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Rock - Released April 26, 2019 | JJ Cale

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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J.J. Cale was the embodiment of cool blues. With his atypical blend of rock, folk, country, blues and jazz, he was one of the most influential figures in rock'n' roll. Worshipped by Clapton, the Cocaine writer who spent most of his time in a mobile home remains the essence of a laid-back and relaxed musical style. For his fans, Stay Around is a gift from heaven. This posthumous record from April 2019 brings together fifteen unreleased songs mixed and produced by Cale himself and compiled by his widow, Christine Lakeland, and his old collaborator and manager Mike Kappus. "I wanted to find stuff that was completely unheard to max-out the ‘Cale factor'," says Lakeland, "using as much that came from John’s ears and fingers and his choices as I could, so I stuck to John’s mixes. You can make things so sterile that you take the human feel out. But John left a lot of that human feel in. He left so much room for interpretation.” Obviously, all these gems - from the stripped back Oh My My My to the more elaborate Chasing You - do not change anything at all about what we knew and loved about this king of cool. The quality of Stay Around, which never sounds slap-dash, proves that the man took every second of his art seriously. And as always with him, we come out of this posthumous album with the feeling of having fully lived a human and warm encounter. A sincere and engaging experience, connected to the soul and the gut. Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 1972 | Universal International Music B.V.

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
J.J. Cale's debut album, Naturally, was recorded after Eric Clapton made "After Midnight" a huge success. Instead of following Slowhand's cue and constructing a slick blues-rock album, Cale recruited a number of his Oklahoma friends and made a laid-back country-rock record that firmly established his distinctive, relaxed style. Cale included a new version of "After Midnight" on the album, but the true meat of the record lay in songs like "Crazy Mama," which became a hit single, and "Call Me the Breeze," which Lynyrd Skynyrd later covered. On these songs and many others on Naturally, Cale effortlessly captured a lazy, rolling boogie that contradicted all the commercial styles of boogie, blues, and country-rock at the time. Where his contemporaries concentrated on solos, Cale worked the song and its rhythm, and the result was a pleasant, engaging album that was in no danger of raising anybody's temperature. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1976 | Universal International Music B.V.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Producer Audie Ashworth introduced some different instruments, notably vibes and what sound like horns (although none are credited), for a slightly altered sound on Troubadour. But J.J. Cale's albums are so steeped in his introspective style that they become interchangeable. If you like one of them, chances are you'll want to have them all. This one is notable for introducing "Cocaine," which Eric Clapton covered on his Slowhand album a year later. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Blues - Released March 9, 2009 | Because Music

Distinctions 3F de Télérama
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Blues - Released October 31, 2006 | Reprise

Rock - Released May 21, 2001 | Because Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Island Mercury

J.J. Cale's The Definitive Collection is an excellent single-disc collection from one of the most influential singer/songwriters to emerge from America during the '70s. Just as Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark define Texas songwriting, Cale is the epitome of the Oklahoma writers. Although most people know him as the writer of Eric Clapton's hit "Cocaine," Cale constantly offered up other quality material that could only be defined by his vocal style, which can accurately be described as "reclining in the groove." Popular tunes such as "Call Me the Breeze," "Hey Baby" and "Crazy Mama" have a deceptively laid-back intensity that to a large degree influenced such rockers as Lowell George of Little Feat and the previously mentioned Clapton. Cale's guitar work proved to be influential as well (again on Clapton), but also popular swamp rockers such as Delaney Bramlett. The Definitive Collection offers a comprehensive collection from Cale's early-'70s recordings in Nashville, to Muscle Shoals in Alabama, to his later work on Hollywood. If you're going to explore Cale's groove, this is the place to start. © Matthew Greenwald /TiVo

Rock - Released August 3, 2004 | Because Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | EMI

Although it is a little too extensive for casual fans, the double-disc, 50-track Anyway the Wind Blows: The Anthology is a definitive retrospective of J.J. Cale's career, featuring all the highlights over the years. Cale's albums often sound similar, but they are remarkably uneven in terms of quality, which is what makes Anyway the Wind Blows essential for both neophytes and collectors. Not only is it a perfect introduction, containing of such essentials as "Cocaine," "Call Me the Breeze," and "After Midnight," but it is one of his most consistently listenable and enjoyable discs. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1974 | Universal International Music B.V.

Cale moves toward country and gospel on some songs here, but since those are two of his primary influences, the movement is slight. And longtime producer Audie Ashworth attempts to place more emphasis on Cale's vocals on some songs by double-tracking them and pushing them up in the mix. But much of this is still low-key and bluesy in what was becoming Cale's patented style. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Universal International Music B.V.

As Cale's influence on others expanded, he just continued to turn out the occasional album of bluesy, minor-key tunes. This one was even sparer than usual, with the artist handling bass as well as guitar on many tracks. Listened to today, it sounds so much like a Dire Straits album, it's scary. (Mark Knopfler & Co. had appeared in 1978, seven years after Cale.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Rock - Released April 26, 1996 | Because Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 1980 | Universal International Music B.V.

From 1981, this was J.J. Cale's sixth album (following the succinctly titled NUMBER 5, and returning to his tradition of single-word album titles). Though Cale didn't use one constant band throughout the album, it's got a remarkably unified feeling. This is in part due to the great musicians on hand (pianist Bill Payne, drummers Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel, and guitarist James Burton among others), but primarily to Cale himself. His songs and his overal approach to music are all-encompassing; the seductive and laid-back grooves his rhythm sections empower are written into the very fabric of the songs. "Carry On," "Pack My Jack"--these are songs of simple, sturdy strengths, succinctly written and concisely rendered. There are never any stray notes or decorative filigrees. Friendly and inviting, SHADES sounds good in any season and at any time of day (and may be some of the best hangover cure music around). © TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1982 | Universal International Music B.V.

J.J. Cale drifts toward a more pop approach on this album, starting with the lead-off track, "City Girls," which could almost but not quite be a hit single. The usual blues and country shuffle approach is in effect, but Audie Ashworth's production is unusually sharp, the playing has more bite than usual, and Cale, whose vocals are for the most part up in the mix, sounds more engaged. It's not clear, however, that this is an improvement over his usual laidback approach, and, in any case, it shouldn't be over-emphasized -- this is still a J.J. Cale album, with its cantering tempos and single-note guitar runs. It's just that, when you have a style as defined as Cale's, little movements in style loom larger. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Rock - Released July 13, 1994 | Because Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

As Cale's influence on others expanded, he just continued to turn out the occasional album of bluesy, minor-key tunes. This one was even sparer than usual, with the artist handling bass as well as guitar on many tracks. Listened to today, it sounds so much like a Dire Straits album, it's scary. (Mark Knopfler & Co. had appeared in 1978, seven years after Cale.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1972 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

J.J. Cale's guitar work manages to be both understated and intense here. The same is true of his seemingly offhand singing, which finds him drawling lines like "You get your gun, I'll get mine" with disarming casualness. But he has trouble coming up with original material as strong as that on his debut, and for some, his approach will be too casual; there are many times, when the band is percolating along and Cale is muttering into the microphone, that the music seems to be all background and no foreground. You may find yourself waiting for a payoff that never comes. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 1, 1989 | Silvertone

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Rock - Released February 4, 2011 | Sony Music UK

Rock - Released March 9, 2009 | JJ Cale

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While songwriter J.J. Cale has established himself as an elusive and even reluctant legend in popular music with his sporadic string of releases over the last 38 years, he's never drastically changed his approach. Cale is a workmanlike songwriter whose roots in blues, Okie folk, and roots rock music have been informing his tales of travel, nocturnal pleasure, and everyday life all the while. Even the acclaimed but spaced out Travel Log (which was Cale's equivalent to Neil Young's Trans) never managed to root his sound that far afield from its wellspring. 2009's Roll On, is more strange, laid-back grooves and road-weary tales of quark strangeness and charm from an inveterate master. Where the erratic but acclaimed Road to Escondido with Eric Clapton reeked of laziness and kitsch, Roll On is steeped deep in slow boogie, slower jump jazz, swampy blues, and minor-key laid-back guitar workouts. Cale not only plays guitar and sings here, but on almost all of these cuts he does double and triple duty on drums, bass, and even Rhodes piano! His guests -- including Dave Teegarden and Jim Keltner on drums on a track each, and Clapton on one number -- only appear on four of these dozen tracks. Check, "Who Knew?," the jazzy shuffle that opens the set. Cale plays everything but the drum kit (Teegarden), and lays down a smoking set of Wes Montgomery-esque chords as well as some funky Rhodes. His syncopated vocals all slip right down the backbone of the blues with lyrics worthy of Louis Jordan. "Where the Sun Don't Shine" commences with some spooky synth loops (that could have come from Travel Log), and beefy guitars, with a rudimentary snare and hi-hat keeping the I-IV-V progression moving and popping. The guitars are pure Cale choogle and the bassline is just off enough from the main rhythmic progression to add a freaky twist. Other standouts include the acoustic electric boogie "Strange Days," with some mutant five-string banjo and mandolin work from the artist; the triple-time, space groove of "Fonda-Lina" that feels like it was taken from a B-movie soundtrack during a motel lounge scene, and the popping roots rock of the title track with Slowhand and Keltner. This is a set that proves that Cale is still a vital artist who has a few interesting tricks up his sleeve, even if he doesn't change his attack all that much. Hell, he doesn't need to, he's got weight, sleight of hand, and the Okie soul in every cell of his being, and it all comes out in the tunes. This one is solid from top to bottom. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

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