JJ Cale - Downtown L.A. Lyrics




Downtown L.A. is a depressing place
You can see young men with deep lines in their face
They could all be something if somebody cared
But nobody knows they're even down there
Old woman walking with a sack on her back
Picking up the garbage people put out back
Men down there trying to walk the line
Trading their soul for a bottle of wine

In the inner city it ain't no good
It's a long, long way from Hollywood
Bad kind of people got a hold of the street
They got something that the poor people need
At two in the morning they bust your head
Fat chance walking you'll end up dead
It' the law of the jungle with a gun and a knife
If you stay long enough you lose your life

Man down there he couldn't be lying
He was sleeping in the street and he couldn't keep from crying
Said he'd been there for twenty one years
Through the bars and the brawls and the blues and the tears
Prop up the front the back falls down
All around the canyons of L.A. town
When he asked me for a dollar I looked him in his face
Downtown L.A. is a depressing place





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JJ Cale Downtown L.A. Comments
  1. Peter West

    A simple chord progression backed up by wonderful lyrics which we can all relate to, stunning. The guitar sound with some finger picking is why It draws me back time and time again. Music is how it should be

  2. sterianos karatzovalis

    Πολύ όμορφο τραγούδι!

  3. Amoss amos

    This song has no expiration date . I Like It .

  4. Charles Dyce

    one of his best songs.......and he made a few good ones!

  5. hedleylamarr72

    Beautiful music

  6. maurice boyle

    Just spent an evening listening to J.J. Cale for the first time. ....Mind blown.

  7. Morgan Alvarez

    I can see where Mark Knopfler
    gets his inspiration from :-)

  8. Kurt Blake

    The percussion in this recording is perfect

  9. David Lichner

    I was in L.A. in the summer of '82, and let me tell you, it was something else then. And the girls...oh yeah, those girls knew how to welcome visitors..

  10. Randy Main

    A simple man with a great tal.

  11. Carlos M. de vasconcelllos

    Cecil Hotel, Elisa Lam, Black Dahlia, Richard Ramirez, all right ! But the worst are right on the hills of Hollywood!

  12. Borderina As

    🌷🍀

  13. Redduke Teleman

    I saw JJ in London in the 70's. He stayed at the back of the stage the whole night and let the others take the glory. A very humble human being. RIP.

  14. Txus Iturbe

    J J greatest

  15. Ayrto Doc

    I miss you mister cale from algeria

  16. Otto Greenleaf

    GrimBat01: thanks for posting. Love this song. But why is Kramer at the end of the video? Cheers!

    joea wilson

    just for effects i suspect

  17. HOWYESNO

    Why is there a picture of Kramer at the end?

  18. nikolaos petridis

    R.I.P. JJ Your music is down. The Greeks still honor you

  19. Nicole Garnett

    A guy in his own time zone, the sneakiest cat ever.

  20. Kevin Francis

    I don't know if it's because there's such a high volume of ...crappy music coming out these days ...it's brought my music taste back to the brilliance of JJ

  21. joea wilson

    JJ Cale is an Okie know a few of them back in the day

  22. Angelo Diragusa

    Should be far better known and appreciated....

  23. Rainer

    Guitar Heroe! This song is so nice, melody, guitar, bass, rythm and voice, total harmony....
    So see you later in the Universe, Mr. Cale!

  24. Silvo Zupancic

    JJ inspired me so much. JJ will play and sing forever. Thank you JJ.

  25. Steve Ebbens

    This world lost a whole lotta cool when JJ Cale left us. When I hear his music, I sigh and breath the breeze that is JJ Cale. He is within me and I am grateful. Thank you JJ Cale.

  26. city zen

    Downtown L. A. is a dangerous place, especially after midnight.

  27. Kent Borges

    sure miss JJ...finger pickin' great.

  28. Mike Upchurch

    JJ is the absolute master of the groove mellow boogie genre. Been a role model to my guitar music for many years. I teach his tunes to my students. My son and daughter love his music. We just miss the maker.

  29. lone wolf

    Magnifique jj cale. Je ne m'en lasse jamais.

    jean luc le roy

    C'est tellement bien que tous les mots du monde ne peuvent exprimer à tel point c'est génial...☆

  30. rick777888

    One of those rare musicians who's incapable of making a bad song.

  31. Joe Vokey

    Found my happy place

  32. SKOJCV

    The bass playing is phenomenal on this track

  33. Stacey Grove

    Clapton (GOD) had a lot of respect for this guy!

    Otto Greenleaf

    So does Neil Young.

  34. Jacques Uzi

    JJ saved my life

  35. andrew lockerbie

    Deeply cool music. I listen to JJ Cale more than any other musician.

  36. Jacques Uzi

    masterpiece

  37. Xavier Hamel

    Brillantissime morceau

    on a affaire à un génie 🧞‍♂️

  38. Michael Bruck

    Downtown LA is one of my favorite Cale tunes bc its such a gem that hasnt been done by another artist.

    ulpana

    Cale issued the Grasshopper album in 1982. Listen to Mark Knopfler's longer pieces as Dire Straits ceased to be a band and became Mark's vehicle. Apropos Cale's "Downtown L.A." Especially "Telegraph Road" follow the lyrics and the recording by Mark Knopfler's Dire Straits:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Dire+Straits+Telegraph+Road&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab  

    Or, as a bar band with his brother David Knopfler they were up-front about modeling their first 3 albums sounds (before quitting their day jobs as school teachers) after Cale's album 'sound.' The aesthetic approach on guitar by Knopfler is closer to Cale's own Slow Hand approach that Clapton admired but never really tried to imitate. Tulsa Time also seemed elusive to most non-Tulsa players, although they all sure appreciated it! That's Cale's longtime timekeeper Jimmy Karstein not the hot session Tulsa timekeeper Jim Keltner on the road and in most of the best Cale studio recordings, with traps man Jim Cruce or Cale's older Tulsa studio pals David Teagarden or Bill Boatman with Karstein.

    Knopfler, to his credit
    and no knock on him, wait til you see in coming years the stuff recorded by Cale's band-members of Knopfler pulling his
    Dire Straits gargantuan tour bus into tiny Mill Valley streets after playing some Bay Area arena show to jam with Cale after tiny Sweetwater week-long stands by Cale's combo. Knopfler's song-writing for a while
    did what his guitar playing has been about all along, trying to personalize Cale's aesthetics and focused listening skills into Knopfler's own work.

    Clapton shouldn't be knocked for admiring and recording Cale's songs. Listening to Clapton's covers of Cale songs makes clear that the Rock doesn't share much of Cale's
    aesthetic as Clapton quite openly had his eye on pop\rock radio while Cale was content
    to remain in studios and behind the scenes. Cale never stopped chasing his muses wherever they took him. Knopfler also outgrew the pop\rock star phase and settled into
    more serious studio work with wonderful artists inviting him to embellish their most
    thoughtful work (like the McGarrigle Sisters and extended family or obscure midwestern
    U.S. indie artist Paul Burch and his WPA Ballclub band:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBBzjQLNHas

    Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Shifters
    Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
    Media Discussion List

    John Payne

    it was written and recorded by Gaye Delorme https://www.discogs.com/Gaye-Delorme-Downtown-LA/release/11924156

    Tim L.

    John Payne - It was recorded by Delorme, but written by Cale (as it says in your link).

    vinieux

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqxNrychfw8

  39. Andy James

    The artist reaches perhaps his greatest height here. Perfection, presented with simple authority. He holds a mirror for America to see an aspect of herself in without embellishment. Sad and true.

  40. Xavier Hamel

    Un morceau fabuleux

  41. Xavier Hamel

    de toute façon c’était un génie ....
    je l’apprécie autant que knopfler, ce qui n’est pas peu dire ....

    un talent à l’état brut ! il savait écrire des morceaux qui restent dans la tête, qui au premier abord ne payent pas de mine, mais qui sont très souvent des bijoux de composition.
    the old man and me, cherry, feeling in love .... etc etc etc

    vraiment un immense immense musicien !

    mario maynes

    très bien dit. JJ Cale un grand monsieur. il nous manquera.

    BC95

    Un vrai talent , Une musique universelle, qui nous fait du bien , et un guitariste hors paire qui nous manque énormément !

  42. Steve Ebbens

    JJ Cale always goes down smooth.

  43. julius grigo

    Классно играет Джей Джей душевно и приятно всегда его слышать

  44. Lukas Sommer

    bab bbabb babb baba baaababaaa babaaba babba baa ;)

  45. Egidio Pucci

    Jj cale tesse......

  46. Mr. Bluesnote

    🐔💃🐔💃🐔💃awesome stuff
    ✌💓💓💓🕵

  47. Skating Bear Studios

    Thanks for posting but what does Kramer have to do with this video? Lol

  48. TS50ER

    This cat blows that pretender Eric Crapton away.

  49. Charles Dyce

    rip JJ Cale, your music will never be forgotten.

  50. Florian Cojocaru

    who knows the guitar model in the picture ?

  51. muy thai

    i want a jj cale box set

  52. Marco Sirigu

    Downtown L.A. is a depressing place
    You can see young men with deep lines in their face
    They could all be something if somebody cared
    But nobody knows they're even down there
    Old woman walking with a sack on her back
    Picking up the garbage people put out back
    Men down there trying to walk the line
    Trading their soul for a bottle of wine
    In the inner city it ain't no good
    It's a long, long way from Hollywood
    Bad kind of people got a hold of the street
    They got something that the poor people need

    At two in the morning they bust your head
    Fat chance walking you'll end up dead
    It's the law of the jungle with a gun and a knife
    If you stay long enough you lose your life
    Man down there he couldn't be lying
    He was sleeping in the street and he couldn't keep from crying
    Said he'd been there for twenty one years
    Through the bars and the brawls and the blues and the tears


    Prop up the front tha back falls down
    All around the canyons of L.A, town
    When he asked me fora dollar I looked him in his face
    L.A. is a depressing place.

    Shrooblord

    Excellent, thanks! Only remark I have:
    Downtown L.A. is to keep us in place

    Rather than L.A. is a depressing place

    ;)

  53. tim jones

    Dudes who thumbs down this are idiots!

  54. Evan's Gate

    Love the kramer at the end. This song is what I imagine heaven would sound like.

    Karl Soliday

    I love JJ.
    Karl Sapulpa, OK

  55. Simon Eden

    Downtown L.A. :)

  56. Simon Eden

    jj is the king of laid back :)

  57. khalid zniber

    sublime sublime and the best

  58. Judson Clayto

    great song, first time i've tried to listen to all the lyrics... didn't even know the title of it before now...

  59. valutazione sito

    kramer at the end lol

  60. danradu leaf

    His perfect song!

  61. Readie Read

    He is the Dude..........

  62. Simon Eden

    I cannot live without jj cale, to calm my nerves.

    Le Marquis de Marmalade

    ...indeed, it’s healing music...the best kind of healing music

    Suzie Chelsea

    me too ~

  63. TheSporehacker

    A masterpiece

    Anthony Warren

    Listen to Gaye DeLorme's version. Stellar.

  64. Derek Corder

    why is Kramer on this video?

    Donnie Allemanni

    Don't you remember when Kramer went to L.A.

    joea wilson

    @Donnie Allemanni east la ?

  65. Greg Giovanis

    song to sailing!!!

  66. Simon Mcgrath

    this song takes me back to the summer of 89' myself and my little brother (rip) were introduced to this song and it was constantly played!! fond memories, great guitar player, great song, great times!!!!

    Jotoy

    Lovely strong Comment !! Wish the Best for You and ,Brother,

  67. kipponi

    J.J. Cale master guitarist and songwriter. And his band stayed loyal forever no changes in line.
    And they said the most humble man in the world. I believe that.

    mike white

    I believe it too. RIP J.J.

  68. Mallika Chauhan

    Friday gorgeousness!

    noiretblanc66

    Très bon ☆☆☆

  69. Jon Bass

    Descubrí a JJ en el año 1979 con el disco nro 5. De ahí en más no dejé de escucharlo y deleitarme con sus canciones. Su estilo y calidad, sus hermosas melodías, el delicado sonido de su guitarra, los excelentes músicos que lo acompañaban y su bajísimo perfil, lo constituyeron en un artista único. JJ Cale,  tu paso por esta vida nos llenó de sensaciones.  QEPD y gracias por tu música.

    RAMÓN DOMÍNGUEZ

    Qué razón tienes.

  70. N A

    RIP master.

  71. Alan Brunt

    Great track!

  72. Doug Wright

    I sure miss this guy.

  73. RM S.

    great song en thanks uploader, its great sound quality also

  74. Yeray Santana

    ... sencillamente ..una Joya ...... COUNTRY BLUES .....

    Yeray Santana

    .. como aire fresco .....

    Yeray Santana

    muy buena onda .....

  75. Rarebird67

    Excellent :)

  76. Thibault Guelque

    Base line is amazing... love it, Miss U JJ

  77. Sincopare

    If you haven't dug Cale's music, I encourage you to unplug yourself and tune in to this man's music. So elemental and honest. My condolences to his family. 

    Sincopare

    Was downtown LA today and this song is still the truth after 35 years (released in 1982). From the excellent Grasshopper LP.

  78. stavros petrogiannis

    he has original sound

  79. Rob Sinclaire

    Few years back JJ played the small Vogue Theatre in Vancouver - total class, what a great artist he is and will be forever!

  80. oleole52

    A man who did everything he could to avoid stardom.He didn't even like notoriety.But,in the end,he was just so good that he couldn't escape either one.

  81. tzleague

    J.J. Cale was always all about THE SONG and never about himself. He was the best of the best, yet one of the humblest musicans I ever saw Live. If you ever want to drive across the country, get about 15 JJ Cale CDs and head on out. I can attest that your trip will be infinitely better. God Bless Mr. JJ Cale.

  82. Robert Spotti

    Got to see him once a few years back he was fantastic. It was a show I'll never forget.I feel so lucky to have seen him. He will be missed!!! Rest in Peace J.J., God Bless.

  83. Sergio GR

    Yesterday, July 27th, 2013, and at 8:00 pm, the Great J.J. Cale suffered a heart attack and passed away at Scripps Hospital, in La Jolla, California. He was 74 years old. Incrediby talented songwriter and musician. Incredible loss for us - his fans. Rest In Peace J.J.

  84. JacqBLUEjay

    I waited decades to see him, it was always sold out because he preferred the little clubs, or then he'd be a guest for a Clapton concert, or others. My wait has now ended, he had to go. RIP dear man with the smooth voice and aerial finger play.

  85. zodiacbluesbaby

    RIP JJ Cale, genius.

  86. RetroJenny

    Fantastic tune.

  87. Sergio GR

    "Downtown L.A" is one my favorite Cale songs. Nice lyrics and great beat.

  88. 1957mdb

    J.J. is the Man! All the hits this man wrote after being DJ, what a great change in employment. What talent he had held, in he's heart! All those years sitting behind the Mic, interviewing all those Rock Stars on that radio. Than out wrote allllllllll of them, in my mind!

  89. ccalculus

    Mark Knopfler can be considered being a disciple of JJ Cale, a reel guitar hero...

  90. Dragan Mirkovic

    First came wheel and than Dire Straits...

  91. LightenUpMcGraw

    JJ Cale there is no substitute

  92. movid

    I've been saying this for yesrs,,--)

  93. Mitch Pond

    yes I thought it Gayes was dire too

  94. Mitch Pond

    jj is one of my hero's, I always go back to his originals after listening to clapton, skynard, etal covering him...but Gaye really did put heart to this one

    vinieux

    Delorme

  95. northman1960

    A Canadian artist named Gaye Delorme coverd this song and did an amazing job. Check it out on YouTube.

  96. gNarLy cEe

    JJ one more tour.. ! please! please I beg of you !