Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Road to Escondido

This is the title of an album featuring J. J. Cale and Eric Clapton, released in 2006. It is another duet style collaboration (I am also thinking Robert Plant and Alison Krause, Raining Sand) with voices that complement each other nicely. But of course there is more in the history of this album - J. J. Cale wrote Cocaine and Midnight Special, both of which have helped to maintain Clapton's position at the top over the years since Cream.

I'm writing this partly because, in the late 1980s, I had the opportunity to see and hear J. J. Cale at Rockefellers on Washington Avenue, Houston. Although Rockefelllers is still standing, it has been closed as a performing venue for many years (do tell me this isn't so anymore!). It was an intimate setting to see and hear the greats, including B B King and Lucille!

But J. J. Cale's concert was a huge disappointment at the time - he seemed totally disinterested in his fan base and didn't work too hard in reeling out his various classics. It is nice to hear this newish album, though, as it sets him back up on a plinth of fame for me.

It is interesting that neither of Clapton's big hits are covered on this album and there may be good reasons that stem from Clapton's period of substance abuse. The story I remember is that Michelob Beer used Clapton's Midnight Special for more than a year of TV commercials before Clapton suddenly revoked the right on the basis that selling beer was not what he felt he should be doing.