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I Just Can't Help Myself

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Album Review

Terry Callier's third and final album for the Cadet label is the most soulful and supple of the bunch — Marvin Gaye's classic Motown LPs from the same early 1970s period serve as a good reference point, both in their richly-detailed arrangements as well as their thoughtful political and social messages. Despite its contemporary feel, however, much of the material on I Just Can't Help Myself dates back several years — both the powerful "Alley-Wind Song" and the John Coltrane tribute "Can't Catch the Trane" were initially recorded during the 1969 sessions which later comprised the First Light collection, while the graceful reading of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" was and would remain a longstanding highlight of Callier's live set. Under the circumstances, then, the cohesive beauty and power of I Just Can't Help Myself is all the more remarkable — possessed of a subtlety and shading absent from his other Cadet dates, the disc simmers with quiet intensity, its underlying confidence and serenity occasionally giving way to moments of soul-searching angst. Certainly Callier's later records have much to recommend them, but the conclusion of his Cadet stint was nevertheless the end of an era — he never reached quite the same peaks again.

Biography

Born: 24 May 1945 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

For far too long, folk-jazz mystic Terry Callier was the exclusive province of a fierce but small cult following; a singer/songwriter whose cathartic, deeply spiritual music defied simple genre categorization, he went all but unknown for decades, finally beginning to earn the recognition long due him after his rediscovery during the early '90s. Born in Chicago's North Side — also home to Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, and Ramsey Lewis — and raised in the area of the notorious Cabrini...
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