Record of the Day: JJ Cale, "Anyway the Wind Blows"

Record of the Day: JJ Cale, “Anyway the Wind Blows”

JJ Cale
Anyway the Wind Blows (2 CD Mercury 542901-2)

Looking at him on record covers (one of the very few occasions in which he is photographed) JJ Cale seems like someone who doesn't
he cares absolutely nothing about the public or the reception given to his works. Always dressed in a hat, boots and checked shirt, he looks more like Clint Eastwood in the icy-eyed Texan than a musician, with a serious and immobile expression, never a smile or a sign of appreciation for those who listen to him.

Little is known about him, he comes from Tulsa and before being a musician he worked as a sound engineer, which allows him to take care of the mixing of his albums in a maniacal way. He does few concerts and very few interviews and yet his fame, especially in America, is notable thanks above all to compositions such as “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”, brought to worldwide success by Eric Clapton and revived, like many of his songs including “Magnolia”. , “Hey Baby” and “Ride Me High”, also by numerous other artists.

His indolent and smoke-stained voice is often little more than a whisper, it does not try to capture or cajole the listener but invites him to prick up his ears along a panorama where blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock and New Orleans blend together naturally. style in a bubbling melting pot of feeling and energy.
Up to eight years pass between one Cale album and another, given that Cale prefers to live in a camper and move continuously throughout the United States, recording only when he feels like it; this has given rise to a discography that is not numerous but always of the highest quality, summarized in this excellent anthology which starts from the first single “Call Me the Breeze” and reaches up to the album “Closer to You”.

The happiness of writing that Cale naturally possesses means that in two hours of music there is not a single poor piece and listening is always a pleasure, going from the rustic atmospheres of “If You're Ever in Oklahoma” to the funk of ” Cajun Moon”, from the 60s suggestions of “Midnight in Memphis” to the frenetic boogie of “Mama Don't”.
Cale is an excellent guitarist, with a relaxed style he often has the opportunity to demonstrate all his skill in these pieces. At the end of the album we would like to listen to a few more songs, but Mr Cale has disappeared again in who knows what remote area of ‚Äč‚ÄčAmerica with his traveling house, and he really doesn't know what to do with our desire for music.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.