Michael Callen


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Legacy Review

by Will Grega

The 30 tracks on this two-CD masterpiece indeed do justice to the legacy of a rare human being and dynamic musical talent. A psychedelic trip through the rainbow-colored imagination of Michael Callen, Legacy explores just about every one of his moods, personalities, and musical passions, leaving no genre unturned. In such a world, the angry-yet-compassionate pop/rocker "We've Had Enough" segues logically into the low camp tango of "Grade B Movie," and then into the cocktail jazz of "All Over." Callen also took the opportunity to cover some of his all-time favorite songs, including "Warm as the Wind" (with David Lasley), "If I Love Again" (with Fred Hersch), "Glitter and Be Gay" (from Candide), and Chaplin's "Smile." Callen's last recording with the Flirtations, "Sometimes Not Often Enough," is also here. Outstanding tracks include the huge pop ballad "Love Worth Fighting For," the bouncy reggae "Redefine the Family," the exceptional human rights anthem "Now," and the R&B classic "Better in the Moonlight" that sports hot horn charts. Tom Robinson (of Glad to Be Gay fame) guests on the hilarious duet "Two Men Dance the Tango." Glorious, generous, and full of goodness, love, and light, there is plenty for radio programmers to pick from here. Perhaps the musical legacy of Callen is best summed up in the words from another fine song from the album, "Wish I Had a Dime": "I'm still a dreamer/But now dreams don't catch me unaware/And I still have dreams to share" or, from his own self-penned classic, "Life don't always go the way we planned/Sometimes we have to take a stand/But if you stumble you can take my hand/And feel the healing power of love." A magnificent listening experience.

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