J.J. Cale’s debut album Naturally is a revelation. Released at a time when Led Zeppelin and scores of their imitators were turning the blues into fist pumping stadium rock, Cale showed that a true master need not speak in anything more than a whisper. With its muted drum machines and morphinic guitar lines, Naturally was a whole new look for rock’n’roll. “Magnolia” is the slowest, sweetest ode to Southern reverie, while “Call the Doctor” and “Don’t Go To Strangers” tow a sinister current beneath Cale’s serene exterior. Cale’s peers were impressed: “Call Me the Breeze,” “Clyde,” “Crazy Mama,” and “After Midnight” would go on to be covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings, The Band, and Eric Clapton, respectively. More than anything else, musicians respect a stylist, and even if Cale followed a simple recipe, he did in a way that no one else could replicate. This is the secret of the blues, and in 1971, no one possessed a deeper understanding than this 33-year-old Okie.