Get Some Satisfaction

Eric Clapton released ‘After Midnight’ on his 1970 solo eponymous album.  The song charted #18 in the US and it was written by J.J. Cale.  Some sources incorrectly report his given name as Jean Jacques Cale, but he was born John Weldon Cale.  Cale was nicknamed “J.J.” by Elmer Valentine, the co-owner of the Sunset Strip nightclub, the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy, and The Rainbow, to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.  Cale’s stuff didn’t age, it just got better over time, like a fine wine.  Cale followed his friend Leon Russell from Tulsa to California.  The Oklahoma songwriter and guitarist J.J. Cale wrote the first version of ‘After Midnight’ as a single which was an up-tempo rendition that he recorded with his band, the Leathercoated Minds.  The Leathercoated Minds were a Los Angeles studio-only group, formed for the express purpose of exploiting both the sound and image of the L.A. psychedelic scene circa 1966-1967.  ‘After Midnight’ was released in 1966 as the B-side of a song called ‘Slow Motion’.  This was produced by Snuff Garrett, owner of the Viva label, with Cale as staff producer and Bryan Hyland the guy who sang ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ chipping in.

The Leathercoated Minds sole album was A Trip Down the Sunset Strip, which was issued in 1967 and contained popular cover songs.  Collectors have interest in this record, because of the filler instrumentals which were written by a young J.J. Cale, who also produced and played guitar on the album.  J.J. Cale’s original version of ‘After Midnight’ existed as an instrumental for a while before he came up with a lyric for it.  Cale said that he finally got the idea for the words when he was playing a show in Atlanta and someone shouted, “Let it all hang out.”  Garrett hired the little-known musician named J.J. Cale to produce the album and play lead guitar, and no one knows for sure just who Cale’s studio partners were, besides Roger Tillison on vocals, although Cale’s buddy Leon Russell is probably playing keyboards.  Tillison was arguably a leading edge of the music that is now called Americana, and he was another singer and songwriter from Oklahoma, that was part of the Tulsa scene which included J.J. Cale, Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, and Jesse Ed Davis.

Cale recorded ‘After Midnight’ again on his debut studio album Naturally which was released in 1972.  This album featured Carl Radle on bass.  Carl Radle was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and he became friends with other Tulsa musicians including David Gates, later of Bread, Leon Russell and JJ Cale.  When Russell moved to California, Radle followed and played in clubs.  Radle is probably best known for his long association with Eric Clapton, starting in 1969 with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends and continuing in 1970 with Derek and the Dominos. Radle played ‘After Midnight’ for Eric Clapton when he needed another song for his debut album.  Clapton was immediately smitten, and chose to record it.  Clapton went with a more laid-back approach to this song.

Cale was never as well-known as his songs were.  He never sold a lot of records, but his music became much more famous than he did.  Many well-known performers have recorded his songs including Eric Clapton and Nazareth both covering ‘Cocaine’, Waylon Jennings and Dr. Hook both covered ‘Clyde’, Carlos Santana with ‘The Sensitive Kind’, Cissy Houston ‘Cajun Moon’, Captain Beefheart and Bobby Bland both covered ‘I Got the Same Old Blues’, Chet Atkins and Jerry Garcia ‘After Midnight’, Kansas recorded ‘Bringing It Back’, Poco recorded ‘Magnolia’, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mayer and Bobby Bare all did ‘Call Me the Breeze’, Tom Petty recorded ‘I’d Like to Love You, Baby’ and Widespread Panic did ‘Ride Me High’ and ‘Travelin’ Light’.  The Allman Brothers, Dan Auerbach, The Band, Beck, Band of Horses, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Johnny Cash, Randy Crawford, Jose Feliciano, Lee Fields, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Hiss Golden Messenger, Kansas, Freddie King, John Mayall, John Mayer, Maria Muldaur, Nazareth, Phish, Johnny Rivers, Spiritualized, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, and many more have covered his timeless music.

Clapton’s cover was a very big deal for Cale, who seemed to have an aversion to fame and was going through serious financial difficulties.  Cale recalled to Mojo magazine in September 2009 that when he heard Clapton’s version playing on his radio, “I was dirt poor, not making enough to eat and I wasn’t a young man.  I was in my thirties, so I was very happy.  It was nice to make some money.”  The song, made the Billboard Top 20 and was Clapton’s first major hit as a solo artist.  It also secured Cale’s musical and financial future.  Clapton covering this song helped Cale stay in the music business, as he was about ready to get out at the time and was only playing Friday and Saturday nights while looking for a day job.

J.J. Cale died on July 26, 2013 in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack at the age of 74.  J.J. was married to Christine Lakeland his long-time guitarist, and muse, who was his companion for 36 years.  She met J.J. a couple of years after she graduated high school while she was working road gigs, in Nashville, where they were both living.  Her first recorded appearance with Cale came on his 1979 album, 5, although she had been a member of the touring band for three years prior to that.  Being a rather cloistered artist like J.J., no confirmation was ever made of their actual relationship until the printing of his obituary.  Cale won a Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album for The Road to Escondido, a recording he made in 2006 with Clapton.

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout
We’re gonna stimulate some action
We’re gonna get some satisfaction
We’re gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine
After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream
We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion
We’re gonna give an exhibition
We’re gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine
After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream
We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion
We’re gonna give an exhibition
We’re gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Midnight at the Oasis.

11 thoughts on “Get Some Satisfaction

  1. Thanks Jim. I always liked Cale. The one I know the best is Call Me the Breeze by Lynyrd Skynyrd…he was a great writer…and I liked his versions also.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not that bad. You can cheat a little to get it. He cheated also when he played. He would cover more strings with fingers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He had huge hands. I’ve read where people would shake his hand and his hand swallow their hand….same has been said about Sandy Koufax.

        Liked by 1 person

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