JJ Cale was one of those songwriters who was mind-boggling when it came to taking in the body of his work through his career, and the variety of artists who covered his work. Of course, there was Eric Clapton with "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash and the Allman Brothers boogieing to "Call Me The Breeze," Waylon Jennings and Dr, John doing "Clyde," The Band handling "Crazy Mama," Santana with "Sensitive Kind," Freddie King and Captain Beefheart on "I Got The Same Old Blues," Widespread Panic jamming to "Travelin' Light" at show after show, Kansas rockin' to "Bringing It Back" ... on and on.
Cale seemed to have a special kinship with Clapton, who helped maybe more than any single musician to bring Cale's music to the masses.
A later video of Cale and Clapton performing together at a Crossroads show was a perfect example of how JJ came across. As they started into a rendition of "After Midnight," there was Cale waiting for Clapton to take the lead as Clapton nudged JJ on instead with just a look and a small gesture, shaking him off, as if to say, "No, this one's yours." Cale took it from there, looking like he meant and lived just what he wrote and performed -- a guy with the kind of looks and mannerisms you might expect to find at a smoky barroom, sitting on a stool while downing a shot and a beer.
He was one of us. In all those songs, he was one of us.