Before today I hadn't a clue who Terry Callier was.I was listening to an album my father had purchased today by him and this was the one-and this is proof how,in the right hands how superb a first impression can be.On 1978's 'Fire & Ice" Callier employs the talents of Eddie Harris,Phil Upchurch and Minnie Ripperton for an arresting,intense mixture of acoustic guitar with firey soul and funk-rock.The biting "Street Fever" with it's powerfully rocking,slamming chords is a visceral commentary on the plight of the cities dislocated.On the Philly soul inspired "Disco In The Sky" Callier speculates on where rock stars will go after death.The most potent song is the soulful,poetic "African Violet",in which Callier encourages the black community to continue it's struggle for acceptance in society,despite past faliers and resentments.
During the disco era in which 'Fire & Ice' was released,politically inclined message songs were hardly in vogue.Nore was it always smart for a black 60's folk-rocker like
Callier to start playing Gil Scott Heron by integrating funky rhythms and R&B arrangements into his sound.But he did and with the right people he did it extremely well.This sound continued for at least one more album I noticed but for those who know Callier only for his earlier career I suggest you give this a listen.For those who enjoy protest R&B and funk with great songwriting and arrangements this will be right up your alley!
on January 24, 2002
..By those who now OVERAPPRECIATE him !
WOW, I am always interested in the subjectivities and objectivities in people's "opinions". Terry Callier,so long overdue for some solid "recognition" has been "discovered" in Europe during the early 90's. His old Cadet recordings are now being LAVISHED over as mini-masterpieces ,rightfully so!
For some reason, the 2 Elektra recordings seem to be ignored, the main criticism is that they are "overproduced".
We are dealing in irony now, as Elektra was only trying to do what has finally been accomplished--to get the great Terry Callier compositions some recognition(read-SELL COPIES, hehehe).
The cd features the usual Chicago session musicians, and of course, there is more lavish instrumentation/orchestration on the tracks..
"Holdin On" is re-recorded (originally on the cd "Turn You To Love"),with an eye towards the "R&B" market, and it is STILL a wonderful song! On the flip side, the pandering "Disco in the Sky" is not a terrible cut, but the disco groove on the chorus IS a bit annoying.
All the tracks have the dreamy, image laden TC jazz/folk doowop sound, save only one COMPLETE DOG track-"Street Fever". This track is a totally inappropriate "riff-rock" travesty,I dont know what they were thinking.........
"African Violet" hints at the sounds of the lament of the griots, and "Butterfly" a whimsical jazz/ballad.
I disagree with the "criticisms" of this recording, it isnt overproduced, it is just a different approach to presenting the musics of this fine , expressive singer, a composer of beautiful and heartfelt songs.
on January 31, 2008
this is a powerful cd. i don't think there's a bad track on it. it's groovy, but there's real anguish in it too. african violet blew me away, but the lighter cuts had a raw, on-the-street kind of beauty that appealed as well. new depth for me on the soul spectrum.