There are some great artists who can sound (even) better in live performance, and my supposition that this might prove true of JJ Cale is amply vindicated by this album. Having enjoyed the 'To Tulsa and Back' DVD, I had high expectations of this album, and these expectations were more than fulfilled.
Released in 2001, 'JJ Cale Live' is a collection of fourteen tracks recorded at various venues in the US and Europe between 1990 and 1996. Cale's best-known compositions are here - 'After Midnight', 'Call Me The Breeze', 'Cocaine' - but there are some excellent if lesser-known tracks too.
I've been very surprised to read some criticism of the recording quality of this album, because to me it seems extremely crisp, and is indeed better recorded than many a studio album.
'Mama Don't' is an interesting point of comparison, because the original track (on the excellent 'Shades' album) was itself a live recording, but the version included here is appreciably better, in my opinion. The musicianship - and most especially Cale's guitar work - are superb here. Sound-wise, the only shortcoming here might be that audience participation is a little intrusive, but this seems to capture the essential atmosphere of the live gigs.
This is a very good album and, since it is (so far as I'm aware) Cale's only live release, it's an essential addition to the collection.