Rolling Stone - 3/2/72, p.57
"...This quiet and leisurely album from an excellent guitarist, vocalist and songwriter is a charmer...one of the most enjoyable debut albums in some time..."
Personnel: J.J. Cale (vocals, guitar, piano, drums); J.J. Cale; Dianne Davidson (vocals, background vocals); Chuck Browning (guitar, drums); Buddy Spicher (violin, fiddle); Buddy Spiker (fiddle); Ed Colis, Ed Colis (harmonica); Norman Ray (saxophone); Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson (piano); Tim Drummond (bass instrument, drums); Norbert Putnam, Carl Radle (bass instrument); Chuck Browning (drums); Diane Davidson (background vocals); Mac Gayden (guitar, slide guitar); Weldon Myrick (steel guitar); Walter Haynes (dobro); Shorty Lavender (violin, fiddle); David Briggs (piano, organ, keyboards); Jerry Whitehurst (piano, keyboards); Karl Himmel (drums).
Recording information: Bradley's Barn, Mt. Juliet, TN (09/29/1970-06/09/1971); Moss Rose Studio, Nashville, TN (09/29/1970-06/09/1971).
NATURALLY has stood up over the years as a perfect debut. When released in 1971, it introduced J.J. Cale's rootsy, laid back grooves to excellent effect, and in the decades since, this album and its follow-up, REALLY, have remained classics of mellow '70s country-rock. Riding on the success and easy blues feel of Eric Clapton's cover of Cale's "After Midnight," NATURALLY goes even deeper into roots music, concocting a mixture of country, blues, and boogie that is full of downhome goodness while it drips with cool.
Cale's version of "After Midnight" is here, as is his loping "Call Me the Breeze" (later covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd), and the minimal blues "Crazy Mama" (a radio hit for Cale). The music is deceptively tricky--the surface textures pull you in like a porch swing, but the interlocking rhythmic base is full of subtle tugs and pulls that are far from standard-issue slow boogie. A sterling cast of players backs Cale, adding warm tones and light, in-the-cut rhythms. NATURALLY is a perfect introduction to the work of this influential cult figure.