Listen – Bobby Callender – I’m Just High On Life – MP3
I’ve decided to close out the week with something supremely far-out, so much so that it ends up sounding like something some Hollywood hack would have extracted from his ass for the soundtrack of an exploitation film.
I don’t remember when I dug up Bobby Callender’s ‘Rainbow’ album, but I do know that it was in the pre-portable days. How any self respecting aficionado of psychedelic music could pass up an album like this (especially for a buck or two), I do not know. One need only take a cursory glance at the cover, with Bobby looking all beatific in his caftan, gazing off into what was probably a cloud composed of equal parts hash smoke, incense and delusion, then glance at the song titles, to know that this particular album was most certainly a relic of a very specific era.
All of these suspicions were of course confirmed as soon as the LP slipped under the stylus and it’s treasures unfolded lotus-like through the speakers of my stereo. I’ve never been able to track down much in the way of hard info on Callender. He recorded a number of 45s in a vocal group/soul style (for Roulette, Coral and Bamboo) in the earlier part of the 60s, and at some point took a hard left turn into hippie-dom. He recorded two albums (in 1968 and 1970) under the aegis of producer Alan Lorber, and with instrumental assistance from Colin Walcott of the group Oregon and NYC session hands like Bernard Purdie and Eric Gale.
The tune I bring you today, ‘I’m Just High On Life’ is a real trip, with Callender vocalizing (often with an odd affect) over sitar and tamboura, with a sound that would seem to indicate that he may have actually been high on several things other than life. Though Callender’s vocals have a tendency to get a little precious at times, ‘I’m Just High On Life’ and the rest of ‘Rainbow’ are a great artifact of their time.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday.