Neil Young once wrote a song called 'Unknown Legend', and never was that title more applicable than in the case of JJ Cale. Born in 1938 in Oklahoma City, John Weldon Cale (nicknamed 'JJ' to avoid confusion with the Velvets John Cale) was a song writing pioneer and roots music communicator throughout more than five decades as an active musician.

A string of 45s in the 60s made little dent in the world. However, it was when one of these - 'After Midnight' – was covered by Eric Clapton in 1970, that a starving Cale could afford to continue making the music he was about to give up on.

Unveiling his debut full length album Naturally in 1972, JJ would release another thirteen albums before his death (heart attack) this past Friday (26th July). Arguably, his biggest success came again through Clapton, who recorded perhaps the definitive version of 'Cocaine' for his Slowhand album in 1977. But many other artists like Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers have queued up to interpret his songs and pay their compliments to a guy most people could neither name nor recognise.

Apparently, it was never a bother that people knew his songs and not him, "especially when there is a check in the mail." JJ Cale's laid back playing and delivery were incredibly understated, yet Neil Young also once said that of all the musicians he had ever heard, JJ Cale and Jimi Hendrix were the two best electric guitar players.

An Unknown Legend indeed.