Terry Callier died this weekend. I never really knew his work, but this duet with Beth Orton, covering Fred Neil’s “Dolphins,” remains one of my favorite recordings ever made; there’s something about his vocals in here, how comforting, how rich and warm they sound. Orton’s own vocals dance around Callier’s; he grounds the performance, and provides the world for her to return to.
I love “Dolphins,” as a song, but often find the performances from various artists to be disappointing. Even Neil’s original doesn’t sound quite “right,” somehow. There’s something about the interplay of Callier and Orton’s voices, about the folk/jazz accompaniment (Those vibes!) that backs them up, that fulfills the song’s potential as nothing else I’ve heard actually managed. Maybe I should hunt down Callier’s earlier catalog and see what other favorites he worked his magic on, as well.