Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tribute to JJ Cale Volume 1 The Vocal Sessions

(Zoho) JJ Cale is great because his compositions could be picked up by hard rocking arena giants who wanted to reveal their ability to do something rootsy with heart, and somehow they would never fall flat on their faces. John W. Cale made Eric Clapton, Skynyrd (the great “”Call Me the Breeze,” not covered here), and even Widespread Panic seem smart and sensitive. Despite a growling cover of “Cocaine” by hard rocking Rufus Hall and band, this album seems to be as much about JJ the recording artist as JJ the songwritier, not only ignoring his more famous Clapton composition (“After Midnight”) but choosing songs that were highlights on Cale’s beloved, if not top selling, records. Lots of guitar rock on this, some nice vocal group offerings from the mighty Persuasions, and some jaunty Southern Rock from Dixie Tabernacle. What sells me most here is the twang factor when Tim and Roddy Smith's Groove Gang (with Darryl Johnson) do “Louisiana Woman,” which reminds me of a better band backing up Vince Gill in his commercial prime. They  should have called this tribute “Cale and Response.”

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