Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rock In Peace J.J. Cale

I said to my wife yesterday, “J.J. Cale died on Friday.” To which she replied, “Who’s J.J. Cale?” Knowing that she is not an aficionado of much of the music to which I am familiar, my answer was simply, “He’s the guy who wrote ‘After Midnight.’” That and a lot of other things, but I assume that will be some folks only frame of reference which is sad – as he was a talented songwriter and musician that never got his due. Neil Young once said that the two greatest guitarists were Jimi Hendrix and J.J. Cale – that’s good company from a guy who is not too shabby on his own Gretsch White Falcon.

Cale’s biggest solo hit was “Crazy Mama,” which made it to #22 in 1972. I didn’t pick that particular tune, as I am planning on using it at the end of August during our fourth week special on Shelter Records. He had two other singles to chart – his version of “After Midnight” and “Lies” – both peaking at #42.

Clapton’s release of “After Midnight,” which charted at #18, predated Cale’s charting version of the tune by two years. I’ve already featured Cale’s and Clapton’s versions of the song several years ago. Cale had originally recorded “After Midnight” in 1966 as the “B” side of the single “Slow Motion.”

“Lies,” today’s feature, was the lead cut from his second album “Really.” While the album was released in 1973, the single came out in November 1972. Lies was the only cut from the album that was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

He would return to Quinvy Studio in the same city to record two further cuts. The remainder of the album was recorded at three studios in and around Nashville. Cale wrote ten of the 12 cuts on the album. Of the other tunes, one was from Muddy Waters and the other from Shelter Records’ label-mate Don Nix.

Cale died on Friday in La Jolla, California of a heart attack. He was 74 years old. Long live this guitar and songwriting genius – Rock In Peace.

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