5

This glorious autumn weather seems to have gone on forever. Approaching the fag-end of April and we’re still getting cool hazy mornings opening up into amber afternoons.

Today offered yet another deeply varnished red-gold platter. I got home after some errands (that may or may not have facilitated the acquisition of a few records) and thought “It is without doubt time for a beer.”

So before the sun dipped its hat and the mercury sidled below back porch levels, I pulled out the canvas recliner and thought about who’d sit with me and sip a cleansing ale. 

No contest really. Have a chair, JJ Cale.

Tell us about your fifth album, JJ.

No response. 

Guess the man prefers to let the music do the talking, so I’ll fill in the gaps.

Released in 1979, 5 has a spare, stripped back sound. That may seem odd for a fella who doesn’t exactly rival Phil Spector for sonic excess, but this one is even simpler. The bluesy minor key songs rock comfortably like, um, a comfortable rocking chair on, er, a back porch. 

Things don’t get much more frantic than the mid-paced opener “Thirteen days”, with Billy Cox (Hendrix) on bass. The opening lines set a tone of low-key debauchery that seeps through the album.

Thirteen days on a gig in the South

We’ve got enough dope to keep us around

I always heard it as “we’ve got enough dope to keep us all out”. Much of a muchness, I guess. Later in the song the boys are smokin’ cigarettes and reefer, drinkin’ coffee and booze and trying to get into the jeans of the local waitress. Rock and roll on the road, on a budget.

Sometimes we make money, sometimes I don’t know

Now whether the waitress is the subject of the second song, “Boilin’ pot” is moot. But he is singing about her catching his eye and whispering in his ear “let’s do it right here”. Any comment, JJ? 

No, I thought not.

When I played guitar, I learned and strummed “I’ll make love to you anytime”. Badly, but with an enthusiasm born of wishing rather than experience. It’s a classic ascending chord progression and it grooves along slinkily. Heard once and instantly memorised, it has never worn out its delight. The guitar solos (wah-wah in the fade-out) are understated and high-class. 

“Don’t cry sister” jogs along with a soulful swing, “Sensitive kind” has a little bit of arranging to freshen the sound. Vibes and some strings. Real nice. 

That’s side one. 

I’ll fetch a couple more beers.

Friday, Friday evening

Come on Friday it’s been too long

Amen comrade. [Clink bottles]

This is the almost-fast chugging JJ Cale sound. Infectious groove, superb little solo that would’ve had Mark Knopfler weeping into his beer, Carl Radle (Derek and the Dominos) on bass duties. Nice little conversation between guitar and piano. Super entry to the weekend.

“Lou-easy Ann” has a barrelhouse roll befitting the punning title; “Let’s go to Tahiti” is a holiday throw-away with everything played by JJ. Pretty lightweight. As is “Katy kool lady”. Katy may be kool, but she’s also wafer thin. 

If you’re getting the impression that the second side isn’t quite as strong, you’d be correct. Although the guitar lines in “Fate of a fool” are real nice. You payin’ attention, Mr Knopfler? ‘Course you are.

Fortunately things end well, as “Mona” takes us out with a triple-time love song. JJ is joined (not for the first time on this album) by Christine Lakeland and those warm-breeze strings again. It’s a gentle song about languid carnality in a hectic world. 

Mona, she comes on a Friday

She stays into the night

Mona, she comes to my bedroom

To keep my spirits high

So, as the sun sets on this particular Friday afternoon, we say thanks for your company, JJ. 

We may not have Mona to raise our spirits, but we have 5. There may be a few songs that aren’t quite up to par, but overall it’s a thoroughly enjoyable slab of JJ Cale-ness that could easily be pulled out on a sunny afternoon—spring, summer, autumn—to while away a modest thirty-eight minutes with its chilled grooves and liquid guitar breaks. 

Cheers.

 

45 comments

  1. Nice Friday timing on this post. The only JJ Cale I know is Lynyrd Skynyrd covers I’m afraid. This sounds interesting though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very pleasant sippin’ whiskey, Scott.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Persuasive writing, Bruce.
    5 on YouTube.
    Queued.

    Thanks.

    DD

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The boy was learning persuasive writing recently, DD. Must rubbed off. 🙂

      Like

    2. You are right about side two, but head still nodding; without benefit of beer.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve known you’re a good man for some time now, but this clinches it: you like Pale Ale. I don’t opt for beer much these days, but when I do it’s a Pale Ale, the hoppier the better…aahh! I don’t know much J.J. Cale (beyond “Cocaine” of course). I do like the album art, and that Shelter logo. (Truly one of the bad things about streaming taking over the music industry: it was bad enough with the shrunken size of the art on CD covers, but now with streaming there’s none at all. Love the notion of mornings ‘opening up’ into afternoons…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks JDB. You are an early riser, eh? Hope your Friday is sunny (and perhaps with a pale ale at the end).
      Of course I agree with your comments on streaming and the like. I think in some convoluted way the arrival of streaming re-inforced a resurgence of vinyl-love. But then, perhaps it was simply perversity.
      And as for JJ Cale, check out “Naturally” if you don’t know it. It’s his first and best.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. JJ Cale always puts me in mind of those summer afternoons when the heat is so oppressive that you can barley lift the glass to your lips, every song seems to end with a silent sigh as if that was just enough energy to get the song out, no more no less. It is the sound of music just about ready to nod off into a level of consciousness that allows you to be aware of what is happening without the ability to interact with it. Heady stuff. “Languid carnality” there you go you got all I said in two words.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Poetically put, Neil. Spot on highlighting JJ’s vocal delivery too. So laid back it’s pretty much horizontal.

      Like

  5. Really wonderful writing here, Bruce. As DD already noted, it’s very persuasive. So persuasive that I am now minded to buy a suitable refreshment on the way home and listen to this one by, er, streaming it (one of the benefits of streaming is having instant access to something I’m not familiar with and don’t own).

    Also, that’s a great album cover, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somewhat chastened by JDB, I spent the best part of an hour adding digital images to a stack of (Hank Mobley) albums that I had loaded on to my mobile phone a while back. NOW I need a drink.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for drawing attention to the cover, too, J. Always been one of my favourites. Love that on the back, one stamp from the sheet is adrift.

      Like

  6. I am a simple man. I see JJ Cale, I hit Like and wish it was Love. GREAT ALBUM! Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aaron. Really enjoyed spinning this one again, and delighted you enjoyed it too!

      Like

      1. Oh yes. I started with Troubadour and never looked back.

        Fun too that you have autumn afoot. We have spring… sort of. It’s April 28 and there’s talk of snow (though it may not happen). Spring? I’ve heard of it! Hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was wrong. It did snow today!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. And I put on sunscreen. World (weather) gone crazy.

          Like

      3. I could have put on sunscreen today but it wouldn’t have mattered much… Nah, this is just life in the northern hemisphere (NW, I guess). Same as what you got today was normal for you! I love the colder air, though I am not like most people around here in this (everyone bitches about it). I start wearing shorts when the high for the day is over 5C, and I overheat when the temperature goes over 20C. Just me, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great album! Sit back with a drink and lose yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sie haben rechts. Perfekt.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This actually makes me want to drink beer. And it’s 7:30 on Sunday morning. Lovely piece of writing. Never listened to him but promise to rectify the omission whilst continuing to rebuild my back porch today. Ah, coincidence, you fickle mistress.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pace yourself, Kid. Pace yourself.
      And good luck with the porch. Look forward to reading about your Verandah Playlist.

      Like

  9. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    The fag-end of April. That really makes you stop. I’m secretly envious of your autumnal descriptions at the start of this, I love that time of year. Embarrassed to admit, by the time we get to the end of spring and summer here I’m ready to settle in for a time.
    I haven’t listened to JJ Cale, but like how you cozy us up to him, here. I’ll give a listen later…would be better to do so together over a beer though, for sure!

    Like

    1. You bet. A fine idea to play with. I can certainly imagine an American road trip on my bucket list.

      As for JJ Cale, “Naturally” and “Troubadour” are worth checking out some shimmering late Spring afternoon.

      PS. Ordered a Stars on the Lid last month. Like it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Good, thanks for the tip. Road trip ends here. Do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Which Stars record? God they are like abusing pain killers.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The
          Tired

          Sound
          s

          O f…

          Like

  10. Nice. Melllow, Laid back kinda post. I see what you did there.

    I don’t own this one, I don’t need to really – I heard them all so many times as a kid (everytime we went anywhere, all my folks’ friends played JJ too) that they’re engrained deeply.

    I’m always pleasantly surprised by just what a horny little booger JJ was when you really listen in to these albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Picked up Travelogue (1990) not long back. Was expecting to be underwhelmed, but it was rather good, in a very familiar kind of way. More wandering than woo-ing on that one.

      A bunch of old hippies sipping Chardonnay and listening to JJ Cale thousands of kilometres from his Southern home? Can’t imagine that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More like elderflower or nettle wine, but yes, that’s about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha!
          (If you have a minute, check out Aphoristical’s latest – we need your versification skills!)

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Gosh darn it, I’m trying to write about Manuel Göttsching here!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Really? One of my main guitarry men. Looking forward to that one.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. With not one personal experience of JJ Cale, let alone 5, and no inclination toward beer, I am freed to simply let your words amble over me. Understated and high-class, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you sir. To be honest, I’m much more a wine person these days. But the afternoon and the album called for a pale ale. What can you do?

      Like

  12. Another nice walk down memory lane. Was into different music back then (mostly prog with prog and prog) but this one, Shades and Troubadour was played in my circles. Great albums – can always put on “Mama Don’t” if I need a cheer up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While prog-cubed is an excellent recipe for happiness, variety is also refreshing, isn’t it?

      Like

      1. Yep, variety is very nice and I have grown a lot wider in music taste since then.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “No response”. Perfect. I love this record ( JJ filler is still worth it), hey I like them all. “I’ll Make Love to You Anytime’ is one of CB’s theme songs. The complexity of the word play is right up my alley. Good choice for your chillaxing day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can totally picture you as a JJ man, CB. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Just sitting on the porch with no shoes ..”

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Once you’ve sipped some JJ Cale,you’ll never go back to solo Clapton again…

    Liked by 1 person

Comments and responses welcome for all posts: present or past. Go on, join in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: