JJ Cale: Stay Around review – Remarkably tasty leftovers

Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Stay Around

Artist:
J.J. Cale

Label:
Caroline International

Genre:
Blues

This is not so much a rave from the grave as a cool nod from the great beyond. Songwriter, guitarist and noted recluse JJ Cale died in 2013. He was 74. It was one of life’s ironies that he should fall to a heart attack, because his “Tulsa sound” was once the epitome of laid-back rock’n’roll.

This collection of new material was pulled together by his wife, Christine Lakeland, and longtime manager, Mike Kappus, from finished tracks that didn’t make it to record at the time; it was, apparently, Cale’s practice to always record more than was required.

The music, all typically whispered vocals and subdued but with fluent guitar notes, hangs together really well. Lights Down Low kicks off proceedings with that chugging bluesy rhythm that was one of his signatures. Other similar efforts follow as well as acoustic demo-like tracks such as If We Try. Given that all 15 tracks are in effect leftovers, they are remarkably good. The album is helped by the fact that Cale’s music has a timeless feel.