Fire on Ice

Fire on Ice

by Terry Callier


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Fire on Ice is easily the most confounding album of Terry Callier's career. While it's true that his Elektra recordings are not regarded as highly as the Cadet material, it may be time to critically re-evaluate them for their considerable worth and innovation. That said, it's hard to know whom to blame for making a mess of what was arguably a solid album. It's not the slick arrangements -- done by longtime Callier cohort Richard Evans, nor is it the personnel, which includes tenor saxophonists Eddie Harris, Fred Jackson, guitarists Phil Upchurch and Larry Wade, and backing vocalist Minnie Ripperton. Callier's own songs are, for the most part, clean bedrock, deep Chicago soul slicked up for the onrushing disco age. The funky soul edge is fine on tunes like "Be a Believer," and "Holdin' on to Your Love." And the slippery, shimmering synth on the ballads like "Butterfly" works because Callier's slightly smoky sweet voice caresses his accompaniment. As strings waft in to the center of the mix, swelling up above the other instruments, you can hear where Evans and Don Mizell got carried away trying to carry Callier into Salsoul orchestra territory. Combine that with complete filler material like "Disco in the Sky" and the overwrought loungey smooth disco jazz of "I Been Doin' Alright, Part II (Everything's Gonna Be Alright)" and you see the schizophrenic influence of trying to accomplish too many things at once with Callier's awesome voice and tender lyrics. But given the fact that he wrote the lyrics to "Disco in the Sky" means he's not infallible. And who told Wade he could write a song on his own? "Love to Love" is just a staggeringly bad piece of disco garbage. Still, two of Callier's most moving tracks are here, the stunningly poetic "African Violet," with a melody as spare and haunting as anything Callier ever composed and a vocal workout that lasts over seven minutes it joins the list of his epics. The disc closes with the well-intentioned and phenomenally written "Martin St. Martin." Again, Evans' large horn and string sections with an artificial rhythm track mar what is a very powerful song -- it's one Callier still does live with an acoustic guitar and it never ceases to blow audiences away. Fire on Ice is far from Callier's most compelling record, but, nonetheless, has its own quark strangeness and charm.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/08/2003
Label: Dbk Works
UPC: 0646315050127
catalogNumber: 501
Rank: 267542

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Terry Callier   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Minnie Riperton   Vocals
Jimmy Cleveland   Trombone
Eddie Harris   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Paul Serrano   Trumpet
Ross Traut   Guitar
Paul Humphrey   Drums
Charles Owens   Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Phil Upchurch   Guitar
Fred Jackson   Tenor Saxophone
Marilyn Baker   Viola
Corrine Albright   Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Sidney Barnes   Vocals
Jynean Bell   Vocals
Delores M. Bing   Cello
Michael Boddicker   Synthesizer
George Bohannon   Trombone
Garnett Brown   Trombone
Julianna Buffum   Cello
Ronald Clark   Violin
Scott Edwards   Bass,Bass Guitar
Charles Fearing   Guitar
James Gadson   Drums
Janice Gower   Violin
Morris Jennings   Percussion
Carl LaMagna   Violin
Betty LaMagna   Violin
Danny Leake   Guitar
Kenny Mason   Trumpet
Derf Reklaw-Raheem   Percussion
Marcia Van Dyke   Violin
Larry Wade   Guitar
Fred Walker   Percussion
Cynthia White   Vocals
Ellie Willis   Vocals
Snooky Young   Trumpet
Paul N. Humphrey   Drums
William Henderson   Violin
Sonny Burke   Keyboards
Renita Koven   Viola
Mary Debra Lundquist   Violin
Fred Jackson   Saxophone
George Bohanon   Trombone
Reginald Burke   Keyboards
Carl La Magna   Violin
Phillip Upchurch   Guitar
Denny Leake   Guitar
Betty La Magna   Violin
Kenneth Mason   Trumpet
Mary Lundquist   Violin
Delores M. Bing   Cello
Eugene Young   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Paul Serrano   Engineer
Richard Evans   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Terry Callier   Composer
Harry Brotman   Engineer
Don Mizell   Executive Producer
Barney Perkins   Engineer
Dusty Rhodes   Reissue Design
Jackson Schwartz   Engineer
Larry Wade   Composer
Ron Coro   Art Direction
Scott Rowley   Engineer
Zollie Johnson   Engineer
Carmen Halsell   Engineer

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