Everything You’d Hope For if You Could Bottle the Tulsa Breeze.
Here’s an interesting question …….. has JJ Cale ever wrote a bad song? Obviously some are better than others; but a bad one? One that makes you either roll your eyes or…… press ‘skip’ on the CD player? I can’t think of one; which brings us to this wonderful release of never before released tracks; which begs another question …… why have we not heard them before?
Selecting an opening track must have been a nightmare; but I can’t think of anything here that’s any more ‘quintessential Cale’ as Lights Down Low which captures the warmth in the man’s voice and words that many have tried to copy; but always failed.
I’ve played STAY AROUND in fits and starts over the last couple of weeks; but used as the soundtrack to a delightful drive around the Durham Dales on Easter Monday in the Spring Sunshine; and with Oh My Oh My,
Long About Sundown and the title track Stay Around wafting from the speakers I could just as easily have been in the Oklahoma foothills.
Because this is JJ Cale there is a delightful flow to the way the songs are laid out here, with nothing getting noisier than 4 on the dial nor lower than 3; while each is individual in it’s very own rite.
As a bit of a fan; there are joyous discoveries around every corner, not least My Baby Blues, the only song not written by JJ but by his wife Christine; and the highlight is some sublime slide guitar that brings out the joy in her lyrics like pepper does to a strawberry.
As this is an album to wallow in, so selecting a single song as a Favourite is like choosing a favourite child……. but a couple do stand out and could easily have been Classics had they been released in JJ’s lifetime; Stay Around and Girl of Mine both sweep along like a summer breeze, album closer Don’t Call Me Joe is perfect for late night radio and while it didn’t fit into my car journey; Winter Snow will surely find its way onto many other songwriter’s albums before this year is out. Then there is Tell You About Her which really is the ‘great lost JJ Cale song’ ……. why was this left off whatever album it was recorded for? I’m stumped if I can give you an answer.
I’m normally nervous of posthumous releases of material like this; but knowing the way his family and Christine in particular cherish his memory, I knew these songs were being released for ‘people to hear’ and not just as a ‘cash in;’ which is the case with far too many other artistes.
Released April 26th 2019