Yes, Yes, Yes Sunday Jammers. Hope all is good, good and so good. Wow, what a difference a week can make. The sun comes out and everything is a vibe and it could not have come sooner. It’s no longer a distant dream or a promise of fun, summer is around the corner and Saturday nights might be back on – well maybe. In the spirit of all that, I felt that a new playlist/mini tour was in order, think of it as your companion for ‘get right Sunday’ to soothe your throbbing head, clear away the body fog, and turn you back round the right way. It might even temp you into a Sunday night gig – if you can even imagine it.
I ended the gig drought last week and it was heaven. A beautiful, simple Saturday night out with people including some I had never met, which felt like such a novelty, and I had to do my best impression of a once well socialised human and not an over excited puppy just ready to jump with joy at the sound of jokes, observations and stories. Seriously, it felt like exploring new worlds. In amongst that the incredibly beautiful, poised, velvet tones of singer songwriter Celine Love gave it the extra fuel it needed to qualify as one of the best nights ever. So, shout out to Celine Love – who I am going to feature a track by in this mini run- and to The Old Church in Stoke Newington who reopened their Community Arts Venue and launched their new outdoor stage. It was the breath of fresh air I needed.
This week’s track is a homage of sorts to the singer songwriter school – once again thanks to Celine Love who lit the spark – and one of my most favourite pieces of music by the towering talents of Terry Callier. The track is ‘Ordinary Joe’ from the 1972 album Occasional Rain and this is one of the biggest folk tracks ever made, ever, ever, ever. It’s a beautifully deceptive piece of music starting off on this kind of mellow 70s soulful haze that makes it sound like it’s going to amble along, but then you quickly realise its well-structured with steady pace. It climbs, builds and builds heading towards a crescendo. It’s rooted in folk but has strong notes of jazz, soul, funk and psychedelia all along for the ride held together by Callier’s sublime vocals. He sounds sure, strong, rooted in the earth but there is vulnerability and heart that goes right through to the soul. It’s part lament, rebel yell and other part philosophical churning, each part building separately throughout and then meeting head on, giving way to a wall of sound that will carry your body away. The lyrics combine introspection with storytelling and reflections on life, whimsy and poetry all told his way. His music might draw from influences (Coltrane being an important one) but he took those building blocks and created something unique and timeless. It drives me crazy that his talent went unnoticed for so long but then I am quickly reminded that it gave way to later masterpieces like Time Peace.
Callier was a man ahead and, in some ways, out of his time. He gave up music at one point, after being dropped by his label, only to reemerge in the late 1980s when his music was rediscovered and given new life by the Acid Jazz movement, then in the late 1990s he made his comeback to recorded music. When you’ve recovered yourself from Saturday night get on a Terry Callier deep dive. I am a fan of his early output, where you will find a musician who took his influences and experiences and made them his own. Terry Callier was not replicating, he was a GOAT through and through. Happy Listening and Loves