1) Lies 2) Everything Will Be Alright 3) I'll Kiss The World Goodbye
4) Changes 5) Right Down Here 6) If You're Ever In Oklahoma
7) Ridin' Home 8) Going Down 9) Soulin' 10) Playing In The Street 11) Mo
Jo 12) Louisiana Women
J.J. Cale albums
are virtually impossible to review because they all sound the same. I’m
not trying to weasel out of writing at length, or take the easy way out, it is just absolutely true…virtually every
album of his sounds the same. The great part about that is, if you like even
one, you’ll like them all.
recorded and released shortly after “Naturally,” features (obviously) more of the same jazz,
blues, country feel, with a wee bit more of a bluegrass lean. Three of the songs
include the immortal Vasser Clements, probably the greatest fiddle player to ever live.
He proves his worth on each of his guest appearances heard here, and those three songs rule in all their hoedown, clap
your hands, kiss your cousin glory. To make way for the bluegrass style, Cale
pushed aside his more R and B muse, but it does creep up every now and again, particularly on the first two tracks…
opens the album with its hit single rhythm and funky groove…one of his best. Cale
just plays and sings with so much confidence, like he is too cool to care. “Everything
Will Be Alright” has a silky smooth jazz piano, and a fake ending. After
a few seconds pause, the bass and piano come storming back in to really make this song stand out in Cale’s catalog. The under two minute “I’ll Kiss the World Goodbye” is more
countryish, with a great Jerry Garcia solo in the middle and moves in all the right places, sounding a little more sunny than
the rest of the album.
is another absolutely killer tune, moody, cocksure, with just so much Southern, roughneck tough. “Right Down Here” is much more funky, with an everglades feel, utilizing an
organ pounding out the rhythm, strange churchy solo, and some congos keeping beat, while the bluegrass returns with “If
You’re Ever In Oklahoma,” complete with that gripping fiddle…I LOVE THAT SOUND. The lyrics, from an old Sooner himself, are perfect, but not as perfect as his guitar solo. “Ridin' Home” is all Twenties ragtime, with an authentic pulse and stylish piano,
played by Cale (he also plays bass and drums on this track as well).
Down” is a cover of a Don Nix tune, with a great bass run and some fine electric piano, again played by Cale. It cooks and really gets your foot moving, while “Soulin'” is
a slower, mid-tempo blues, with some great slide guitar work. Somehow, clocking
in at under two-minutes, “Playing In The Street” is jammed full of bluegrass energy, with Clements on
fiddle again. I could listen to him pick forever, no joke, and this is one of
my favorite Cale songs. “Mo Jo” was, by far, the latest
song to be recorded for the album…a full three months after every other tune.
Why it took so long, I have no idea, as this is just a cover of a M. Morganfield track, bass dominated, and sounding
like about a million other old time bluesy offerings. It is still a great track,
full of feel, but if you’re gonna take three months to include something, give me another original instead (though I
do LOVE the line…”I got my mojo working, it just don’t work on you”).
The closing “Louisiana Women” brings back Clements, so it immediately moves to the upper echelons
of Cale songs in my mind.
If you liked “Naturally,” you’ll like
this. The quality of tunes is down (but there is still not one filler song),
and although it is the same length of time as its predecessor, it feels all to brief, perhaps from being less diverse. Nonetheless, the performance is still great, and there are a few absolutely indispensable
Cale offerings. Because of Clements, we’ll label this Cale’s bluegrass
album, and no, it isn’t his best, but it ain’t far behind.