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4.1 out of 5 stars
16
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 10 October 2013
With J.J. Cale's passing away I'm sure we'll see many more of these kind of semi-professional recordings hit the market. The semi professionalism is best illustrated by the length of the songs as stated on the cover: they are off by minutes most of the times, and it makes you wonder if the reefer smoke slowed down the timing equipment as well.

Having said that, Breezin' at the Café is not bad for the type of album it is. The sound quality isn't bad (the start is a bit shaky but my guess is that that's due to the tape used and not the artists), it's a strong set of songs and the band obviously has a good time, which makes for an entertaining listen throughout, even if it's clear that the songs were originally played in a different sequence. The overall 'feel' of this set is definitely much more of that of a live album than 'J.J. Cale Live' ever achieved.

The 1975 tracks that have been added on as a 'bonus' are of poorer sound quality and are therefore a little misplaced, but musically they are equally fascinating, even if only because of the somewhat more elaborate way Cale takes them on. All in all this a decent CD that won't win over many new fans, but certainly won't displease his existing ones.
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If you're looking at this page you're probably a J.J. Cale fan like me. It's 40 years since a friend first waved Naturally at me and then put on Side 2. I hated the cover and thought I'd hate the music...but 30 seconds into Crazy Mama I was hooked, by the end of After Midnight I was a fan and after River Runs Deep I was a lifetime addict. I think a lot of people considering this will be in a similar position and - come on, admit it! - you know you're going to buy this anyway. A look at the track list, perhaps, but who needs a review? But for what it's worth:

This is a recording (put out in the wake of his very sad death in July 2013) of the Great Man playing live with "friends" including Christine Lakeland, his partner and later his wife. It was originally broadcast live from a café in Minnesota in 1988 and there are three extra live tracks added from 1975. There's a little chat but mainly just really good performances of great songs. They are almost all rather more punchy and higher-energy than the wonderfully laid-back originals and some (like Cocaine and After Midnight) are significantly different from the album versions. It's a fine reminder of what a very good guitarist JJ really was underneath the apparently effortless Cool, and the songs remain truly great. The recording quality is pretty good for a live set (although the 1975 tracks do sound a bit thin) and it's a very enjoyable album.

I love the originals so dearly that I'm not sure whether I'll play this as often as the studio albums, but it's a fine record of JJ playing live and I've got to have it in my collection. If you're new to J.J. Cale I wouldn't start with this (personally I'd recommend Naturally, Okie or Shades) but no-one will be disappointed here - it's a fine live album by one of the true greats of Rock & Roll. Warmly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2013
I've really enjoyed this album .... It's got some great tracks and Cale is joined by his wife Lakeland on the album.... It's not perfect and those used to the digital age and it's more perfect recordings may be disappointed ....., but it's live and unusual so a great addition to any Cale collection..... My only real gripe is the lack of information about whose playing in the band..... There are sleeve notes but I think they lack the detail that could have been included.... Anyway..... My favourite track magnolia is on it ..... So that's cool.... RIP JJ Cale ...... A great musician .....
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If you're looking at this page you're probably a J.J. Cale fan like me. It's 40 years since a friend first waved Naturally at me and then put on Side 2. I hated the cover and thought I'd hate the music...but 30 seconds into Crazy Mama I was hooked, by the end of After Midnight I was a fan and after River Runs Deep I was a lifetime addict. I think a lot of people considering this will be in a similar position and - come on, admit it! - you know you're going to buy this anyway. A look at the track list, perhaps, but who needs a review? But for what it's worth:

This is a recording (put out in the wake of his very sad death in July 2013) of the Great Man playing live with "friends" including Christine Lakeland, his partner and later his wife. It was originally broadcast live from a café in Minnesota in 1988 and there are three extra live tracks added from 1975. There's a little chat but mainly just really good performances of great songs. They are almost all rather more punchy and higher-energy than the wonderfully laid-back originals and some (like Cocaine and After Midnight) are significantly different from the album versions. It's a fine reminder of what a very good guitarist JJ really was underneath the apparently effortless Cool, and the songs remain truly great. The recording quality is pretty good for a live set (although the 1975 tracks do sound a bit thin) and it's a very enjoyable album.

I love the originals so dearly that I'm not sure whether I'll play this as often as the studio albums, but it's a fine record of JJ playing live and I've got to have it in my collection. If you're new to J.J. Cale I wouldn't start with this (personally I'd recommend Naturally, Okie or Shades) but no-one will be disappointed here - it's a fine live album by one of the true greats of Rock & Roll. Warmly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 December 2013
It's lovely to own a live recording of JJ Cale - it's an intimate show, with his typical laid back approach and trademark guitar.

I was a little surprised by the deterioration in sound audible in the opening bars - sounds like a bit of tape stretching to me, but this seems to dissipate as the concert progresses.

A great little show and a worthy recording, interestingly kept from us until the passing of the great man.

3.5/5
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on 14 October 2013
I think some folk try to appear superior about their hearing or Hi Fi systems?

Great songs, great playing and singing. Sound quality is good for it's age surely? Yes it could have been "enhanced" but that would take so much from it. Live music is by far the best in my opinion.

JJ could never do any wromg on my eyes (ears) anyway so I love this CD and would recommend it very highly..
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on 7 November 2014
Consummate archive performance recording. In line with Dolly Parton's quote that it takes a lot of money to look this cheap, it takes one hell of a lot of skill to sound so laid back and cool !

Three minute songs, albums he couldn't even be bothered to title beyond a number.

I mourn never having got to see him live but revel in everything he delivered otherwise
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on 3 January 2014
I will buy anything from the great guitare player JJ Cale, it is always great to hear new release from him, it is a good sound live recording.
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on 21 May 2015
I was blown away by this great, great C D The sound is good for the 1988 recording the 3 1975 tracks at the end are also quite good. You do get a lot of whoops and the like from the watching crowd, but I thought it added to the show it didn,t get in the way for me. A real find this one, again J J Cale dropped a gem, highly recomended.
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on 19 September 2014
What can one say, bought this when JJ passed away unexpectantly and played it and played it. I'm a softy for R&B JJ especially and this was such a sad time. RIP JJ and thanks for all the music.
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