This was written and originally recorded by the Oklahoma guitarist J.J. Cale. The song is about a guy who can go where the weather takes him, unburdened by the weight of the world. It was a fitting statement for Cale, who went out of his way to keep things simple and stay out of the spotlight (his photo didn't appear on his first seven albums). The concept of savoring simplicity and going where the wind takes you is also a theme of many Skynyrd songs.
"Call Me The Breeze" appeared on Cale's first solo album, a 1971 release called Naturally
. He got his record deal after Eric Clapton recorded "After Midnight
," a song Cale wrote and recorded with his band the Leathercoated Minds in 1966. Naturally
did well, placing three songs in the Hot 100 and garnering Cale offers from bigger labels (he was signed to Shelter Records). Cale kept it low-key, however, and worked at his own pace.
When Lynyrd Skynyrd covered this song, it once again financed Cale's lifestyle, allowing him to release albums in a leisurely fashion and without concern for hit potential. Clapton remained a key supporter of Cale, later recording his songs "Cocaine" and "Travellin' Light." Cale died in 2013 at age 74.