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Terry Callier Remembered

On my first day at work in July 1990, the very first record that I worked on was the Acid Jazz reissue of Terry Callier's 'I Don't Want To See Myself'. This record had been championed on the modern soul scene by Dr Bob Jones, and Eddie Piller had tracked down Terry to his home in Chicago to license the record. Terry had retired from the music industry about eight years previously and retrained as a computer programmer so that he could be at home to look after his daughter Sundiata.

The following year he came to the UK to play a fantastic gig at the 100 Club, promoted by our very own Ady Croasdell. I met him on the day he arrived. As I walked into the rehearsal studio, and he was standing in front of me, fresh from a Trans-Atlantic flight, acoustic guitar in hand running through 'Ordinary Joe' - it was astounding, a revelation as to how good Terry really was! I spent the next couple of days looking after TC and Sundiata, it was an absolute honour.
The following year Kev Beadle put together his astounding compilation of Terry's Cadet sides which were followed by BGP's release of his Prestige debut album "The New Folk Sound". These releases found him a whole new audience, and opened the doors to him being signed to Talking Loud and to his return as a live act with his 1995 Jazz Cafe gigs. Those gigs were the best I have ever seen, and when the lights came up, many grown men were in tears.
In the years since Terry made some incredible new records, collaborated with a host of artists, and always retained a quiet dignity throughout it all. I last spoke to Terry a couple of years back when we put together the "About Time" compilation of (some of) his finest sides. The problem that we had there was that there was too much music for a single CD - there really isn't a lot of fat in his catalogue.
I heard earlier this year that Terry was ill, but this has still come as shock. As I sit here with "The New Folk Sound" playing, it is hard to fight back the tears, because it was an honour to have known him, and he is gone far too soon.
Terry you will be missed.
Dean Rudland

Selected releases