From 1981, this was J.J. Cale's sixth album (following the succinctly titled NUMBER 5, and returning to his tradition of single-word album titles). Though Cale didn't use one constant band throughout the album, it's got a remarkably unified feeling. This is in part due to the great musicians on hand (pianist Bill Payne, drummers Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel, and guitarist James Burton among others), but primarily to Cale himself. His songs and his overal approach to music are all-encompassing; the seductive and laid-back grooves his rhythm sections empower are written into the very fabric of the songs. "Carry On," "Pack My Jack"--these are songs of simple, sturdy strengths, succinctly written and concisely rendered. There are never any stray notes or decorative filigrees. Friendly and inviting, SHADES sounds good in any season and at any time of day (and may be some of the best hangover cure music around).
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