I drove into work this morning listening to Terry Callier. On arrival I read that he’d died in the past few days and it perhaps had more of an effect than these things normally do. I can’t claim that I’m one of those people who dug him right from the start – there’s not many of those about – but like many I started hearing him during my Acid Jazz years and he’s been a constant presence since. Ordinary Joe is one of the most humane, beautiful songs going and the man could throw an effortless groove together and mix it with his thoughtful, deeply soulful voice pretty much every time he turned on a mike. His songwriting is up there in the stellar region and it’s a crying shame that he never ever got the recognition that much lesser talents found so easily.
I’m proud of the fact that he was ‘rediscovered’ by my generation of fellow travellers in the mod/soul/stylist/acid jazz scene and gave him at least some of the lift he so badly deserved. On a personal basis his mellow voice has got me through some pretty lousy times and I’ll hold him dear for that if nothing else. The aforementioned Ordinary Joe is a favourite of my kids, and they’re pretty hard to please when it comes to being converted to their dad’s taste.
So here’s to Terry. A mighty shade of blue, a brother to everyone, a man with few equals.
Let him have the last words… "You can make accessible music and still sing about love and peace and truth and life and death. In the end, those are the only things that matter."