Johnson - Guitar
Jim Karstein - Percussion
Carol Kaye - Bass
Russ Kunkel - Drums
Sheldon Kurland - Strings
Christine Lakeland - Organ, Vocals (bckgr) r
Kenny Malone - Drums
Farrell Morris - Percussion
Cam Mullins - String Arrangements
Weldon Myrick - Guitar
Norman Ray - Horn
Norbert Putnam - Bass
Carl Radle - Bass
Don Sheffield - Horn
Tommy Tedesco - Guitar
George Tidwell - Horn
Jerry Whitehurst - Piano
Terry Williams - Horn
Beegie Cruzer - Piano (Electric)



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