Various Artists

Tribute To J.J. Cale, Vol. 1: The Vocal Sessions

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On this tribute album, 15 of cult roots rock singer/songwriter J.J. Cale's songs are covered by an assortment of artists. This doesn't follow the usual format of such tributes, with almost every artist contributing two tracks rather than one; Swamp Cabbage are particularly overrepresented, backing singers on three cuts in addition to doing two of their own. Cale isn't the best known of singers, but most of those paying homage to him on this CD are yet more obscure, with the exception of the vocal group the Persuasions. For the most part, the acts interpret Cale's work in a swampy roots manner that's faithful to the spirit of the prototypes, without adding notable twists. The exceptions are the Persuasions, who do "I'll Make Love to You Anytime" and "Travelin' Light" in their trademark a cappella arrangements -- these tracks stand out more than any other on the record, yet are the least reflective of Cale's sensibility. Without much in the way of name acts or inventiveness, it's hard to see whom this tribute CD will strongly appeal to, whether listeners are fans of J.J. Cale or not.

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