The Inside Stuff
J. M. Jacobs | East Helena, MT, USA | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like the music of J.J. Cale and you enjoy Leon Russell's unique take on any music he plays, you'll really take to this effort. It basically is like sitting in on a final practice for a studio recording. The band is arrayed in a small circle in Leon Russell's Paradise Studios. Lots of closeups, no crowd noise, pristine clear sound quality... very defined and nuanced... nice.
Mr. Russell mostly plays a Hammond B-3 and if you've ever listened to most of J.J. Cale's catalog, you'll know that this instrument is right at home in the instrument mix he chooses for his songs. It adds a distinctly Bluesy element to the sound signature whenever Leon stretches a little bit on a solo.
There's one guy, Cale's keyboard player, who doesn't sound quite "on" to me. I've only watched the DVD a couple times, so maybe he'll grow on me with time. The guy IS wearing roller skates, so that might tell you something. The second time through, he sounded better... more "on" than the first time through. The other players are all solid across the board. (Note: these people are still the band that Cale tours with today)
There is the occasional clunked note in this session and it's fun to see the reactions go through the band. These people have an easy, comfortable feel with each other and it's great to see.
For you guitar nuts, J.J. flips over this old Harmony guitar that he's "worked over" and it is enlightening to say the least. It's the guitar that provides Cale's signature sound on his early albums especially "Naturally" and you will be stunned when you see what he's done to it. I'll say no more as I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. Let's just say 'not as originally built.' He also uses a Strat on a number of tunes and you get to see him play slide on several songs as well.
One thing I particularly liked about this disc is you get to see his hands at work close up. Good guitar players will tell you most of the cool sounds are in the player's hands - not the guitar, not the amp, not the strings, not the pickups. This disc demonstrates that like no other one I've found.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I bought it, but I was way more than pleasantly surprised. Let's hope you are, too."
A Laid Back Studio Session
H. Brown | Omaha, Nebraska United States | 04/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My title pretty much tells the story. Two very gifted musicicians and song writers having a fun and informal studio session. No egos or arrogance, but not very surprising since JJ was recording early in his career for Leon's Shelter Records. I've seen Leon several times over the years and twice with the late great bluesman Freddie King (another of Shelter Record's stable) and once with JJ, Freddie and Leon.
A side note: Will the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ever include Leon to his well earned spot in their hall? Along with all of his personal achievements, he was virtually Phil Spector's "wall of sound"."
There Is Something Always Pleasing About J.J. Cale
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 02/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is nice stuff....almost a sound of its own, kind of an unplugged rockabilly or Southern rock with a tinge of blues. I'm not sure what the description, only that's pleasing, feel-good rock `n roll. If you know Cale's best--known songs, such as "After Midnight," "Cocaine," "They Call Me The Breeze," "Crazy Mama," etc., then you know what kind of sounds I mean. It's rock, rhythmic and yet relaxed. It's kind of hard to explain.
This is just a pleasant DVD filled with good songs. Yes, they'd probably sound better with a better singer but Cale's distinct singing style gives them a unique sound.
Cale is one of the most respected songwriters in rock music and it's easy to see why. He's a nice guy, too, and that comes across on this DVD. In addition, you get the always-interesting Leon Russell playing Hammond organ.
This is simply a nice, low-key session in the study that happened to be filmed 20 years ago, and it's great to be available for all of us who appreciate this artist."