Picks and Pans Review: Grasshopper

updated 04/26/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/26/1982 01:00AM

J.J. Cale

As a songsmith, Cale has written plenty of checks that other people have cashed. He penned the unsettling drug anthem Cocaine that was a hit for Eric Clapton. This LP, his seventh, has 14 brief tunes, but it's an uneven collection. Most of the cuts are simple blues-derived rock and are more extended riffs than fully developed songs. The crudeness of the production may provide the gritty touch that native Oklahoman Cale seeks, but the poor reproduction of his voice and the frequently muddy sound of his expert guitar are frustrating to the listener. Still, there are nice moments. Mississippi River rolls along as pleasantly as Old Man River himself, the title cut is a bouncy Caribbean instrumental featuring Cale on guitar with Robert Greenidge working the steel drums, and Nobody but You is a blues heartbreaker.

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