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Roll On

J.J. Cale
Rounder

For five decades, J.J. Cale has been the eponymous epicenter of honest, blues-based rock, but although “After Midnight,” “Cocaine” and “Call Me the Breeze” effortlessly sprang from Cale’s pen, mainstream credibility has eluded him.

Throughout Roll On, Cale strays from familiar territory with mediations on classic themes of a bygone era. Generally, when artists move outside their well-defined boxes, the results quickly turn disastrous (Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore or Aerosmith’s Honkin’ on Bobo). But Cale sustains a sense of relevance that prevents the collection from getting stale, save “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” an atmospheric, new wave travesty that sounds like something any key member of Genesis would’ve produced during a self-indulgent streak.