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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2009
1982's 'Grasshopper' has a little more gloss than previous J. J. Cale albums and a little more diversity. It isn't too different, however, and with 14 tracks in 34 minutes, he is, as usual, not hanging about. The album opens with the melodic, country-tinged pop of 'City Girls', but 'Devil In Disguise' is two minutes of fast, no-nonsense r&b. 'One Step Ahead Of The Blues' is the only song here not written by Cale, but fits in with his usual style. 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' is the first major surprise, with its sugary piano opening, but Cale's vocal delivery makes it sincere rather than sentimental. 'Downtown LA' is a brilliant sketch of a social problem and features congas, one of several instruments on the album usually alien to Cale's recordings.

'Can't Live Here', 'Don't Wait' and 'Does Your Mama Like To Reggae' are perhaps the weakest tracks on the album, but all are at worst passable. 'Drifter's Wife' (it's a drifter's life, by the way) is Cale on his own, picking a guitar. His wife is on record as commenting that he's at his best as a musician on his back porch, though 'Drifter's Wife', good as it is, doesn't give any indication either way. 'A Thing Going On' and 'Mississippi River' are beautifully haunting tracks, sandwiching the simple, but gritty 'Nobody But You'. The title track and 'Dr Jive' are short, unusual instrumentals, featuring steel drums and vibes respectively. This isn't the place to start a J. J. Cale collection or decide whether you like him. It isn't as representative of his better, earlier albums, such as Naturally,Troubadour or Okie, but if you do like those, you should get around to 'Grasshopper' eventually.
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This is one of the strongest sets of songs in J.J. Cale`s superb back catalogue - a legacy he won`t now be able to extend as news came through a few hours ago that the man from Oklahoma has died, aged 74, of a heart attack. Call this review a tribute
if you like.
The only bad news here is a pointless throwaway track called Does Your Mama Like to Reggae, which you won`t want to hear more than once, trust me - whether you`re a reggae fan or not.
The good news is the other thirteen tracks, most of which are 100% instant solid gold Cale classics.
Cale`s opening tracks are invariably stunners, and City Girls is no exception, a funky little number that gets you in that distinctive JJ mood straightaway.
Other highspots are the even funkier mid-tempo One Step Ahead of the Blues, the ruminative You Keep Me Hangin` On (no, not that one), the bluesy, insistent Can`t Live Here, the short and sweet, over-before-you-know-it Drifter`s Wife, another very funky number Don`t Wait, the slow and slinky A Thing Going On, and the rolling Mississippi River.
The other tracks are pretty darn good too.
There`s a confidence and an urgency about this album which, along with the songs` compelling qualities, really does make for one of J.J. Cale`s most memorable records.

I ain`t droppin` no names
I ain`t playin` no games
I`m just one step ahead of the blues

RIP JJ.
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on 21 December 2001
Grasshopper finds JJ moving into a slightly different phase, it still has all the mellow traits of the previous albums but stylisticly it ranges from his usual laid back style " City Girls " to raw rock tunes "One step ahead of the blues" and also the soulful ballad "You keep me hanging on ". A solid record through and through, highly recommended listening.
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on 13 January 2012
What can you say about J J Cale. The man is an icon to everybody including most modern guitar heroes. This album is one of his best.
For anybody who hasn't come across him before please listen . I heard him 40 years ago and still think he is brilliant.
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on 8 September 2013
Good album the songs are very short in time but that makes this album so special listen good on high level
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on 9 December 2013
Recently purchased this amazing album through Amazon. An absolute must for any J J Cale fans. Best track on the album - One Step Ahead Of The Blues.
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on 12 December 2013
I bought this because we used to have a copy many years ago. It brought back memories for us but my son wasn't impressed with it.
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on 19 January 2014
I love JJ Cale and have many of his cds and a DVD. I would tell anyone who likes his style to go and get it!!
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on 3 December 2015
It's a great album. If you're into blues or country rock, or want to find out who influenced many of the great modern Blues & Rock artists of today then here's your man. I highly recommend checking JJ Cale out. I bought this on cd, I've got it on vinyl too, in my loft... somewhere. Huge fan of this guy. Always.
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on 21 November 2014
J J Cale could do no wrong for me. Fabulous music and this album is no exception
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