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Saturday, 5 December 2015

J.J. Cale born 5 December 1938

John Weldon Cale (December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013), professionally known as J.J. Cale, was an American singer-songwriter, recording artist and influential guitar stylist. Though he deliberately avoided the limelight his influence as a musical artist has been widely acknowledged by figures such as Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Eric Clapton who described him as “one of the most important artists in the history of rock”. He is considered to be one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz.
John Cale was born on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1956. As well as learning to play the guitar he began studying the principles of sound engineering early on while still living at home with his parents in Tulsa where he built himself a recording studio. After graduation he was drafted into military service studying at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Champaign, Illinois.
Along with a number of other young Tulsa musicians, Cale moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he found employment as a studio engineer. While living in Los Angeles he cut a demo single in 1966 with Liberty Records of his composition 'After Midnight'. He distributed copies of this single to his Tulsa musician friends living in L.A., many of whom were successfully finding work as session musicians.
Although he managed to find a regular spot at the Whisky a Go Go (which is where, according to his own testimony, Elmer Valentine suggested he call himself J.J. Cale to avoid confusion with John Cale of the Velvet Underground), he found little success as a recording artist and, not being able to make enough money as a studio engineer, he sold his guitar and returned to Tulsa where he joined a band with Tulsa musician Don White.

In 1970, it came to his attention that Eric Clapton had recorded a cover of "After Midnight" on his debut album in 1970. As a result of this, it was suggested to Cale that he should take advantage of this publicity and cut a record of his own. 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."

Throughout the '70s, Cale recorded and toured at a leisurely pace. His biggest U.S. hit single, "Crazy Mama", peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. Cale moved to Mercury Records in 1982, releasing two albums, Grasshopper (#149, 1982) and #8 (1983). Disappointed by their sales, he asked to be released from his contract. He spent the next six years living in a mobile home outside L.A., emerging only for an annual tour.
Cale released two albums on Silvertone, a U.K.-based independent label, Travelog (#131, 1990) and Number 10 (1992). He also produced John Hammond's Got Love If You Want It (1992) and Trouble No More (1994). Closer to You (1994) and Guitar Man (1996) continued Cale's trademark laid-back bluesy songwriting.
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.
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."
J.J. Cale died at the age of 74 in La Jolla, California, on July 26, 2013, after suffering a heart attack.  (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For J.J. Cale “Special Edition” go here:

01. Cocaine (02:52)
02. Don't Wait (03:09)
03. Magnolia (03:24)
04. Devil In Disguise (02:03)
05. Sensitive Kind (03:38)
06. Carry On (02:20)
07. After Midnight (02:24)
08. Money Talks (04:17)
09. Call Me The Breeze (02:36)
10. Lies (02:49)
11. City Girls (02:50)
12. Cajun Moon (02:15)
13. Don't Cry Sister (02:13)
14. Crazy Mama (02:23)