After the relative polish of '5', J. J. Cale reclaimed some of the smoky ambience of earlier albums with this 1980 offering. The blues of 'Shades' leans a little toward jazz with the five-minute instrumentals, 'Pack My Jack' and 'Cloudy Day', but both of these, especially the sax on the latter are superb. 'Runaround' is of a similar style. The more familiar blues/boogie is represented on 'Deep Dark Dungeon' and 'Love Has Been Gone', which features some great guitar interplay. 'What Do You Expect' is a funkier track, while 'Wish I Had Not Said That' is a slower, more reflective item. On some of the tracks, Christine Lakeland adds an almost whispering harmony vocal which has a slightly eerie effect. Meanwhile, 'Mama Don't' lends a touch of humour and the haste of 'Carry On' provides an arresting opening to the album. Full of infectious tunes and rhythms, 'Shades' was my introduction to Cale and is a great album.
a bigger band than on some albums but the same laid back groove.actually it is deceptive in that it sounds relaxed but is very difficult to play. the musicianship is superb.there is an interplay that sounds easy but can only be achieved if the players are top notch.this album has it in spades.if you like soft rock blues written by a master and played by masters then i cannot fault this album.you will not be disappointed.
I owned this album on vinyl years ago and along with Aja by Steely Dan was one of the reference albums I used when buying HiFi, Shades is very well recorded and produced, my favourite being Cloudy Day. It is typical JJ, very laid back and you can just sense the 4am small smokey club atmosphere. A is usual with JJ you don't get much in terms of the length of the album but every track is just great. I remember seeing an interview with Eric Clapton where he said that no matter how stripped down his performances were, every time he played with JJ he was blown away by the way JJ went about it. There aren't many people who make Slowhand seem a bit frenetic but JJ does it every time! He was the master of space, and knew better than most that it's not what you play but the space you leave that makes for great numbers. RIP JJ and thanks for providing a significant portion of the soundtrack for my life
I just love this album. These songs have not been covered by other artists. This is great easy listening music to be enjoyed with glass in hand and not a care in the world. "Carry on" sets the album off nicely, followed by "Deep Dark Dungeon". One of the best. "Mama Don't is a rocky number, that gets you singing along. I also enjoyed "What do you expect". JJ Cale enjoyed playing music and only produced records when he had sufficient material. Consequently all the songs are excellent.