JJ Cale

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JJ Cale
J.J. CALE.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJohn Weldon Cale
Born(1938-12-05)December 5, 1938
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 2013(2013-07-26) (aged 74)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
GenresAmericana, Cajun, blues, R&B, swamp rock, Red Dirt, Tulsa Sound
OccupationsMusician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, bass, drums
Years active1958–2013
LabelsShelter, Mercury, Polygram, Virgin, Rounder, Silvertone
Associated actsLeathercoated Minds, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell
Websitejjcale.com
 
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JJ Cale
J.J. CALE.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJohn Weldon Cale
Born(1938-12-05)December 5, 1938
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedJuly 26, 2013(2013-07-26) (aged 74)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
GenresAmericana, Cajun, blues, R&B, swamp rock, Red Dirt, Tulsa Sound
OccupationsMusician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, piano, keyboards, bass, drums
Years active1958–2013
LabelsShelter, Mercury, Polygram, Virgin, Rounder, Silvertone
Associated actsLeathercoated Minds, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell
Websitejjcale.com

John Weldon Cale[1] (December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013), known as JJ Cale or J.J. Cale, was an American singer-songwriter and musician who was one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz influences. Cale's personal style has often been described as "laid back".

Songs written by Cale that have been covered by other musicians include "After Midnight" by Eric Clapton and by Phish, "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton, "Clyde" by Waylon Jennings and Dr. Hook, and "Call Me the Breeze" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Mayer. In 2008 he was a Grammy Award winner, jointly with Clapton.

Life and career[edit source | edit]

Cale was born on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[1] He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1956. Along with a number of other young Tulsa musicians, Cale moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he first worked as a studio engineer.[2] Finding little success as a recording artist, he later returned to Tulsa and was considering giving up the music business until Clapton recorded Cale's "After Midnight" in 1970. His first album, Naturally, established his style, described by Los Angeles Times writer Richard Cromelin as a "unique hybrid of blues, folk and jazz, marked by relaxed grooves and Cale's fluid guitar and laconic vocals. His early use of drum machines and his unconventional mixes lend a distinctive and timeless quality to his work and set him apart from the pack of Americana roots-music purists."[3] In 2013 Neil Young remarked that of all the musicians he had ever heard, J.J. Cale and Jimi Hendrix were the two best electric guitar players.[4]

Some sources incorrectly give his real name as "Jean-Jacques Cale".[5] In the 2005 documentary, To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale, Cale talks about Elmer Valentine, co-owner of the Sunset Strip nightclub Whisky a Go Go, who employed him in the mid-1960s, being the one that came up with the "JJ" moniker to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground's John Cale. Rocky Frisco tells the same version of the story mentioning the other John Cale but without further detail.[6]

In this 2005 documentary J.J. Cale`s style is also characterized by Eric Clapton as "...really, really minimal..." and he states precisely: "...it`s all about finesse".

His biggest U.S. hit single, "Crazy Mama", peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. In the 2005 documentary film To Tulsa and Back Cale recounts the story of being offered the opportunity to appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand to promote the song, which would have moved it higher on the charts. Cale declined when told he could not bring his band to the taping and would be required to lip-sync the words.[7]

Cale often acted as his own producer, engineer and session player. His vocals, sometimes whispery would be buried in the mix. He attributed his unique sound to being a recording mixer and engineer, saying; "Because of all the technology now you can make music yourself and a lot of people are doing that now. I started out doing that a long time ago and I found when I did that I came up with a unique sound."[8]

The details of Cale's personal life remain sketchy, although he was described as "reclusive" and, by 2001, described himself as "semi-retired".[9]

Death[edit source | edit]

Cale died on July 26, 2013, at the age of 74, at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, California, after a heart attack at 8:00 PM.[10][11][12]

Covers[edit source | edit]

Songs written by Cale that have been covered by other musicians include "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton, "Clyde" by Dr. Hook and Waylon Jennings, "Call Me the Breeze" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Ride Me High" and "Travelin' Light" by Widespread Panic, "Bringing It Back" by Kansas, and "Magnolia" by Poco.

In 1974 Captain Beefheart covered the song "Same Old Blues" on his album Bluejeans & Moonbeams.

The 1992 track "Run" on Spiritualized's debut album, Lazer Guided Melodies, is essentially a cover of Cale's "Call Me the Breeze" with some additional lyrics. Cale is given songwriting credit on the album.

As well as covering "After Midnight" on his self-titled debut album in 1970 and "Cocaine" on Slowhand in 1977, Eric Clapton covered Cale's "I'll Make Love To You Anytime" on his 1978 album Backless. Other Clapton covers of Cale originals include "Travelin' Light" on his 2001 album Reptile, "River Runs Deep" and "Everything Will Be Alright" on his 2010 self-titled album Clapton, and "Angel" on his 2013 album Old Sock.

Discography[edit source | edit]

Source: [13]

Singles[edit source | edit]

Studio albums[edit source | edit]

Live album[edit source | edit]

Collaborative album[edit source | edit]

Albums featuring J.J. Cale[edit source | edit]

Compilations[edit source | edit]

Videos[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bio". JJ Cale official website. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Hoekstra, Dave (15 April 1990). "Songwriter J. J. Cale prefers to remain in the background". Chicago Sun-Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  3. ^ Cromelin, Richard (24 February 2009). "J.J. Cale rolls on". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2013). Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. ISBN 9781446414545. 
  5. ^ "J. J. Cale". poemhunter.com. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Obituary: JJ Cale was music’s towering figure". whereseric.com. July 28, 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "J. J. CALE BIOGRAPHY". Sing 365.com. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  8. ^ "Obituary: JJ Cale was music’s towering figure". gulfnews.com. July 28, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ "JJ Cale - Biography". rollingstone.com. 2001. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "JJ Cale passed away at 8:00 pm on Friday July 26 at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, CA.". JJ Cale official website. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Castillo, Mariano (27 July 2013). "Writer of hits JJ Cale dead at 74". CNN.com. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cale's agent confirms his death". The Rosebud Agency. 
  13. ^ "Music". JJ Cale official website. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c Cale, Johnny. law.emory.edu

External links[edit source | edit]