1. Dancing Girl
2. What Color Is Love
3. You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman
4. Just As Long As We're In Love
5. Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun)
6. I'd Rather Be With You
7. You Don't Care
At about 1:58 into the astonishing "Dancing Girl" (the opening nine-minute track of "What Color Is Love") it gets very quiet and the acoustic guitar holds the speakers alone - then Don Myrick's tasteful sax work floats in followed by keyboard flourishes and some wickedly arranged strings by Charles Stepney... The effect is absolutely magical...
And after you've put your jaw back into place, you're left standing there with a genuine incomprehension... how has something this lovely and genuinely soulful been forgotten? Why isn't this huge??
"What Color Is Love" was released on LP in March 1973 in the USA on Cadet CA 50019 and is the second of three albums Callier made for the Chess offshoot label Cadet in the Seventies - the first was "Occasional Rain" in 1972 (see separate review) and the third was "I Just Can't Help Myself" in 1975.
Both "What Color..." and "Occasional Rain" are part of Universal's "ORIGINALS" series - Jazz, Soul, Fusion and Latin LPs reissued and remastered onto CD from a multitude of labels under the Universal umbrella. All use generic artwork (the originals name and band on the left of the sleeve as pictured above) and are gatefold card digipaks issued at mid-price. Although the card digipaks are aesthetically pleasing as mini-repro LP sleeves, unfortunately most come without booklets - this album's recording credits on the inner flap for instance are barely legible. Which is a bummer because if ever an album deserved fresh liner notes, history, photos, a new interview - but alas...
The good news however is the beautiful remaster (40:44 minutes). The tape transfers for the whole series in general have been done in the late 2000's to superb standards by top engineers like Gavin Lurssen and Erick Labson - and in this case by KEVIN REEVES. So mellow, so lovely... a great job done.
As well as the wonderful breath of "Dancing Girl" (lyrics above) - highlights include the huge build up on Side One's closer "You Goin' To Miss Your Candyman" (co-written with Phyllis Braxton), the "I-must-hit-the-road but I wanna..." soft-soul of "I'd Rather Be With You" (co-written with Larry Wade and Jerry Butler) and the so 5th Dimension girly vocals of Kitty Haywood, Shirley Wahls and Vivian Harrell on "You Don't Care" - a song so up with hippy-love-and-harmony that it may have some of you going to work in a sunny disposition on the drizzliest of Monday mornings...
PHIL UPCHURCH features on Guitar throughout, while another soul-hero associated with the album is CHARLES STEPNEY who arranged, conducted and produced the project to such sweet effect (also played keyboards). 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...
Like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", Donny Hathaway's "Extension Of A Man", Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" and Callier's predecessor to this "Occasional Rain" - this is a proper soul album - a gem all the way through and still beautiful and inspiring to this day - some 30/40 years after the event. Why isn't the LP artwork of this masterpiece on someone's t-shirt somewhere as the ultimate street-cool - who knows? But you owe it to yourself to check it out.
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 - unbelievably good and relevant to the now and not just past glories.