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.
The original J.J. Cale version of this song is stripped-down, with the vocals far lower in the mix. Skynyrd decided to cover the song when guitarist Gary Rossington came up with a riff that distinguished it from the original.
This was one of the few cover songs Skynyrd recorded, and the only one on the album a band member didn't write. They recorded another J.J. Cale song, "Same Old Blues," on their 1976 album Gimme Back My Bullets, and had plans to work with Cale that were derailed by the 1977 plane crash that killed three members of the band.
Despite being one of the most popular Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, this was not released as a single. Albums were a much bigger deal in 1974, so just two singles were issued from Second Helping: "Don't Ask Me No Questions" and "Sweet Home Alabama."
Since it never got overplayed when the album was out, "Call Me The Breeze" found a spot on most classic rock playlists for many years.
James from Bellmawr NjSkynyrd put some southern boogie in Call Me The Breeze. Gary's solo is awesome.
Robert from North GeorgiaI remember the initial mix of this being much heavier on the fantastic rythym guitar work... especially during the lead break.
Jerry Neil Hunt from KansasThe great Bobby Keys on Sax.
Gary from Budd Lake, NjCale is a blues legend in his own right and most blues fans are aware of his extensive catalog. That said the cover version by Skynyrd has the abosolute catchiest horn riff in the the break that I think it's one the best any band has laid down in a recording. My friend believes it's actually the Muscle Shoals Swampers sitting in on this session. Can someone confirm?
Daevid from Glendale, CaA good 'ole toe-tapper. Great song!
Allan from Maple Valley, WaJ.J. cales version can be seen on the crossroads guitar festival dvd. It is definately different from the skynard version, but I like it all the same.
Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiCale's version is much softer than this version.
Max from Laconia, NhThis song was in the movie "Wild Hogs". Great movie and great song.
Evan from Winchester, EnglandIt's a great cover. Usually covers just annoy me.
Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI love the guitar and piano solos. I'd like to hear Kayle's version.
Chet Walters, Ink Specialist from Bethlehem, PaThe guitar and piano solos in this song are absolutely kick-ass!
Mike from Richmond, VaCale doesn't get enough credit for any of his work.