Clapton gets a free ride from J.J. Cale

September 15, 2013 

Buildings look tall and gray; birds flying haven't much to say; they all know that it's Monday Mail.

Frankenstein

Today's opening is from the Edgar Winter Group song "Autumn," a wistful tune in stark contrast to others on the 1972 album "They Only Come Out at Night" -- such as "Free Ride" and "Frankenstein."

Autumn

Mark your calendars and synchronize your watches: The fall equinox is this coming Sunday, when as the tilted Earth comes 'round the sun it starts to lean its northern hemisphere out and turn its southern hemisphere in. The precise moment the sun will be right over the equator is, in our time zone, 4:44 p.m.

If you can't bear summer's end, just go south of the equator, where it will be spring. You know the folks down there are looking forward to it. "Pasta prima vera!" they say, which means "until the spring." Or possibly "noodles and greens." Something like that.

Oldies

Getting back to golden oldies or rock 'n' roll classics or whatever:

An Aug. 11 Monday Mail attributed these lines from Eric Clapton's 1970 hit "After Midnight" to Eric Clapton: "We're gonna' cause talk and suspicion; we're gonna' give an exhibition; we're gonna' find out what it's all about."

That prompted this early warning that morning from Michael Brocato:

Dear Tim,

I'm probably not the first one to inform you of this, since your column was posted today:

"After Midnight" was written by the late J.J. Cale and not Eric Clapton; he only covered it.

He had a habit of writing songs that were made popular by others.

Give it a listen, the original is on J.J. Cale's debut album, "Naturally."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81Vx-0uM0k

Thanks,

Michael.

Dear Michael:

You were not just the first, but the only reader to let me know. Thanks.

You'd think I'd remember that, because I heard all the news reports on 74-year-old J.J. Cale's death from a heart attack July 26.

But after the radio news reports, you know whose version of "After Midnight" the disc jockeys played in Cale's memory: Eric Clapton's.

His voice got burned into my brain circuits.

Maybe instead I should have used a line from "Cocaine," another Clapton hit that Cale wrote.

"If your thing is done and you want to ride on" would have worked.

From my reckless youth, I recall you could tell what kind of nightclub you were in if everyone jumped up to dance only when the cover band began to grind out "Cocaine."

You were where people were too drunk to dance faster than the drunk lead guitarist could play.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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