Eric Clapton on J.J. Cale

Since becoming active here on Audiogon, I’ve occasionally attempted within discussions on musicians to explain to those who aren’t yet aware that, though the Rock ’n’ Roll players most often thought of as being "the best" are almost all from the school of musicianship that I refer to as "Look at me. Aren’t I good?" (in an interview later in life, Keith Moon said his goal when he started out was to have his audience think he was the best drummer they had ever seen). I have then said that there is another school of musicianship, the players of which approach the making music from an entirely different perspective, referred to as ensemble playing. Preferred by songwriters and singers, they play in a way so as to make the song and/or singer, not themselves, sound good. They are most commonly heard in recording studios, not on stages.

Now, if your taste in, say, drummers, runs to Neil Peart, Alex Van Halen, Ginger Baker, or good ’ol Keith Moon, I am going to assume that you don’t listen to music primarily for the song, or the singer, or ensemble playing. If I am over-generalizing and over-simplifying, forgive me.

I bring the subject up because I just watched a video on You Tube---an interview with Eric Clapton (by Dan something of Guitar Player magazine) on the making of the tribute album Clapton did to celebrate J.J Cale. I highly recommend watching the video to get an understanding of the kind of musicianship Clapton values in another player---his abilities as an ensemble player (which Clapton first became aware of when he heard The Band). Clapton admits that when he first was told of Cale and heard his playing, he wasn’t that impressed, thinking that Cale didn’t seem to be doing much. As he got older, and matured as a musician, he came to appreciate the subtlety and taste in J.J.’s playing, singing, and song writing.

J.J. Cale is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, as are some of my favorite drummers, who have a feel unique to the area. Many of the musicians on the album are from Tulsa, including drumming great Jimmy Karstein (T Bone Burnett, Dylan, Cale). Never heard of Karstein? A much, much better musician than Pearl, Van Halen, Baker, or Moon---honest!

Speaking of Tulsa, the reason Tom Petty ended up on Shelter Records is that when he and the rest of Mudcrunch drove from Florida to L.A. to get a record deal, they stopped in the town to hook up with The Dwight Twilley Band, whose first album (on Shelter) Petty was extremely impressed by. Leon Russell had an office in Tulsa, and Twilley took Petty in to introduce him. Petty was told to go to the studio Shelter had in L.A. when he got there, and it was in that studio where the first few TP albums were recorded, right on Sunset Blvd., not far from The Whiskey and The Roxy. By the way, the first DTB album---Sincerely---is astounding, one of the three or so best debut albums (along with Music From Big Pink and the first Moby Grape) of all time, imo. Far, far superior to anything Petty ever did. You may not agree.

While you're on You Tube, watch the video of Clapton inducting The Band into The Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. After hearing Music From Big Pink, Eric told Jack and Ginger he was done with Cream, and went to Woodstock to hang with The Band, intending to ask them if he could join. He never got up the nerve, and finally realized they neither needed for desired his services ;-). He went home, joined forces with Steve Winwood in Blind Faith, who went on the road with Delaney & Bonnie, whose band members (all from the Tulsa area) became Derek & The Dominoes. Their drummer was the incredible Jim Gordon, perhaps the greatest of all the Tulsa drummers.

@bdp24 greetings...yes have some Buddy and I think everything Julie has done..adore her for sure.....consumate players with soul....
Eric - I should mention the Nakamichi is working great - going thru trove of old tapes in

I looked on Server and I have Buddy and the Majestic Silver Strings...what additional do you recommend ???? Analog or Digital...
ensemble musicians, sharing the spotlight, making ORIGINAL music???
There's no going back after Little Feat!

LIttle Feat and The Band shared a mutual admiration for each other. When Levon Helm came through Los Angeles in 2000 and played at The House Of Blues, Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward joined him on stage. Levon was recovering from throat surgery that removed a cancer (big smoker, he later died from lung cancer), and wasn’t singing, but had daughter Amy Helm along to provide vocals for the mainly-Chicago Blues he was playing on that tour. Levon and Richie obviously loved each other as musical brothers.

When Levon’s autobiography was released, he did an in-store book signing appearance at Book Soup, directly across the street from Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Ringo Starr, a huge Levon Helm fan, was there, getting his copy autographed.

Best thread I've read in ages. Thanks for some great reading. BTW jj has always rocked my world since the first time I heard.