Music Banter - View Single Post - I Just Can't Help Myself: The Wonderful Discography Of Terry Callier
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Occasional Rain (1972)

1. Segue #1 - Go Ahead On (0:38)
2. Ordinary Joe (4:19)
3. Golden Circle (3:33)
4. Segue #5 - Go Ahead On (0:38)
5. Trance On Sedgewick Street (6:17)
6. Do You Finally Need A Friend (5:42)
7. Segue #4 - Go Head On (0:38)
8. Sweet Edie-D (5:00)
9. Occasional Rain (4:33)
10. Segue #2 - Go Head On (0:38)
11. Blues For Marcus (3:29)
12. Lean On Me (6:28)
13. Last Segue - Go Ahead On (0:38)

Although Callier's folksy blues-laden debut received a lukewarm response from the world at large, the absence of stardom didn't deter our burgeoning mystic from writing and expanding his own horizons as an artist: if anything, the cold reception only spurred him on to push the envelope.

In 1970, hoping for an opportunity to break into the music industry, Callier and his recording partner Larry Wade were taken in under the wing of the Chicago Songwriters Workshop and ended up crafting a couple of hits over the next year or so, including 'The Love We Had Stays on My Mind' by The Dells. It was through this that Callier met producer Charles Stepney, a well known associate of soul ensemble Rotary Connection and soon-to-be soulstress superstar Minnie Riperton.

In 1972, the two teamed up to help Callier up his game to the level that he wanted in the form of Occasional Rain, the first of several collaborations which would last several classics more until the end of the 70's.

After a strummed-up monologue from Callier, we're led into the first song proper and signature tune 'Ordinary Joe', a minor Northern Soul classic. It's a gorgeous little jaunt, bubbling along a great one-note keyboard line set against a lamenting melancholy -- an ordinary guy who can't seem to fight against his limitations and envies the birds above who are flying free, unobligated and unbeset by prejudice from those around them.

Beyond that opening number, the album itself marks a noticeable leap in both Terry's songwriting and willingness to sonically embellish: strings and keys and more varied instrumental touches in general are a fixture to the songs here, and although the effect maybe be a tad too baroque for some folks, it clicks together like hot fudge and ice cream more often than not.

Fundamentally, despite his newfound orchestral fetish, the blues remain this record's foundation. Whether its urban decadence bled to the tune of a cello and guitar in 'Trance On Sedgewick Street' or the downtempo jazziness of 'Do You Finally Need A Friend', there's plenty of gorgeous languidity to reflect upon (not unlike Nick Drake's classic material).

The title track, however, is where heaven itself seems to emanate and become audible. Stark, tranquil and heartbreaking - the psychedelic organ, the guitar, and Callier's voice have found paradise in their soliloquy for all the world.

It's hard to believe, in some respects, that this was only Callier's second record: many artists could strive entire decades and still not craft a single song that comes close to the sheer depth of feeling born in these compositions.

When the party noise dies down and people are left alone in their spaces, they'd probably do themselves a favor in seeking out Occasional Rain. Perhaps then the light and stability they seek inside but do not hold won't seem so far from their eyes.

This is the essence of sound without time and a voice that speaks to the soul of what you are. Possibly more...but nothing less.
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