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Old 06-30-2011, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I Just Can't Help Myself: The Wonderful Discography Of Terry Callier

I can’t tell you when...
But someday soon we’ll see the sun reborn again.
And there’ll be light without
As well as light within.
And occasional rain...

- Terry Callier, from 'Occasional Rain' (1972)
Imagine growing up in Chicago's North Side back in the 50's and 60's, fermenting in a barrel of new ideas and creativity against a landscape littered with racism, poverty, and the endless surges of back-and-forth dilapidation between American mainstream identity and the various counterculture movements that were seen as either poison or the key to positive change depending on where you stood.

Along with guys such as Jerry Butler, Ramsey Lewis and Curtis Mayfield, Terry Callier was one particularly talented fellow who grew up in the Chicago projects and struggled to make sense out of what he saw around him, things which would propel him to become a musician even as friends and foes alike would go on to far more visible careers.

However, unlike Mayfield and quite a few other Motown heavyweights, he's also one of the few classic soul masters of the golden age who still performs and writes new material today in the post-2000's, growing wiser and even more accomplished in his 50+ year craft even as his contemporaries have died, quit the business or fizzled out into the void.

Folk, jazz, soul, romance and that endlessly permutating thing we call the blues - these are the sonic elements that Callier has used since seeming time immemorial (or the early 60's til 2011 to be exact) to speak out against injustice and conflict in the world we live in, elements of society which retain their tenacity and relevance no matter which epoch you claim to hail from or which musical trends you have been indoctrinated by.

You guys know Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Gil Scott-Heron, John Martyn, Nick Drake, and other individuals who are endlessly praised or referenced for their contributions to soul, jazz, funk, folk, etc. and the pursuit of emotional, spiritual or otherwise, truth. Now it's time to get to know another.

Starting from today, I will review the discography of the guy who was always left out in the cold. The mystic who preceded the greats and yet outlives them. The man whom I personally feel has never gotten the due he deserves from people who should know better.

Welcome, ladies and gents of MusicBanter, to the musical universe of Terry Callier.
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