This page is dedicated to JJ Cale's earlier, harder to find and uncategorizable musical contributions.
We start with his earlier, harder to find works from his first recording in 1958 as a backup group on Al Sweatt's rockabilly classic "I Hate Myself" as Johnnie Cale & The Valentines, with Rocky Frisco on piano. Prior to this recording, JJ was playing with the Gene Crose band circa 1957.
Al Sweatt w/ Johnnie Cale & The Valetines (1958) KEEN OP-289X45
Al Sweatt w/ Johnnie Cale & The Valentines - I Hate Myself - Download MP3
JJ Cale's first solo single was on Chan records in 1958-61 as Johnny Cale Quintette (note the different spelling of Johnnie to Johnny) recording "Purple Onion" b/w a very bluesy "Troubles, Troubles, Troubles." Later dropping Quintette from the name and retaining the Johnny spelling of the name, Johnny Cale recorded "Shock Hop" and "Sneaky" on the Mercury label, and covered "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" and "She's My Desire" on Chan records.
Johnny Cale Quintette (1958-61) (Purple Onion b/w Troubles, Troubles, Troubles) Chan 860
In 1965 Cale (along with Greg Dempsey) recorded on a Tulsa legend, Junior Markham's single, "Black Cherry". More novelty singles followed on Liberty Audition Record label (Snuff Garret produced, Leon Russell involved) that same year, with a catchy "It's a Go-go Place" b/w "Dick Tracy". JJ also had a hand in one of Leon Russell's early singles on Dot, collaberating with Leon, and Snuff Garrett on the track "Everybody's Talking 'Bout The Young".
Junior Markham & The Tulsa Review (1965) (Black Cherry b/w Gonna Send You To Georgia) Uptown 762
JJ Cale (1965) (It's a Go-Go Place b/w Dick Tracy) Liberty 55840
Leon Russell (1965) (Everybody's Talking 'Bout The Young b/w It's Alright With Me) Dot 45-1677
The year 1966 would generate JJ Cale's staple as a songwriter, and be the beginnings to his fortune and low-key fame. For another Liberty Audition Record, Cale cut two sides on catalog # 55931. "Slow Motion" b/w "After Midnight". This was a fast paced single, with a fun horn section which you won't hear on the Naturally album. This audition record is one of few in existence today, as John (claimed to have) tried destroying all of his old audition records. Carl Radle gave Eric Clapton a copy of this specific single, and he cut it for his solo debut, Eric Clapton years later (1970). It instantly became a hit, and Cale reaped the royalties. Later, Clapton would cover "Cocaine" with similar sucess, but the story isn't as exciting.
This turn of events is what led JJ to record his first solo album, Naturally in 1972. Audie Ashworth (19??-2001) called him up and said "Hey, Clapton's got a hit with your song; why don't you record an album?" Cale recorded a bunch of new songs, including a slower, more familiar "laid-back" sound to "After Midnight" which everyone is familiar with.
That same year (1966), he wrote "I'm Puttin' You On" which was released on a Viva Music single with David Teegarden and Van Winkle (before they were Teegarden and Van Winkle (God, Love & Rock and Roll, etc..), Tommy Tripplehorn (who later worked with Gary Lewis & The Playboys and father of actress Jeannie Tripplehorn), and recorded in Leon Russell's (who also produced this single) home studio in Los Angeles, under the group Sunday Servants.
Another single released in '66 on Liberty Audition was "In Our Time" b/w one of my favourites and a very catchy, "Outside Lookin' In".
JJ Cale (1966) (After Midnight b/w Slow Motion) Liberty 55931
(I've heard) JJ Cale then toured on and off, alone at clubs, and with Delaney And Bonnie Bramlett through the late 1960's. I'm sure this will be verified on the Kick Film documentary filmed this past summer (2004).
In 1967 Cale had a hand with Garrett, Russell and Jimmy Boyd in writing "Lazy Me", a single by Jimmy Boyd on Dot 66166 (Imperial IM 6203). The track sounded a lot like "After Midnight". The next year (1968) John collaborated with his old Okie friend Roger Tillison on a psychedelic album "Trip Down Sunset Strip" as the Leathercoated Minds. They covered the popular drug-culture hits of the 60's, such as "Eight Miles High", "Puff (the Magic Dragon)", and "Sunshine Superman". JJ threw in several instrumentals which he had written and not put lyrics to on singles prior to this album. As my only source, the "Unofficial Roger Tillison" page mentions Terraye Tillison on vocals, Bill Boatman arranger, Leon Russell on keyboards, Jimmy Karstein on drums, "and others".
Jimmy Boyd (1967) (Lazy Me b/w I Would Never Do That) Liberty 66166 (Imperial IM 6203)
We also have a small collection of remixes and other rare tracks without a cool biography to go along. They are as follows:
Juarez Blues (with Christine Lakeland) (4:23) -
Love is Hard to Find (4:28) -
Artificial Paradise (Single version) (3:02) -
Blonde Headed Woman (2:11) -
Hang Ups (3:06) -
Feels Like Rain (3:56) -
Katy Kool Lady (The song that was accidentally replaced on the CD version of "5") (2:51) -
Danny's Song (Song written for Danny Ferrington, of Ferrington Guitars) (1:57) -
UPDATE 2008 - Early in 2008 I have transferred a 4 song EP of Cale's I had in my collection for some time. It is a 12" promo record with one side pressed, the other completely blank. It was titled "Live at Last" on an orange piece of paper glued to a white album sleeve. It sounds like a live set from the 80's. "River Runs Deep" contains a horn section. These are the songs in a compressed MP3 format for your listening enjoyment.
Thanks to the RCS Artist Discography,
Bruce McQueary, Rocky Frisco, JJ Cale, and others for being a great resource in my research.
Disclaimer: I make no guarentees of accuracy to this recording biography. All information is "as-is" and, to the best of my knowledge is accurate considering my sources and bad typing skills. If you have any corrections please feel free to submit them with as much reference and proof as possible. Thank you!
Submitted by Michael W. Lasota - September 2005 (Edited January 2007, October 2008)