Terry Callier is a man with a long musical past. Growing up in Chicago during the 1950s in the same neighbourhood as Curtis Mayfield, Callier was surrounded by music from an early age. He started studying the piano when just three years old, sang in doo-wop groups and signed his first record contract at the tender age of seventeen. Callier released his debut single – Look At Me Now – in 1962 and then recorded his first album with Samuel Charters of Prestige Records who promptly absconded with the mastertapes. 'The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier' was released in 1968 but made little impact when it eventually emerged on BGP.

Over the next eleven years Callier released another five albums on two other labels, including the well-nigh indispensable 'What Colour is Love' (Cadet) in 1974. Throughout this time he suffered from not being easily categorised – his music varies from folk to jazz, sideswiping at funk, r&b and rock – but held together by his seductive passionate voice. After being dropped by Electra and getting custody of his daughter, Callier dropped out of the music business to train as a computer programmer and concentrate on bringing up his daughter.

And, for many musicians, that would have been that – end of story. But Terry Callier's last act had not yet been played out. The Northern Soul Scene was discovering his music and, in 1991, he received a phone call from Eddie Pillar of the UK Acid Jazz label. Pillar subsequently released a twelve-inch that Callier had recorded before he left music in 1983 – I Don’t Want to See Myself Without You – and suddenly things took off again.

Live gigs led to signing with Verve in the US and Talkin' Loud, Gilles Petersons' label, for Europe and the UK, the release of a live album and two studio albums – 'Timepeace' in 1998, 'LifeTime' the following year. A collaboration with electro-folkie Beth Orton led to a sublime version of Fred Neill's Dolphins on her 'Best Bit' EP and an appearance on her 'Central Reservations' album. Orton returned the compliment by dueting with Callier on Love Can Do, a standout track from 'LifeTime'. With another live album just out and an eagerly anticipated gig happening in Dublin at the end of the month, make no mistakes - the sweet soul sound of Terry Callier is back – and here to stay.

Caroline Hennessy