J.J. Cale Live

J.J. Cale

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J.J. Cale Live Review

by Travis Drageset

Cale's live performance style does nothing to quell his reputation for laid-back but pristine guitar playing and reserved "Mississippi John Hurt"-style delivery. A man who truly appreciates the value of restraint, Cale leaves plenty of room for his immaculate guitar lines, even to the point of irony on an ambling version of the previously insistent "Mama Don't." This collection, which was gleaned from an assortment of live shows dating from 1990-1996, finds Cale allowing his songs to unfold organically. Of particular note is the lilting "Magnolia." Less nostalgic than when it first appeared on 1971's Naturally, this version, recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1996, is crisper and more clipped, replacing the original's sense of longing with the resigned confidence that permeates this entire set.

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