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Review: 'CALE, JJ'
'Stay Around'   

-  Label: 'Because Music'
-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '26th April 2019'

Our Rating:
Although he died in 2013, this is the first posthumous album by bluesman JJ Cale. The tracks were selected by those closest to him: his widow and musician Christine Lakeland Cale together with his longtime manager, Mike Kappus.

All the songs are previously unreleased studio and home recordings chosen from three decades worth of outtakes that never made it onto the albums of his substantial back catalogue. The only song not written by him is My Baby Blues, the first song recorded with his wife in 1977, the year they met.

Kappus points out that none are rough demos saying “These were songs he really did intend to do something with because they were carried to his typical level of production for release”.

In the 1950s Cale was credited with helping to develop the laid-back “Tulsa sound,” alongside fellow Oklahoma natives David Gates of Bread and Leon Russell. It’s fair to say he was more of a musician’s musician than a star name in his own right and is perhaps best known for Eric Clapton’s covers of 'After Midnight' and 'Cocaine'. Neil Young and Beck are among countless other artists who have spoken of his brilliance.

The tracks chosen for ‘Stay Around’ provide 15 reasons why he was so highly revered by his peers but also illustrates why he never achieved the same level of fame as them.

They exhibit an effortlessly relaxed groove with the sole aim seeming to be that of tapping into a peaceful, easy feeling. He’s so chilled he makes Mark Knopfler sound high energy.

Despite the mellow mood, the sexual undercurrents are potent. For instance, you hear his friskiness in the title track (“Let’s make love one more time”) and again in Oh My My (“She’s got a body caught my eye”. On Don’t Call Me Joe, a pretty woman in his bed is the reason why he is not hanging out with his friends and his desire to Go Downtown is not because he needs to do the shopping!

In short, if you're on a quest for slow blues tunes with a libidinal aesthetic then look no further.

JJ Cale’s website
  author: Martin Raybould

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CALE, JJ - Stay Around