J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

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    J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    J.J. Cale, (not to be confused with John Cale of VU fame), is considered a true American original of the highest order.  Not only has his trademark guitar style had an impact, his songwriting genius has gone far beyond his own recordings.  

    He's been admired and emulated by his peers throughout his career.  His songs have been covered by a staggering number of impressive, high calibre artists such as Johnny Cash, Santana, Bryan Ferry, Deep Purple, Chet Atkins, and the inimitable Eric Clapton.   Cale's influence created a framework for an entire era of Clapton's music; in addition, Clapton's covers of "After Midnight" and "Cocaine", both written by Cale, became two of his signature songs.  J.J. Cale also provided the musical and vocal blueprint for Dire Straits. 
     
    Yet, none of Cale's albums ever reached the top 40 charts.  He had one top hit recording, "Crazy Mama", and as legend has it, Cale was fine with all of this.  At no time did he begrudge the fame and fortune of more high profile musicians who covered his songs.  He could have risen to a different level of stardom any time he wanted, but he chose to maintain his laid back style and a low profile, and as he put it, be the "Howard Hughes of rock 'n' roll."

    Cale arrived when most LPs featured lengthy, epic songs, often referred to as "suites" -- but Cale went for old style pop records that lasted 3 to 4 minutes in length.  It has been said that Cale's brilliant debut album was his best, that the crop of songs and music were insurpassable, yet he has a roster of close to 20 original albums, and a bunch of anthologies and greatest hits, and platinum collection albums to his name.  He's continued to collaborate with Eric Clapton for years and Clapton appears on many of his album tracks.

    Cale was born in 1938, and is still going strong.  There's too much to say about him (and it's all interesting and fun reading).  Any J. J. Cale fans out there?   Thoughts, anyone?  
     
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    Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    I never would have known who he was if not for Eric Clapton.

    Possibly this could be said for so many of the Blues/Folk artists of the past. Thanks to many Rock acts of the late 60's, We know who they are.

    Many of us would never have bought a record by J.J.Cale, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf , Woody Guthrie , Pete Seeger , Lightnin' Slim, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown or Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, if not for Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Rory Gallagher, Ten Years After , the Butterfield Blues Band or any of dozens of 60's artists who covered this music and/or paid tribute to these rather obscure ( at the time ) artists.
     
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    Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    Part of my reason for posting about him, Zilla.  Cale was born in 1938, so is a peer of Clapton.   Yet, Cale, who was making plenty of his own albums, remained obscure (as you point out) in his day.  

    I heard Cale's own version of "After Midnight" (from his album, "Naturally") on WUMB recently, and was blown away by how good it was.  

    He had a chance (and was encouraged) to go on American Bandstand to raise his visibility with "Crazy Mama", but he declined because a condition was put on his appearance that he did not agree with.  
    Note: Anyone know what the condition was?

    I mean, Cale didn't compromise, and didn't care if it cost him a higher profile.  
     
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    Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    I love JJ Cale. Of course everyone knows him from EC & After Midnight. Lynyrd Skynyrd also had a pretty big hit with one of his songs, Call Me The Breeze.
     
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    Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    I always liked his sound.  Not the best songwriter (pretty good), but it's really his laid back style and sound that does it for me. And I'm a sucker for anything mid tempo, which is a staple of his.  Gotta be in the mood for it too. It's good rainy day music or party/background music, too.  Widespread Panic likes to cover his material.  Ride Me High is always a fave.

    And yeah, I probably never would have stumbled across him if not for Clapton making him a common name in mainstream music.
     
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    Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all

    In Response to Re: J. J. Cale - Lowest profile of them all:
    [QUOTE] He had a chance (and was encouraged) to go on American Bandstand to raise his visibility with "Crazy Mama", but he declined because a condition was put on his appearance that he did not agree with.   Note: Anyone know what the condition was? I mean, Cale didn't compromise, and didn't care if it cost him a higher profile.  
    Posted by yogafriend[/QUOTE]

    J.J. Cale refused to lip sync and perform without his band; that's the reason he refused to appear on American Bandstand back in his day.  

    Can you imagine how many musicians would hold that standard now?   It's more like, "hey, man, you don't expect us to sing live, do ya?"   

    And to reiterate (am I harping? :) ), I heard a J.J. Cale song (that sparked this thread) on WUMB, and that's just a tiny sneak peek as to what you will hear on a station playlist, depending on the program.  

     

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