You’d think being the son of a famous musician would unlock a ton of doors. And it might, but it also usually puts a ton of unnecessary pressure on the offspring to live up to the wildly unrealistic expectations.
A.J. Croce, son of the late Jim Croce, managed to avoid a lot of those expectations thanks in part to sounding very little like his father and opting for a different musical vibe entirely. While Croce Sr. was the epitome of 1970s radio-friendly folk pop, the younger Croce made his name in a far less mainstream genre, mixing New Orleans Jazz piano with heavy Funk bass and Blues riffs. That distinction is pretty obvious on That’s Me in the Bar, Croce’s sophomore effort. The album gets a proper re-release treatment for its 20th anniversary, complete with a funk-heavy new track, “If You Want Me to Stay,” with the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea sitting in on bass.
The album, though not his best album, was the first to really catch the attention of critics and soon-to-be fans. It’s a solid dozen songs with plenty of guest musicians lending a hand (including Ry Cooder, Sid Page from Sly & The Family Stone and Little feat’s Bill Payne). Twenty years after it debuted, That’s Me in the Bar is still a great listen, vacillating between slower, Scotch sipping tunes and full-fledged funk numbers.
A.J. Croce – That’s Me in the Bar [20th Anniversary Edition]/13 tracks/Compass Records/2015