52 albums – week 7


This is an album my wife bought home a few years back. I had originally planned on sending something else up to Michael but this was sitting in the CD carousel when i pressed play and I was reminded of how much i liked it.

There is one song in particular that I wait for each time. Track number five, Pass in time. It’s a beautiful piece, all the richer for her decision to go with 2 voices (Terry Callier). Apparently he’s an old Folk/Soul/Blues guy from Chicago. Grew up in Cabrini Green which my bus route too work used to skirt around; violent & ugly Project Housing on the West Side of Chi-Town. He came close to success but never quite broke through. A long sabbatical followed to raise his daughter (Sundiata ) but he is making a small resurgence of late. I just love the timbre of his voice. It’s rich & deep, assured & masculine. He just seems to add a lustre to Beth Orton’s own voice. And her voice, well it is just a delight. To my cauliflower ears there is an ephemeral quality to her singing; vulnerable but forthright at the same time. By no means polished but not raw like Lucinda Williams or Mia Dyson either. If you’ll  forgive me a brief ‘flight of ideas’ moment – picture a Curlew greeting the dawn.

Back to the Album Song review. For me this track is a salve for those bleak periods in life. The exact line “it will pass in time” is a mantra I’ve repeated verbatim as a youth when things were a little more overwhelming.

All great music leaves you with something once the final notes have faded. An after-taste that pinches the throat or tingles the lips. Yes! There is compassion and empathy and even sage advice in this song. A hint of beliefs and values not too far removed from your own. But as you listen to Pass In Time something else sits at the tip of the tongue, elusive and just beyond recognition? A wistfulness! Isn’t there/shouldn’t there be something more?

There is a lot on this album that will appeal but I’ll leave you to make your own way through it.

Central Reservation is in the mail already so Michael has a disc full of Beth Orton’s music, so instead I’ll link too Terry Callier. Here he is on-stage. Two things stand out in this clip. The flute is an inspired choice of accompaniment and the Scat singing (you’d think it would be easy, nonsense words but apparently it’s a real test) is just sublime.


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