Tuesday, 4 August 2009

“Occasional Rain” by TERRY CALLIER. A Review of the 2008 Verve 'ORIGINALS' CD Remaster of his beautiful 1972 Cadet Records album.

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

 "…He’s Been Dealing Teardrops Since The World Began…"

"Lost Masterpiece", "Forgotten Classic", "...An Album You Must Hear Before You Die" - take your pick, because 1972's "Occasional Rain" genuinely fits them all - it really does.

Hailing out of Chicago and a childhood pal of Curtis Mayfield, Terence Orlando Callier had put out only 1 album before this called "The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier" on US Prestige 7383 in July 1965. He recorded this debut aged just 23. It was 8-tracks long, half of which were simply acoustic interpretations of American Traditionals, it didn't contain a single original song by him. But despite being a truly beautiful record (and using a folk/soul acoustic style he still uses to this day), it did little business.

Session years then went by until his signing to the Chess offshoot label Cadet, where he made 3 albums with legendary producer and writer CHARLES STEPNEY - the other two albums are "What Color Is Love" (1973) and "I Just Can't Help Myself" (1974) which are equally good - especially "Color".

Charles Stepney is another big name in small circles - a hero of sorts for soul lovers. 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...

Two other words printed on the back inlay beneath the CD also give this reissue the edge - GAVIN LURSSEN. He's an American sound engineer and I've sung his praises before (see separate reviews for "Gold" by THE CRUSADERS and "Careless" by STEPHEN BISHOP). Lurssen has just short of 900 mastering, remastering and audio restoration credits to his name (Universal, Hip-O Select) - his work stretches back decades, so he knows his way around a master tape or two.

I mention this because a lot of the songs on here are quietly soulful, Stepney didn't clutter them with instruments except when it complimented the melody - so the remaster needed the deftest of touches and Lurssen has done that. The sound quality isn't trebly or loud or showy - it's just there - sweet as a nut - the music just 'sails' out of your speakers in the most gorgeous way. You're left with a genuine sense of shock on two fronts (a) why has this beautiful soul album gone unnoticed for so long by the vast majority of music lovers out there and (b) a sense of relief - that in finally releasing "Occasional Rain" in 2008, Universal have picked the right guy to do the job.

Musically it breaks down like this - there's eight 8 songs separated by five 40-second "Segue" bits. No one knows why the first Segue is called "Go Ahead On" and the other 4 "Go Head On" (which is what the lyric is)? Some people think the Segues cool, while others feel they haven't worn well and now sound gimmicky. Personally, I find the songs surrounding them so beautiful that I don't notice...they're that good. I would love to hear the full song proper...

The most famous track off the LP is "Ordinary Joe" which has turned up on Acid Jazz type compilations and was a big draw in the UK. Other highlights are the acoustic urban trouble song "Trance On Sedgwick Street" which along with "Blues For Marcus" features the beautiful Cello work of EARL MADISON - and combined with Callier's impassioned vocals makes the tracks sound like Cat Stevens meets Nick Drake - really lovely and soulful. The love songs are up there as well - "Do You Finally Need A Friend" and the truly gorgeous "Golden Circle". There's a strange guitar ping that floats over "Occasional Rain' giving it an ethereal other-worldly feel - very soulful and very Donny Hathaway in structure and churchy feel (lyrics above). Then comes the album's big finisher - and what a peach it is. "Lean On Me" is an impassioned six and half minute long friendship song with backing vocals from Minnie Riperton and Kitty Haywood - it's just gorgeous and finishes the mellowest of LPs on a genuine high.

Downside - although the gatefold card digipak is nice to look at, for me one of the big let downs is the complete lack of a booklet and therefore a sense of history, photos, insights etc... If ever a soul album deserved a little more luxury shown, then "Occasional Rain" is it.

If you're unconvinced and have heard too many praising reviews before - the entire LP is available on iTunes as a download - I'd recommend trying "Golden Circle" or "Occasional Rain" of "Lean On Me"- you'll be hooked. (The 2008 "Originals" remaster of "What Color is Love" is also available on iTunes).

Like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", Donny Hathaway's "Extension Of A Man" and Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" - this is a proper soul album - a gem all the way through and sill beautiful and inspiring to this day - some 30/40 years after the event.

Of late Terry Callier has 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 and his latest "Hidden Conversations" from 2009 - unbelievably good and relevant to the now and not just past glories.

I've warbled on a bit I know, but this album deserves it.

Buy it, cherish it, enjoy it - and I envy you the journey...

PS: This disc is part of Universal's ORIGINALS Series - digipak reissues of Jazz, Soul, Funk, Fusion and Latin albums (104 and counting) spread across a vast number of labels - see 'comment' section for a full list to August 2009

PPS: Dear knowledgeable compiler sorts at Universal and Hip-O Select - a Charles Stepney box set please - and then a Norman Whitfield box set to follow that - and be quick about it you overpaid lazy schmucks...

- Universal's ORIGINALS Series -
Reissue CDs in Gatefold Digipaks of Classic Albums covering the 1950's through to 1990's. They cover many labels - Verve, Mercury, Fontana, A&M, Cisca, Blue Thumb, Kudo, Philips, Impulse etc... These titles have been released between 2007 and are on-going into 2009 (it's August 2009 now). This List is in Artist and Title Alphabetical Order (with UK Release Date)...

1. New Orleans Nights - LOUIS ARMSTRONG (29 April 2008)
2. Satchmo At Pasadena - LOUIS ARMSTRONG and the ALL STARS (22 February 2009)
3. A Tear To A Smile - ROY AYERS UBIQUITY (11 August 2009)
4. Change Up The Groove - ROY AYERS UBIQUITY (21 October 2008)
5. He's Coming - ROY AYERS UBIQUITY (25 May 2009)
6. Lifeline - ROY AYERS (22 October 2007)
7. Ubiquity - ROY AYERS (23 February 2009)
8. Vibrations - ROY AYERS (28 July 2008)
9. Virgo Red - ROY AYERS (9 June 2009)
10. You Send Me - ROY AYERS (23 September 2008)
11. Basie Land - COUNT BASIE (9 June 2009)
12. Chapter One: Latin America - GATO BARBIERI (23 February 2009)
13. Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata - GATO BARBIERI (9 June 2009)
14. Chapter Two: Hasta Siempre - GATO BARBIERI (25 May 2009)
15. Ruby. Ruby - GATO BARBIERI (1 October 2007)
16. Tropico - GATO BARBIERI (11 August 2009)
17. On My Way & Shoutin' Again - COUNT BASIE (16 February 2009)
18. Intimacy - WALTER BEASLEY (21 October 2008)
19. Just Kickin' It - WALTER BEASLEY (21 October 2008)
20. Walter Beasley - WALTER BEASLEY (1 July 2008)
21. I Got A Woman And Some Blues - GEORGE BENSON (5 May 2008)
22. Shape Of Things To Come - GEORGE BENSON (1 October 2007)
23. Soul Finger - ART BLAKEY and the JAZZ MESSENGERS (14 April 2009)
24. Bobo Motion - WILLIE BOBO (1 September 2008)
25. The Brazilian Scene - LUIZ BONFA (18 August 2008)
26. Braziliana - LUIZ BONFA and MARIA TOLEDO (18 August 2008)
27. Return Of The Brecker Brothers - THE BRECKER BROTHERS [Randy and Michael]
(1 September 2008)
28. Just Between us - NORMAN BROWN (1 July 2008)
29. Occasional Rain - TERRY CALLIER (28 July 2008)
30. What Color Is Love - TERRY CALLIER (23 September 2008)
31. Children Of Forever - STANLEY CLARKE (15 October 2007)
32. A Love Supreme - JOHN COLTRANE (18 August 2008)
33. Ascension - JOHN COLTRANE (24 March 2009)
34. Crescent - JOHN COLTRANE (18 August 2008)
35. Impressions - JOHN COLTRANE (18 August 2008)
36. Kulu Se Mama - JOHN COLTRANE (24 March 2009)
37. Live At Birdland - JOHN COLTRANE (18 August 2008)
38. The John Coltrane Quartet Plays... - JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET (24 March 2009)
39. John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman - JOHN COLTRANE and JOHNNY HARTMAN
(18 August 2008)
John Coltrane - see also DUKE ELLINGTON
40. New Thing At Newport - JOHN COLTRANE and ARCHIE SHEPP (24 March 2009)
41. Pass The Plate - THE CRUSADERS (23 September 2008)
42. Old Socks, New Shoes...New Socks, Old Shoes - THE CRUSADERS (28 July 2008)
43. Images - THE CRUSADERS (9 June 2009) [see also Joe Sample)
44. Ascenseur Pour L'echafaud - MILES DAVIS (18 September 2007)
Paul Desmond - see also Gerry Mulligan
45. Feel - GEORGE DUKE (23 September 2008)
46. I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry - GEORGE DUKE (21 October 2008)
47. Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins -
48. Duke Ellington & John Coltrane -
49. Out Of The Cool - GIL EVANS ORCHESTRA (15 October 2007)
50. Octet - MAYNARD FERGUSON (1 September 2008)
51. Ella In Hamburg (Live) - ELLA FITZGERALD (18 September 2007)
52. Ella In Hollywood - ELLA FITZGERALD (25 May 2009)
53. Porgy & Bess - ELLA FITZGERALD and LOUIS ARMSTRONG (5 May 2008)
54. Big Band Bossa Nova - STAN GETZ and GARY McFARLAND (23 September 2008)
55. Stan Getz At The Shrine - STAN GETZ (25 May 2009)
56. Stan Getz In Stockholm (Live) - STAN GETZ (21 October 2008)
57. Sweet Rain - STAN GETZ (1 September 2008)
58. Jazz Giants '58 -
(5 May 2008)
59. Swing Is Here - TERRY GIBBS (25 May 2009)
60. The Astrud Gilberto Album - ASTRUD GILBERTO (18 August 2008)
61. Look To The Rainbow - ASTRUD GILBERTO and GIL EVANS (18 August 2008)
62. A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness -
63. The Cool World - DIZZY GILLESPIE (1 September 2008)
64. Dizzy On The French Riviera -
(25 May 2009)
65. I Just Dropped By To Say Hello - JOHNNY HARTMAN (15 October 2007)
66. Used To Be Duke - JOHNNY HODGES and his ORCHESTRA (25 May 2009)
67. Lady Sings The Blues - BILLIE HOLIDAY (18 September 2007)
68. Treasure Island - KEITH JARRETT (25 May 2009)
(18 August 2008) (For ACJ see also Ellis Regina)
70. Quincy Jones Explores The Music Of Henry Mancini - QUINCY JONES (9 June 2009)
71. The Quintessence - QUINCY JONES ORCHESTRA (15 October 2007)
72. You've Got It Bad Girl - QUINCY JONES (22 February 2009)
73. Arabesque - JOHN KLEMMER (21 October 2008)
74. Barefoot Ballet - JOHN KLEMMER (1 September 2008)
75. Goin' Latin - RAMSEY LEWIS (1 September 2008)
76. The In Crowd - RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO (15 October 2007)
77. Live At The Bohemian Caverns - RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO (28 July 2008)
78. Home Is Where The Music Is - HUGH MASEKELA (2LP set on 1CD) (1 September 2008)
79. Down Here On The Ground - WES MONTGOMERY (9 June 2009)
80. Goin' Out Of My Head - WES MONTGOMERY (1 October 2007)
81. Blues In Time - GERRY MULLIGAN and PAUL DESMOND QUARTET (9 June 2009)
82. The Blues And The Obscure Truth - OLIVER NELSON [featuring Paul Chambers, Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, Roy Haynes and Freddie Hubbard] (15 October 2007)
83. In A Romantic Mood - OSCAR PETERSON (21 October 2008)
84. Oscar Peterson Plays The Jerome Kern Songbook - OSCAR PETERSON (9 June 2009)
85. Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle - OSCAR PETERSON and NELSON RIDDLE
(23 February 2009)
86. Oscar Peterson Trio + One - OSCAR PETERSON TRIO and CLARK TERRY (1 October 2007)
Oscar Peterson - see also SONNY STITT
87. Come Into Knowledge - RAMP (22 October 2007)
(3 June 2008) (see also Antonio Carlos Jobim)
89. Quiet As It's Kept - MAX ROACH (9 June 2009)
90. On Impulse! - SONNY ROLLINS (15 October 2007)
91. Swing Street Café - JOE SAMPLE and DAVID T. WALKER (23 September 2008) [Keyboardist and Guitarist with The Crusaders]
92. Piano, Strings And Bossa Nova - LALO SCHIFRIN (23 September 2008)
93. Everybody's Somebody's Fool - LITTLE JIMMY SCOTT (21 October 2008)
Archie Shepp - see JOHN COLTRANE
94. Let It Be Me (Live) - NINA SIMONE (23 February 2009)
95. Hobo Flats - JIMMY SMITH (21 October 2008)
96. Live At The Village Gate - JIMMY SMITH TRIO (5 May 2008)
97. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? - JIMMY SMITH (1 October 2007)
98. Sonny Stitt Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio -
SONNY STITT and OSCAR PETERSON (21 October 2008)
Clark Terry - see also OSCAR PETERSON
99. ...Plays The Contemporary Music Of Mexico And Brazil -
CAL TJADER (23 September 2008)
100. All The King's Horses - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (23 September 2008)
101. A Secret Place - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (9 June 2009)
102. Feels So Good - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr (23 February 2009)
103. Reed Seed - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (3 August 2009)
104. Soul Box - GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (21 October 2008)

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc