Chuck Prophet is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer. His latest record is "Temple Beautiful." He is one cool California cat.

JJ Cale: Naturally

There are those records that you can turn people on to. And know that it will give them pleasure. When I first heard the JJ Cale album Naturally, it sounded like a long lost friend and at the same time he sounded like he was from another galaxy or at least another planet.  As well he should, he’s from Oklahoma you know.  At a gig recently, the bartender let the needle rest for the whole of side one. And after a long unrewarding night of humping equipment and kicking around songs, the sound of that record immediately lifted my spirits and changed the mood of the room. 

At another gig in Louisiana a few years back I vividly remember hearing it spilling out into the St Francisville cabin park, after three days of rain, the air was hanging thick -- the crickets were cricking and the major 7th chords of Magnolia mixed in with the sticky atmosphere. It sounded beautiful and smelled heavenly. Made me wish I could freeze the moment. 190 miles from the Angola prison.

JJ Cale’s Naturally was one record that we could agree on in the Green On Red van.  I used to listen to this record in the dark with Stephie. Music brought me together with Stephie. When we started singing together – and I heard our voices together. I thought we might get married someday. And it happened. Maybe I’ll put it on later tonight. That’s the best music. The kind that brings people together.

Sitting here with a warm lap top listening to JJ. I’m actually getting ready to go into the studio this week to work on a new record of my own. And while I’ve learned a thing or two about making records. Yeah sure, there are tricks.  But this record has remained a mystery. How did he do it? Maybe the trick is that JJ engineers his own records.  More likely, there’s no trick at all.  Whatever . . . .  It’s a masterpiece. Check it out for yourself –the whole record is all of 30 minutes or so, what have you got to lose?  He mixes his guitar and vocal low in the mix. Lean in. It’s worth the lean.  Effortless. Greatness. Sonic abstract expressionist… buy it for yourself. Buy one for your friends and loved ones. I promise it won’t let you down. Ever.