Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shelter Records: Crazy Mama

A little over a month ago, the world lost a unique and talented musician, J.J. Cale. Although he had recorded at least six singles between 1958 and 1966, he hadn’t had any major musical success until Eric Clapton recorded one of his compositions, “After Midnight,” in 1970. At the urging of a friend, he recorded his first album “Naturally” in 1970 and 1971 to capitalize on his new found fame.

Released on Shelter Records in 1972, the album featured three singles “Magnolia,” “Crazy Mama” and his second recording of “After Midnight.” Several of the LP’s cuts would later be covered by other artists and included “Call Me the Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Clyde” by both Dr. Hook and Waylon Jennings, and “Bringing it Back” by Kansas.

“Crazy Mama” was released twice – first as the flip side of “Magnolia” in September 1971; neither side charted at that time. This particular single listed the yet unreleased album under its working title of “The J.J. Cale Album” and identifies Cale’s songwriting credits under his legal name of John W. Cale. “Crazy Mama” was later re-released as an “A” side in January 1972. The second time around it peaked at #22 and remains Cale’s only Top 40 single. The second release listed his songwriter credits under his stage name of John J. Cale.

“Crazy Mama” was recorded in September 1970 and features Cale on guitar and vocals, Mac Graydon on the wah-wah slide guitar, Carl Radle on bass, Karl Himmel on drums, and Diane Davidson on background vocals.

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