To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale
Director: Jörg Bundschuh
Featuring: J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Joan Cale Sommers
Studio: Time Life
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7
Written by Tracy M. Rogers
Though it provides both the personal history of J.J. Cale as well as a chronicle of the Tulsa music scene, the documentary To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale centers on the legendary guitarist’s tour through the Western U.S. in support of his latest album (from which the film took its name). Beginning with dreamy opening scenes of the Western landscape (as seen from Cale’s tour bus) and incorporating family photos and band interviews, To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale is content-heavy but light on music. This, however, is not necessarily a criticism. Cale’s early bands, his 1960s departure from Oklahoma to join the California music scene, and his long-running association with Eric Clapton are recounted through interviews and archival footage, while a series of low-key musical interludes introduce the audience to a handful of his most famous compositions. In ruminating about his past, Cale is decidedly laid back and philosophical, and his longtime friends-turned-touring entourage follow suit. Throughout, the landscapes and cinematography are sublime. All of this creates a mellow, organic documentary that is insightful without being overbearing or forced. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box