Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

J.J. CALE

ROLL ON

2009-03-06

With his 70th birthday in the rear view mirror, a career that includes discs spanning back to 1971’s Naturally, and covers of his songs done by everyone from Clapton to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bobby “Blue” Bland, J. J Cale could be excused if he just rode his royalty checks into the sunset. Instead, he continues to pump out fine new material featuring his trademark razor-sharp guitar riffs, easy going vocals and well polished lyrics. This time around he takes a lustful look at women either selling themselves or willing to fall prey to his charms on the rollicking "Cherry Street", the sly, slinky "Down to Memphis" and the percussion fueled "Fonda-Lina" and reveals a bit of his inner grump on "Where the Sun Don’t Shine" where the object of his wrath is invited to “stick it.” "Former Me" finds Cale turning the tables as he flinches in surprise with the memory of who he used to be. "Strange Days" has a bluegrass groove of sorts while "Leaving in the Morning" is a low key number that finds Cale channeling Dylan circa Blood on the Tracks. "Old Friend" is an easy going, majestic mid-tempo number that could have come out of the late 60’s while the title track is a rocker featuring Eric Clapton that features some wonderfully intertwined guitar work from the two of them. And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks: "Who Knew" features some of Cale’s most buoyant vocal work ever with a bit of scat heating things up. Overall, another solid entry for this icon of American roots music. Smitty

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