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VINE VOICEon 16 March 2008
Sometimes you come across an album that, right from first listening, secures a place for itself in your private Top Five Of All Time. This is one of them and I'm now going around pressing it upon people with the zeal of a convert.

The "convert" metaphor is appropriate, because Terry Callier is straight out of that rich Chicago soul tradition that merges the delights of the flesh with the ecstasies of the spirit. Comparisons abound: there's a lot of Marvin Gaye here, channeling both What's Going On's cosmic compassion and Let's Get It On's sexual charisma. But Terry Callier casts a wider net than Seventies soul/funk - fans of English folk of the period will find echoes of Nick Drake and John Martyn in Callier's delicate guitar work and half-moaned accompaniments. Oh, and he can rock out too, with an irresistable groove on You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman.

The crowning glory on this album is the opening track, the delirious Dancing Girl which catapults the listener through the jazz bars and music festivals of the counterculture, out through the ghettos and the trail of urban misery then launches majestically into outer space, to bask under the dispassionate eye of a God beyond time and space. Cosmic, man. The title track, following close on this epic's heels, bravely elects not to compete in terms of complexity, but is another standout of introspective singer-songwriter class.

Only on Just As Long As We're In Love does ambitious soul-funk-jazz-folk chic slip into Seventies cheese, with a swooping orchestral motif that's just slightly the wrong side of kitsch. Never mind, the remaining tracks are all treasures; in particular Callier's magisterial voice wringing an oh-so-tender romanticism from the gentle ballad I'd Rather Be With You.

By some sort of universal law, any album as unique, personal and ambitious as this must vanish without trace, unremarked by critics or public. And so it was, with Callier getting a job as a computer programmer to support his family through the Eighties. I gather he was rediscovered by us Brits, during the heyday of acid jazz, and pestered back into recording again. Which means that, unusually for an artist of his era, he's once again putting out fine albums and can be seen live, with a voice and idealism unadulterated by the ravages of success. Hey: the Seventies' loss is our gain.

In the meantime, if you're going to buy one syncretic retro soul/folk/jazz crossover album this year - or in fact, any sort of late-night album at all - buy "What Colour Is Love". And a lava lamp. Enjoy!
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on 28 March 2003
This was my first taste of Mr Terry Callier. I remember putting the CD on and being mesmorised for nearly 9 minutes listened to the majestic 'Dancing Girl'. This is a truly epic piece of music which takes you on a musical journey into the sublime. The CD is worth buying just for this one track.
Then comes another Terry Callier classic 'What Color is Love'. These two tracks have become 2 of Terry's most played during his musical pilgrimage around the world.
This man is a true talent, buy this CD and try to go and see him live. This CD will never leave your collection
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on 21 January 2016
An essential album to own for any lover of old school soul and jazz. Inthused with a rainbow of colours and moods it captures the ealy 1970's and should be thought of as an all time classic alongside more lauded albums by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
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At about 1:58 into the astonishing "Dancing Girl" (the opening nine-minute track of "What Color Is Love") it gets very quiet and the acoustic guitar holds the speakers alone - then Don Myrick's tasteful sax work floats in followed by keyboard flourishes and some wickedly arranged strings by Charles Stepney... The effect is absolutely magical...

And after you've put your jaw back into place - you're left standing there with a genuine has something this lovely and genuinely soulful been forgotten? Why isn't this huge?

"What Color Is Love" was released on LP in March 1973 in the USA on Cadet CA 50019 and is the second of three albums Callier made for the Chess offshoot label Cadet in the Seventies - the first was "Occasional Rain" in 1972 (see separate review) and the third was "I Just Can't Help Myself" in 1975 (see review for Japanese CD import).

Both "What Color..." and "Occasional Rain" are part of Universal's "ORIGINALS" CD reissue series - Jazz, Soul, Fusion and Latin LPs reissued and remastered onto CD from a multitude of labels under the Universal umbrella. All use generic artwork (the originals name and band on the left of the sleeve as pictured above) and are gatefold card digipaks issued at mid-price. Although the card digipaks are aesthetically pleasing as mini-repro LP sleeves, unfortunately most come without booklets - this album's recording credits on the inner flap for instance are barely legible. Which is a bummer because if ever an album deserved fresh liner notes, history, photos, a new interview - but alas...

Released on CD in March 2008 - Verve Originals B0011921-02 (Barcode 602517829749) plays as follows (40:44 minutes):
1. Dancing Girl
2. What Color Is Love
3. You Goin' Miss Your candyman
4. Just As Long As We're In Love
5. Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun)
6. I'd Rather Be With You
7. You Don't Care

The good news is that the Remaster is beautiful - the tapes transferred by a name I've seen on hundreds of quality reissues - KEVIN REEVES. So mellow, so lovely... a great job done.

As well as the wonderful breath of "Dancing Girl" (lyrics above) - highlights include the huge build up on Side One's closer "You Goin' To Miss Your Candyman" (co-written with Phyllis Braxton), the "I-must-hit-the-road but I wanna..." soft-soul of "I'd Rather Be With You" (co-written with Larry Wade and Jerry Butler) and the so 5th Dimension girly vocals of Kitty Haywood, Shirley Wahls and Vivian Harrell on "You Don't Care" - a song so up with hippy-love-and-harmony that it may have some of you going to work in a sunny disposition on the drizzliest of Monday mornings...

PHIL UPCHURCH features on Guitar throughout, while another soul-hero associated with the album is CHARLES STEPNEY who arranged, conducted and produced the project to such sweet effect (also played keyboards). He was involved in The Rotary Connection with Minnie Riperton, produced four albums with The Dells and even twiddled the knobs on the iconic and now much-vaulted psych-blues-fusion album "Electric Mud" by Muddy Waters. I'd personally scour down anything he had a hand in - a genius...

Like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", Donny Hathaway's "Extension Of A Man", Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" and Callier's predecessor to this "Occasional Rain" - this is a proper soul album - a gem all the way through and still beautiful and inspiring to this day - some 30/40 years after the event. Why isn't the LP artwork of this masterpiece on someone's t-shirt somewhere as the ultimate street-cool - who knows? But you owe it to yourself to check it out.

In his later years Terry Callier had morphed (like Richie Havens) into a sort of elder statesman of Soul - still spreading his gospel of love and understanding (check out "Timepeace" from 1998 - unbelievably good and relevant to the now and not just past glories). I've warbled on a bit I know but Callier's run of three albums on Cadet in the Seventies deserve it...
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on 10 August 2008
I was a latecomer to Terry Callier's music first hearing him on the Massive Attack single Come Live With Me and I was bowled over with his voice and the song. Then I bought What Color Is Love to here more of him and I could not believe that this singer had been on the fringe of music for so long. His voice is so smooth and velvety it's perfection, some of the songs are on the Teddy Pendergrass side of soul but I cannot recommend this CD enough, best played late at night with the one you love and a glass of velvety smooth wine! I really hope that Terry finds a wider audience for his music which is of the highest quality and his writing is top notch too.
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on 20 March 2001
smooth tuneful jazz-folk from an intelligent vocalist and guitarist....
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on 18 July 2012
As other reviewers have said - TC finds a almost exclusive slot in the folk/soul market, where you will only find Nick Drake, John Martyn, Gil Scott-Heron, Richie Havens, Nina Simone and Oscar Brown Jr (the closest musician to TC in all respects).

But the real star here is producer/arranger/pianist/visionary Charles Stepney. He was the house arranger at Cadet at the time, but his vision & legacy still lives on. He was responsible for the musical direction of the Dells, Rotary Connection (ft. Minnie Ripperton), Ramsey Lewis, Earth, Wind & Fire and others.

Stepney had obviously been influenced by Bones Howe & his 5th Dimension recordings (try Magic Garden - early psychedelic soul), but had incorporated elements of classical, folk, gospel and choral musics into his vision. These are all exemplified in this glorious TC album. I was lucky enough to find a 180gm vinly version of this album in the US, and it sounds wonderful.

This is not music to get up and grab you. It offers different sections & sounds (Dancing Girl), and understated melodies until it hits you that this is popular music at a much higher level. Brilliant achievement.
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on 21 November 2012
Terry Callier's music is superb but the qality of the download is not at all acceptable. I'd happily pay the extra for the CD but as it wasn't available I purchased the download. I've bought quite a few downloads now with similar problems - no more Amazon mp3's for me . . .
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on 22 July 2000
If you like Nina Simone and Gil Scott Heron, then Terry is the man. He actually sounds like Simone - or does she sound like him? This is a wickedly smooth album - pure sexual chocolate.
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on 22 July 2000
If you like Nina Simone and Gil Scott Heron, then Terry is the man. He actually sounds like Simone - or does she sound like him? This is a wickedly smooth album - pure sexual chocolate.
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