Pumping out these Ick’s Picks every week is making this year fly by. Week eight already? Can someone please tell me how we’re almost in March?? Thankfully, it is my favorite month: Cactus League baseball, a beer festival, and my anniversary. Oh wait, let me reorder, my wife reads this, you know. March is my favorite month: MY ANNIVERSARY, and yeah, that Spring Training and beer festival thingy is all right too, whatever.
That said, this week’s pick is the new album by JJ Cale. There weren’t any releases this week that had me jumping up and down in excitement, so I decided to take a listen to JJ’s new one, because he’s written some seriously solid tunes: “After Midnight”, “Cocaine”, “Call Me The Breeze”, and “Travelin’ Light”. These were the four JJ Cale songs I was familiar with due to their covers by Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Widepsread Panic, respectively. And after hearing the originals over the years, Cale’s versions were just as solid, and a tad more laid back, which suited my style.
I’ve listened to Roll On this week about five times. It’s a well produced mash-up of roots / acoustic / jazz sounds that are all pleasant to the ear. There’s nothing that absolutely blows me away, though I do have three favorites: the guitar on “Cherry Street”; the undefinable groove of “Fonda-Lina, whose namesake has “her bosoms hangin’ over the window sill / It’s a story as old as Jesus / Fonda-lina has a void to fill.”; and “Old Friend”, which faces the passing of time from the wise perspective of Cale’s 70 years: “I hear all the old folks are gone / I guess we’re the ones now / That’s the way it goes / those crowded days are behind us now.”
Clapton appears on the title track, and the legendary Jim Keltner plays the drums on some tracks, but other than that, Cale handles pretty much all the instruments by himself. It’s a solid piece of work, and probably an album that I’ll appreciate more as time goes on (like a lot of them seem to be). It would also suit me well to dip into some of Cale’s older records. There a reason he’s been covered so many times over the years.
Buy Roll On.
Here’s a stellar live version of “Call Me The Breeze”, with JJ and Mr. Clapton (sweet guitar, Eric)…