Ick's Pick

Ick’s Picks (Week VIII): JJ Cale’s ‘Roll On’

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.

Links: JJ Cale’s Official Site |MySpace

Here’s a stellar live version of “Call Me The Breeze”, with JJ and Mr. Clapton (sweet guitar, Eric)…


  • jazzmaster

    Great pick, Pete.

    JJ Cale has such a smooth, laid-back blues sound… I really like him and will have to check out this album. Have you ever seen “To Tulsa and Back”? I picked it up at the library one day and watched it twice. Very cool guy.

    At one point, he talks about playing with Clapton at the first Crossroads festival in front of 80,000 people, then playing in the bar the next night for 200. Pretty funny guy.

  • Tim

    Excellent review, Pete. As a Cale fan of many years’ standing, I can wholeheartedly recommend every single one of his albums. The more you hear them, the better they get. JJ’s music is addictive and he’s influenced a lot of people. Thanks again for the most considered review I’ve read so far of ‘Roll On’.

  • jazzmaster

    Pete :Dude! I love that wacked out color scheme! I wonder what EC calls it..

    NO-NO-NO!!! It’s “Blackie” all the way for me.


    And, I think EC calls this scheme “Flashback”.


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