Thursday, 30 April 2020

John Mellencamp




Some solid Mid-Western rock for you.....

The Best That I Could Do 
                                        
John Mellencamp is normally (and probably correctly) assessed as being a dime store Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger with some riffy Stones influence in there too. Although those assessments are a bit clichéd they are sort of true. Mellencamp leans heavily on those artists - Springsteen for the honest whole working man blue collar image and Seger for the pounding American driving voice and growling, perfect rock voice. For whatever reason, Mellencamp (initially known as John Cougar) never truly made it properly big. This best of compilation would have you questioning why that was because, as the title suggests, it was the best he could do. However, he released many albums and many of them were patchy as he struggled to fully stamp a personality on many of the tracks. When he did nail them though, he was pretty damn good, as the fine selection on here proves. Proper driving Mid-West rock. Roll down the window and switch that power on.

I Need A Lover has an extended piano, drums and guitar intro that builds up like a Jim Steinman song until the tempo drops acoustic guitar, drums and backing vocals and Mellencamp arrives with his charismatic voice. Ain't Even Done With The Night is sort of Seger meets Southside Johnny vocally, over a convincing mid-pace and melodic backing. Hurts So Good is a great track, overflowing with Stonesy riffs , handclaps, a throaty Rod Stewart-ish vocal and a singalong roll the window down chorus. It's great - one of his best ever cuts. 

Now for his absolute best one, Jack And Diane - a Springsteen-esque tale of a regular hometown US couple set against a crashing introductory riff and Mellencamp's finest ever vocal. That riff just gives me goosebumps every time - surely one of rock's greatest and the song merges acoustic and electric guitars perfectly. The lyrics are great too - "suckin' on chilli dog outside the Tastee Freez...".  If you only have two John Mellencamp songs, make them these latter two.

Crumblin' Down is a very Bob Seger-ish rocker with another killer chorus and some more Stones-derived riffs. Pink Houses is a slower tempo piece of Springsteen-style social observation. Like Bruce, Mellencamp liked a bit of social comment, probably even more so as he went on to become a bit of a spokesman for Mid-Western farmers. Authority Song starts with a Footloose-style opening riff and is a thoroughly catchy piece of upbeat rock. The old rebel in Mellencamp is there on the lyrics as well. I really love this one. 

Lonely Ol' Night is a slightly slower tempo but still mid-pace and solid rocker. Once more, the vocal is superb. Small Town is classic Mellencamp - I don't really need to say that it has great riffs, acoustic and electric guitars in tandem, social comment and a killer vocal. This was what he was all about and I'm buying into it, that's for sure - I'd forgotten just how good some of this stuff was. R.O.C.K. In The USA is as upbeat as the slightly cheesy title suggests that strangely reminds me of some of Neil Diamond's more lively numbers, particularly on the verse and acoustic guitar bits. 

Paper In Fire is excellent too, in the same riffy way, with some swampy guitar hints and Cajun-ish accordion swirling around. Cherry Bomb has a bit of a rhythmic swing to it and some fetching harmonica that differentiates it just slightly from the material thus far. Check It Out is a slow burner of a rock ballad with a tinge of sadness to it. Without Expression is an infectious, bassy mid-pacer with Mellencamp singing in a softer style. Another great song. This is a really good, enjoyable compilation from an artist who, if this material is the benchmark, was a bit underrated.

Uh-Huh (1983)

1983's rocking Uh-Huh was one of John Mellencamp's best albums. I will cover the songs not dealt with in the above "best of" review, which exclude the album's first three excellent songs that provided such a fine introduction to the album. It is a solidly Mid-Western album with an undercurrent of downtrodden broken dream Springsteen-style emotion running through it. It is Mellencamp's Darkness On The Edge Of Town, comparatively. Not quite as bleak or lyrically astute, but it certainly has its cynical moments.

The rocking, riffy quality is continued on Warmer Place To Sleep with rocks a hard as the previous three numbers had. Jackie O was a song that Mellencamp later credited to John Prine and it has a laid-back country rock vibe to it, totally different to Mellencamp's usual fare. Play Guitar sees Mellencamp returning to business as usual on a thumper of a rock number - chunky riffs and kick-ass vocals. The guitar sounds like Them's Gloria at one point. Serious Business is an excellent bassy rocker full of Stonesy riffage while Lovin' Mother Fo Ya has a punky edge to it and a Jagger-like vocal. You know, this stuff is really good. Golden Gates ends this strangely short album (less than thirty minutes) with a fine muscular ballad. Good album.

Scarecrow (1985)

From 1985, this was John Mellencamp's powerful blue collar statement. I have concentrated on the tracks not included on the Best Of compilation reviewed above. It was arguably his finest album although there is a paper-thin difference between it and Uh-Huh. This one probably just edges it due to slightly more variety, musically, in the compositions. It plays as a pretty cohesive album. Rain On The Scarecrow is a brooding and blistering protest song in support of Mid-Western farmers. The crackly old Grandma's Theme is pretty superfluous but I guess it sort of leads into the power of Small Town

Minutes To Memories is blue-collar rock by numbers, but it is still a fine track, with a strong vocal and hook. Mellencamp spits out his invective against the system convincingly. Protest rock at its best. The Face Of The Nation has a quirky, staccato bass-driven beat before the song breaks out into another powerful rocker. The lower-key verses give it a different appeal to some of the earlier material. Justice And Independence '85 also has a catchiness to its verses and a big hooky chorus. It also has a captivating "drum solo" part in the middle. Between A Laugh And A Tear is one of those acoustic and electric guitar fusion songs that Mellencamp did so well around this time. Once again, he nails down a great chorus. 

Rumbletear has familiar echoes of Bruce Springsteen in places on the deep vocal verses. It almost seems to go without saying now that the chorus is great. You've Got To Stand For Something sees Mellencamp looking back on his past and nailing his colours to the mast on a grinding, brooding rocker. The Kind Of Fella I Am is a melodic rocker to finish up with. As I said earlier, there is more musical variety on this album and it stands as a fine eighties rock album. Thankfully there was still some proper rock around in the mid-eighties.

Related posts :-
Bruce Springsteen
Bob Seger
Tom Petty

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Ry Cooder




Blues, folk, country, soul, rock 'n' roll....

Chicken Skin Music (1976)
                                             
This delightful, comparatively underrated album from Ry Cooder dates from 1976. There is blues, country, folk, soul, r 'n' b, gospel and understated rock in here. It all mixes perfectly to back Cooder's pleasantly unassuming voice.

The Bourgeois Blues is a cover of a Leadbelly blues full of scratchy, pickin' guitar, harmonica and lyrics concerning racial segregation. 
I Got Mine sees the instrumentation and overall improved somewhat from the earthy previous track. It is a slow-paced but solid number enhanced by some New Orleans funereal-sounding brass. It has a fetching old-style guitar solo before the song lifts up to a brassy, gospel ascension. Similarly uplifting is Blind Alfred Reed's Always Lift Him Up, which features a gentle Cooder vocal over subtle gospel backing vocals, some beautiful instrumentation and a Hawaiian gospel tune merged into the mid-song instrumental part. When this kicks in the result is simply lovely. Oh how quiet pieces of music can sometimes be so moving. Incidentally, the album was recorded in Hawaii.

The Jim Reeves country standard He'll Have To Go is given a Tex-Mex-Mariachi makeover, with Mexican brass breaks and an almost reggae-style beat. Cooder's liking for a bluesy r 'n' b tune is satisfied by the syncopated, staccato strains of Smack Dab In The Middle. He liked to cover a classic too, and he does so here with a slow and soulful rendition of Ben E. King's Stand By Me made even more attractive with a Tex-Mex accordion. Yellow Roses is a cover of an old Hank Snow country hit, given a bit of a Hawaiian makeover on the guitar parts. Chloe is a relaxing guitar-driven instrumental with jazzy hints. The album ends with another Leadbelly cover in Goodnight Irene that also has a New Orleans sound to it. Overall, this is a very enjoyable, low-key album that simply brings quiet pleasure.


Bop Till You Drop (1979)

This was, on the surface, a thoroughly incongruous album from 1979, released as it was at the height of punk-new wave-disco. It is a laid-back serving of soul-influenced country-Americana rock that would have gone down well in 1972, but maybe not in 1979. Cooder didn't particularly look the part for 1979, either, being a throwback to the late fifties-early sixties in many ways. That said, it has always been critically-acclaimed. It is immaculately played by Cooder and his band, but its sound is a little low and lacking in punch, despite the album’s claim to game as the very first fully digital recording. In 1979 I was too bothered about The  Clash and The Jam to pay this any attention, but by 1984 I had got into it, as my tastes matured. It is actually a great album. I certainly love it now. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

I have always liked the gentle country rock sway of Cooder’s cover of Elvis’s Little Sister. Although this is a good cover, I actually prefer the rock 'n' roll guitar-driven Presley version. 

Go Home Girl is a cousin of The Rolling Stones-Arthur Alexander’s You Better Move On. Indeed, it is an Arthur Alexander song. No wonder I thought that. It is a fine track, full of close to the border Tex-Mex melodies and romanticism. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) is a delicious piece of intuitive, melodic blues with a warm, bassy but subtle backing. Dire Straits will have loved this, no doubt. Check out the buzzy slide guitar half way through. A similar feel is found on the quality instrumental I Think It’s Going To Work Out Fine. Top notch musicianship.

Down In Hollywood is an infectiously funky number with a sort of Dr. John-New Orleans groove to it. It slowly swings along most attractively with a gritty edge to it. It features a Stevie Wonder Living For The City spoken bit too and backing vocals that remind me of something else that I can’t put my finger on. It was the album’s only Cooder original composition. 
Look At Granny Run Run is a catchy slice of upbeat country blues, once again featuring some fine backing vocals. These vocals are provided by none other than Chaka Khan, by the way. Trouble, You Can’t Fool Me is soulful country blues at its best, full of Band-influenced vibes. Great guitar picking solo in there too. Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing has Chaka Khan again duetting with Cooder on a Fontella Bass number enhanced by some more killer slide guitar. I Can’t Win is a heartfelt piece of slow gospel soul to end this short, but eminently appealing album. Ry Cooder, similar to Boz Scaggs and Robbie Robertson, is someone I feel I should give more time to. One of those respected artists that has people nodding their heads and saying “good call” if you mention them.

Borderline (1980)

This album, from 1980, was also released while new wave was the main sound around, but it remained oblivious to that in its country-influenced Latin vibes and slow rock 'n' roll-soulful r 'n' b debts. It is fine little album that has slipped underneath many people's radars.

634-5789 is a lively, jaunty cover of the Wilson Pickett song, driven along by some groovy organ and a soulful vocal from Cooder. It has some quirky, appealing instrumental breaks in the middle, too. Speedo is a reggae-infused bluesy workout with a gruff Cooder vocal and call-and-response backing vocals. It features a nice, Latin-ish guitar solo too. Why Don't You Try Me is a delightful track - an uplifting gospelly soulful ballad with a killer, vibrant chorus. I love it, and did so way back then too. It is overflowing with great instrumentation and top notch vocals, with Cooder giving it the big, deep voice soul growler at one point. When Cooder raises his voice skywards in the final verse-chorus the effect is spine-tingling. 

Down In The Boondocks is a cover of a Billy Joe Royal-Joe South-penned song and Cooder gives his it his trademark laid-back Americana-soul veneer. Johnny Porter is a brooding, deep, bassy piece of swampy blues with a Polk Salad Annie Tony Joe White-Elvis feel to it. The guitar picking solo near the end is superb. Cooder has always liked a Delbert McClinton-style Latin Border country song and we get a great one here in the romantic The Way We Make A Broken Heart. It is actually a John Hiatt song. 

Crazy 'Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know) is a Stax-style r 'n' b number with one of those spoken intros before it breaks into its shuffling, addictive blues groove. Southside Johnny no doubt loved this. The Girls From Texas is a pure singalong country stomper, Borderline is another John Hiatt number, this time a catchy instrumental and Never Make Your Move Too Soon is a Dr. John-influenced piece of New Orleans-style blues rock. As I said at the start, this is a pleasurable album, up there with (and possibly ahead of) Bop Till You Drop.

The Prodigal Son (2018)

Veteran Ry Cooder joined forces with his son Joachim on this impressive 2018 journey back into his blues, r 'n' b, gospel and soul roots. Most instruments are played by Cooder himself. It tails off a bit towards the end, but there is still some quality stuff on here.
                                                              
Straight Street starts slowly, with just a bluesy sounding strummed guitar before Cooder’s gruff, soulful, sleepy voice arrives and then the drums and a lovely warm, deep bass too and we are into a perfect piece of Americana. The song has an uplifting, gently gospelly chorus that is full of melodic soul. Indeed, the song was a 1950s gospel hit for The Pilgrim Travelers. Cooder gives it an effortless dignity. Great stuff. It is a great introduction to the album and is probably its best track.

Shrinking Man is a solid bluesy jug band-ish stomper that features some Chris Rea-style slide guitar runs. Gentrification is a staccato, rhythmic blurs with big hints of world music, particularly West African griot-style, all over it. 
Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right is a Blind Willie Johnson blues that is given a solid, slide-driven rocky makeover here. The Prodigal Son is a traditional blues that rocks with huge, bassy muscle and is powered along by searing guitar and tub-thumping drums. So much of this album reminds me of some of Chris Rea’s Blue Guitars work, especially the first few CDs of that set.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine is the Blind Wille Johnson song previously recorded by Led Zeppelin. Here it is done in a mysterious, grainy, authentic and mournful blues style. 
You Must Unload is adapted from an old hymn and take to task the greedy, the selfish, immoral, hypocritical and the decadent. Played out against an almost Irish-sounding air it is a marvellous song with a fine message. The fools who currently run a lot of the world would do well to heed this. I’ll Be Rested When The Roll Is Called is a rousing piece of country blues. Bruce Springsteen in Seeger Sessions mode would love this, I’m sure. Harbor Of Love has a gentle, almost folky feel to it in its acoustic strains. Bob Dylan would love this one too, I feel. It features some lovely guitar. 

Jesus And Woody is a Cooder original that has Jesus requesting that Woody Guthrie sing to him as they were both “dreamers”. In His Care is a gospelly stomp to end on. This is a genuine, authentic slice of Americana of an album, delving deep into the history of the blues. Yes it is retrospective, but gloriously so.

I'm going to link Cooder here with Tony Joe White :-



Friday, 3 April 2020

Terry Callier




Terry Callier is one of those artists who never quite made it, but is revered by some as being most credible, a sort of "in the know" name to drop with fellow cognoscenti. "oh you like Terry Callier? Good call...."....

Occasional Rain (1972)
                     
....anyway, this album, from 1972, came several years after his only other offering, which had been a Dylan-inspired folk album in the sixties. Produced by Charles Stepney, this was a sort of soul "concept album" in that it ran in one complete whole, separated by several short segues, all oddly titled the same - Go Ahead On. They are also out of sync numerically, for some reason. To be honest, there's little point in the segues, they end frustrating too soon. Either make them into a proper song or leave them out. They are bluesy, whereas the album isn't, so they sit incongruously for me. I sort of get it, though, and more listens finds me getting used to them.

Ordinary Joe is the one song of his that I really knew, it having achieved unlikely cult status on the seventies Northern Soul circuit. It is perfect, light, summery piece of subtly jazzy, smooth and jaunty soul. It is one of those timeless feel-good, lift your spirit songs. It contains some "scat" style singing from Callier and some fine jazzy piano. Golden Circle is a lovely slice of laid-back sweet, warm, honeyed soul. Callier sounds very much like Gil Scott-Heron did on his slow numbers on this. Trance On Sedgewick Street is beautifully laid-back, smoky and jazzy but enhanced by some rich, sweeping, deep strings. From a cello, I believe. This is hard-edged, typically seventies street soul but with a classy, immaculately-delivered sound. Again, Gil Scott-Heron comes to mind and Bill Withers too. 

Very much in the same vein is Do You Finally Need A Friend. The bass-drum-piano part that begins around 3.40 is stunning, as are the weird-sounding, high-pitched backing vocals. It is very innovative and adventurous. Sweet Edie-D is a sumptuous, gently rhythmic piano, bass a drum-driven jazzy and soulful number. It is one of my favourites on the album, just listen to that bass line and those gospelly backing vocals. It is most unusual and captivating stuff. I'm sure Elton John would have loved this at the time, and Leon Russell too. Those rolling, shuffling drums are wonderful as is the sound quality, which is outstanding throughout the record. Occasional Rain is very sleepy and relaxing, Callier's vocal backed by just a gently-strummed acoustic guitar, quiet organ and some mysterious, slightly spacey keyboard noises. Blues For Marcus is the album's only real nod to Callier's blues roots, apart from the segues. However, it is a blues backed by a melodic acoustic guitar, strings and a tender, quiet voice. It is soul with a slight blues foundation, really. 

The final cut is a nice one, and is titled Lean On Me, but is not the Bill Withers song from the same year. Callier sings strongly but in a reassuringly gentle manner. It is quite beautiful. Check out those backing vocals, the piano and Callier's vocal rising as they see us home. Heavenly.

The album is one that slowly finds it way in to your consciousness in its understated way. It was a most beguiling and entrancing record, in many ways ahead of its time. It has never been given the widespread praise is deserved. From the same year, for example, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book was hailed as a master-work - why not this too? It certainly carried more than enough quality.


What Color Is Love (1973)

Terry Callier's second album of the seventies, from 1973, defies description. It is an intriguing mélange of jazz, folk, funk, rock and orchestrated classical influences. It is a really impressive piece of work.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the precocious nine minutes plus of Dancing Girl which sees Callier's Gil Scott-Heron style voice accompanied by gentle jazz passages and big seeping strings that back some "things are wrong in the ghetto" lyrics. Five and a half minutes in we get a delicious piece of bassy jazzy rock as Callier goes all "scat" on his vocal delivery and some Blaxploitation-style horns kick in, together with some keyboards from the same genre before the tender acoustic tones of the song's opening return. What an opening opus.

What Color Is Love is a laid-back Scott-Heron meets Bill Withers acoustic and bass beauty of a track. A sumptuous warm, rubbery bass introduces the Withers-ish soul-funk of You Goin' Miss Your Candyman and although it meanders on somewhat it is always inventive and innovative in its instrumentation. 
Just As Long As We're In Love is a Curtis Mayfield-influenced ballad ever so slightly blighted by some too loud brass-orchestral interjections. Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun) is a winsome, jazzy piece of subtle slow funk. I'd Rather Be With You is very Scott-Heron in its laid-back sound. You Don't Care is another delectable soft and gentle number that is instrumental save some ethereal backing vocals.

A bit like his previous album, Occasional Rain, this is an album that was considerably ahead of is time and one that slipped under many people's radars. It oozes class from every pore, however. Top marks for the cover, too.


I Just Can't Help Myself (1974)
                                        
From 1974, this is the third in the triptych of excellent early seventies underrated Terry Callier albums, and is by far (in places) the most intuitively soulful. Callier channels his inner Marvin Gaye-Billy Paul-Harold Melvin soul man to give us an album of classy, smooth but brassy soul. At least the first half of the album is - the second half contains more of the extended, improvised jazzy soul of the two earlier albums.

The irritatingly bracket-blighted titled (I Just Can't Help Myself) I Don't Want Nobody Else (why did they keep doing that!) is so very Marvin Gaye. A sort of cross between the rhythms of What's Going On and the late-night seductive smooth soul of Let's Get It On. It is delivered with one of Callier's most soulful vocals thus far. Brown-Eyed Lady is a Billy Paul-inspired title and sounds like him too.

Gotta Get Closer To You has Callier's old Gil Scott-Heron vocal style returning on a pleasant, jazzy soul number, featuring some fine drums and subtle saxophone. 
Satin Doll is a delicious piece of late-night smoky, jazzy groove. Until Tomorrow finds the livelier but classy jazz rhythms of the previous two albums returning on a positively sumptuous number. This sort of thing was way ahead of its time in 1974. Why it never took off or gained much critical kudos is beyond me. It is easily up there with Stevie Wonder's Fulfillingness's First Finale from the same year. 

Alley-Wind Song is a nine minute-plus laid-back jazz and percussion workout with more Gil Scott-Heron echoes. Unfortunately, the "scat" improvised vocals around five and a half minutes in are more than just a bit grating. The rest of it, particularly the first five minutes, are great, though. Can't Catch The Trane, a homage to jazz legend John Coltrane, is also quirky, staccato and "scatty"  in its vocals - but the crystal clear cymbal-driven percussion is totally captivating. Ad hoc saxophone parps and swirls all over the place on this. I'm not a fan of scat vocals, however - give me real ones anytime. Bowlin' Green is a slow, sombre acoustic blues spiritual with civil rights-inspired lyrics. The album's last few tracks are probably slightly over-egged, and something of an acquired taste (I'm still struggling to acquire any sort of taste for scat), but this is still a redoubtable piece of work. It is also a fine album to play on a summer Sunday morning.

Fire On Ice (1978)
                                            
I have read reviews of this album, Terry Callier's first for four years, that condemn it for its dabbling in contemporary disco at the expense of his previous often extended, scat-driven jazzy workouts. Personally, I really like the album and feel that Callier merges his sensitive lyricism with some more rhythmic sounds (in places) to come up with an attractive piece of work that ought to have stood out from its peers, but unfortunately didn't. There is some excellent soul on here and some subtle disco-influenced stuff to, as well as Callier's trademark jazziness.

Be A Believer is a pleasant piece of melodic country soul with a Philadelphia-style strings and drum backing. I really like it. Quality smooth and classy soul with a jazzy edge. There is an impressive saxophone and vocal interplay after about three and a half minutes. Holdin' On (To Your Love) is a sumptuous serving of sweet, soulful late-night easy, loved-up funk. Strings gently sweep in too, giving the song a classiness. Callier's vocal is strong too, full of instinctive soul. Street Fever has Callier at the most upbeat and funky as he has ever been on an energetic drum and guitar-drive number. Butterfly has Callier revisiting his natural jazz instincts on a beautifully-produced laid-back song. He brings his romantic lyrics to the ghetto, describing his girl as a "ghetto butterfly".

I Been Doin' Alright Pt. II (Everything's Gonna Be Alright) is a catchy, vaguely disco track with a really good sound to it - quality soul with vague, classy disco influence. The song features some fine saxophone and percussion. 
Disco In The Sky is an appealing, clever song that begins slowly before bursting out into a muscular disco-influenced groover. It is inventive disco, though, full of quirks and intuition, it would never have filled any dancefloor. African Violet is a thoroughly delicious laid-back but rhythmic cool, jazzy number that represents the best of Terry Callier. He did this sort of thing better than anyone else. Check out that percussion, and the saxophone too. The lyrics are "conscious" too - referencing Zimbabwe several times - as many of Callier's were. Love Two Love is a short return to late night smooth soul, with some strange high-pitched backing vocals. I can understand why fans of stuff like African Violet might have a problem with more throwaway material like this. Personally, I don't mind it, but I know where they are coming from. It probably would have been better sequenced earlier on the album.

Martin St. Martin is an innovative, imaginative tribute to Martin Luther King with Callier's folky vocal backed by some monastic-type backing vocals and powerful horns. This album was certainly not a bad one at all. Yes it attempted to be somewhat contemporary but it retained Callier's uniqueness throughout. Do not under-estimate it.


Turn You To Love (1979)

In 1979, one year after a (for me, at least) pretty good album, Terry Callier was back with another album that attempted to integrate contemporary sounds into his unique jazz and folk-influenced ambience. There were slight hints, though, in the presence of two cover versions and two re-recordings of songs from 1972’s Occasional Rain album, that Callier was running short of material. Indeed, he would not produce another album until 1996.

Sign Of The Times is a pleasing enough, gently funky and easy listening soul number. It leaves behind the jazzy vibes of previous album briefly as Callier gets into disco-funk lite. Pyramids Of Love is like a slow Earth, Wind & Fire soul ballad, full of sweet, smooth romanticism, if not just a little bit formulaic, however. Callier had proved in the past that he was a bit better than that. Turn You To Love continues the loved-up feel on an even more gentle, tender, minimalist love song. It is a song of understated, relaxing beauty.

The cover of Steely Dan’s Do It Again is enhanced by some convincing disco-ish brassy breaks and Callier’s vocal blends well with the song’s natural rhythm. 
Ordinary Joe is given a more jaunty, breezy and poppy makeover with lots of easy listening brass and sunny day vocals. The song’s Northern Soul beat has been lost, replaced by a more commercial one. I prefer the original. Occasional Rain is stripped down pretty much to just voice and acoustic guitar and is as attractively relaxing as the original. The cover of The Four TopsStill Water (Love) is a really enjoyable cover, with some fine Young Americans-style saxophone and backing vocals and an overall warm, soulful feeling. You And Me (Will Always Be In Love) is a lovely Billy Paul-esque smoocher of a ballad. It features some excellent jazzy guitar. 

A Mother’s Love is a subtly upbeat tribute to his mother enhanced by some infectious cymbal work and bass guitar. This was an enjoyable album, I slightly prefer its underrated predecessor, but this one was certainly much undervalued too. Callier’s seventies produced five fine offerings. Finally, the sound quality on here is superb.