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"Cocaine" Dealer 

Wednesday, Apr 1 2009

Few American musicians embody "laid-back" as well as JJ Cale does. The Oklahoma-born guitarist seems incapable of playing at speeds more rushed than his signature loping shuffle-boogie. He sings in a dry whisper while licks roll lazily off his fretboard. This aesthetic is obviously harder to achieve than it looks. Lesser musicians swallow sedatives to achieve such an easeful tone. This is why Cale — who wrote "Cocaine, " made famous by Eric Clapton — has had such a wide swath of admirers, from Beck to Beefheart, Santana to Spiritualized. His new album, Roll On, is more of the same bluesy hick-funk played by a man whose musical ease is truly effortless.

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Brian J. Barr


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