Socialist Worker

Hidden Conversations - Terry Callier

by Martin Smith
Issue No. 2156

Hidden Conversations

Hidden Conversations

Imagine you are sitting on a sun-kissed beach and playing in the background is one of those “Chilled Ibiza” soundtracks.

But instead of some second rate vocalist singing about nothing, you hear the voice of a man who sings with the soul of Curtis Mayfield and the heartache of Donny Hathaway.

That about sums up jazz, soul and folk singer-songwriter Terry Callier’s new album, Hidden Conversations.

There are tracks of real beauty on this album. Jessie And Alice and Live With Me are warm and tender love songs.

Others express Callier’s frustration with a system that fails us all. Rice And Peas is about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.

Fool Em I Fool R U is an ode to the problems that blight working class communities – and reminds you that Callier is a modern day civil rights troubadour.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he produced a series of beautiful albums – none of which earned him much money or fame.

In 1983, he retired from music and started working as a computer programmer.

But unknown to him, in Britain his music was much sought after by a handful of enthusiasts. He re-emerged in the early 1990s when British DJs discovered his old recordings.

In 1998 he released his superb comeback album Timepeace.

When his university management found out that Callier was moonlighting as a singer, they sacked him.

Luckily he was on the road to commercial and critical acclaim.

With his latest offering, Callier has once again produced an album full of humanity and one that touches your soul.

Out now on Mr Bongo Records

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Article information

Tue 16 Jun 2009, 18:10 BST
Issue No. 2156
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