A.J. Croce Revisits the “Bar” on 20th-Anniversary reissue

A.J. Croce’s 1995 sophomore album, That’s Me in the Bar, ranks high on the list of “most New Orleans-sounding albums not made in New Orleans.” This week the Compass label plans a 20th-anniversary reissue of the album, adding a bonus track “If You Want Me to Stay” (yes, a cover of the Sly & the Family Stone classic) to the original 12 tracks, all written by Croce.

Local influences ran deep on Croce’s album, which was recorded with a heavyweight cast including Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, and the great studio drummer Jim Keltner who also produced. A number of reviewers, including All Music Guide’s Scott Yanow, noted Croce’s vocal similarity to Dr. John. Though more a critical than a commercial hit, the album gave the 24-year-old Croce a musical identity much different from his father, the late troubadour Jim Croce.

A.J. did eventually record in New Orleans. Last year’s album Twelve Tales features two tracks each with six notable producers, Allen Toussaint among them.