Hail Hail JJ Cale

John Weldon Cale

By Walter Price

“When I heard it (“After Midnight”), I went, ‘Oh, man, I might stay with the music business.’ I was about ready to get out of it. I was playing Friday and Saturday nights and looking for a day job . . . . I knew enough about the business that you get a song on the radio, you’re gonna make some money.” – JJ Cale

December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013

Today we celebrate what would have been JJ Cale’s 75th Birthday.

Not the first of The Tulsa Sound but the man who refined, defined and popularized the widespread distinctive sound of the 70’s. So much so Eric Clapton adopted the laid back groove of Cale, Leon Russell, Elvin Bishop, The Gap Band and all the other greats of Oklahoma and surrounding Southwest region of the US.

“A strange hybrid. It’s not really blues, it’s not really folk or country or rock ‘n’ roll. It’s somewhere in the middle.” – Eric Clapton

As you may know, Cale was one of the most recorded songwriters for some 40 years and continues to influence thousands of up and coming and established artists today. You know the legendary relationship he had with Clapton through his recordings of “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” but I think Cale’s own albums and the other artists that recorded his tracks, there are hundreds, play a major role in music history.

Waylon Jennings, Skynyrd, John Mayer, Bobby Bare, Captain Beefheart have all found Cale’s lyrical offerings a path to take. 

“Most of the songs and the riffs – the way he plays the fucking guitar is so.. great. And he doesn’t play very loud, either – I really like that about him. He’s so sensitive. Of all the players I ever heard, it’s gotta be Hendrix and JJ Cale who are the best electric guitar players.” – Neil Young

If you haven’t been a fan of JJ Cale may we suggest you get started with Naturally (’72). Really (’73), Okie (’74), Troubadour (’76), Shades (’81), Travel Log (’90), Guitar Man (’96), To Tulsa & Back (’09) and The Very Best of JJ Cale (’98)…Get ‘Em!

I overly simplified the career and legacy of the great JJ Cale in this article so please check out Cale’s bio herethen get that section in your record collection started. You’ll be glad you did friends!

The best way to celebrate the day of birth of one of the great we thought this short film of JJ Cale and Leon Russell seemed perfect…And Hail, Hail to the King Of The Tulsa Sound! 

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