July 09, 2009

Soulfull Folk: Terry Callier on Cadet 1972-1973

Chicago-born Terry Callier (may 24th, 1945) was a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield and recorded his first album in 1963. However, this debut for the Prestige label, The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, was not released untill 1968 because supposedly the producer (including the master tapes) disappeared for a few years, staying in an Indian Yaki reservation. At the beginning of the seventies, Callier signed with Cadet (a sublabel of the Chess powerhouse) and released three stunning albums which mixed soul, folk and jazz with Chess producer Charles Stepney's tastefull orchestration. Stephey already produced the experimental sound of The Rotary Connection and would later have massive succes with Earth, Wind and Fire. Guitar hero Phil Upchurch plays on all three Callier recordings and the overal sound of the albums is deeply melancolic but sweetly transcendental. This is not music you listen while doing something else, for the poetic truth and beauty of this work reveals itself only to the attentive listeners. Imagine Marvin Gaye meeting up with Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley and there you go........

Terry Callier's first album for Cadet, Occasional Rain was released in 1972. All originals, including the classic Ordinary Joe. Backing vocals by Minnie Ripperton.
Tracklist: Segue #1 - Go Ahead On, Ordinary Joe, Golden Circle, Segue #5 - Go Head On, Trance on Sedgewick Street, Do You Finally Need a Friend , Segue #4 - Go Head On, Sweet Edie-D, Occasional Rain, Segue #2 - Go Head On, Blues for Marcus, Lean on Me, Last Segue - Go Head On

Terry's second album, What Colour is Love, was released on Cadet in 1972. Again all original songs, including You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman, as sampled by Urban Species in Listen. Also one of my all-time favourite album covers ever.
Tracklist: Dancing Girl, What Color Is Love, You Goin' Miss Your Candyman, Just As Long As We're In Love, Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun), I'd Rather Be With You, You Don't Care.

Terry Callier's final and most soulfull 1973 album for Cadet, called I Just Can't Help Myself. Sounding like a stripped-down Marvin Gaye, including a splendid version of Duke Ellington's Satin Doll and the John Coltrane tribute Can't Catch The Trane (together with Alley-Wind Song already recorded in 1969).
Tracklist: (I Just Can't Help Myself) I Don't Want Nobody Else, Brown-Eyed-Lady, Gotta Get Closer To You, Satin Doll, Until Tomorrow, Alley-Wind Song, Can't Catch The Trane, Bowlin' Green.
Terry Callier continued to record and release records till 1982, when he took over resposibility of raising his 12 year old daughter and started working as a computer programmer at Chicago University. Musically dormant during most of the eighties, he was rediscovered in the nineties and started releasing albums again. His latest effort, Hidden Conversations, was just released on the Mr Bongo label.

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