J J Cale
" Rewind "
Time Life

Rewound Indeed, With Some Blues Content, (11/07/07)

This well packaged set contains fourteen songs that were recorded over a ten-year period from 1973 and 1983 that were stored in a basement in Nashville for over two decades.

Rewind appears on the coattails of last year's fine release The Road to Escondido, an album that finally paired Cale with Eric Clapton. So now we have this appropriately-titled collection of previously unreleased Cale recordings.

The most intriguing thing about this CD is that, for a guy who is mostly known for being a songwriter, we get to hear Cale cover songs by some of his favorite artists like Randy Newman's "Rollin'" and Waylon Jennings' "Waymore's Blues." Plus it is fascinating to hear Cale returning favors to Clapton covering E.C.'s "Golden Ring" (Clapton virtually made Cale's name by making several of his songs hits). Also noteworthy is the fact that Cale equally retains his identity on the abovementioned covers, as well as on his own material. This album proves that Cale is one of the most consistent singer-songwriters of our time. And let us not forget his signature vocals, plus his sweet and always imaginative-sounding guitar playing, which always sounds fresh and unique.

What also makes this album musically delightful is that throughout this disc Cale surrounds himself with top-shelf sidemen like ace session drummer Jim Keltner, the legendary organist Spooner Oldham, and ex-Steve Miller bassist Tim Drummond, amongst others.

Cale was recently quoted saying, "It's kind of like someone showing you a bunch of old photographs from thirty-five years ago." No doubt about that! J.J. Cale is another one of those great artists who unfortunately is not yet a household name, but his often-covered classic recordings like "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" will forever be associated with Eric Clapton, as well as "Call Me the Breeze" will always bring memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd. But this all seems to suit Cale just fine and I suspect that the royalty checks are (deservedly) quite significant as well.

Rewind offers an historic perspective on all that Cale was back then, what he has accomplished since, and perhaps what he can still be in the future. Rewind is a must for all J.J. Cale fans and arguably a good place to start for those not familiar with one of the most consistent and significantly covered songwriters of the last four or five decades.

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com