Very little info is available about Bobby Callender, but he was indeed a Boston based artist, and the few stories I could find about him on the internet were just as enigmatic as his music. One story in particular from Gilbert Scott Markle, founder of Long View Farm studio (and character in his own right) is about the making of Bobby’s 3rd LP-Le Musée de l’Impressionisme, the rarest and most revered of the lot. It’s really, really worth reading.
He released 3 records for the Philips label from ’68-’75, each one increasingly more rare than the next. His first effort, “Rainbow”, is a fairly standard hippy-raga song and dance, with some engaging moments.
I will say this, “The Way”, Bobby’s 2nd LP is as lush and evocative as 60’s/70’s mysticism can get, and is one of my favorite psychedelic records period. It certainly isn’t mind blowing, but it’s head and shoulders above most of the stuff of this ilk, and certainly head and shoulders above most of the “boss-town” records it gets lumped in with. For me, at it’s best, it’s inexplicably spellbinding, at it’s worst, it’s LOL-worthy.
“Recorded in 1970, Bobby Callender’s “The Way” is a truly puzzling amalgamation of psych, soul, jazz, Eastern sounds, spoken word and pop. Callender’s distinct falsetto voice hovers above Axelrod- inspired orchestration that blends with an odd mysticism, creating a lush, psychedelic whirlwind of gorgeous pop sounds. The album’s initial beauty quickly takes a turn for the surreal, when Callender begins a head-scratching spoken word segment about the mysterious “John” that ventures into other worldly places. The Eastern hippie vibe is particularly prevalent in Callender’s lyrics; he sings “Be a Karma Yogi, Act Selflessly?. Be a Karma Yogi, Act Not Violently” with the utmost sincerity. Between the confounding religious themes, perfect pop arrangements and sublime production, Callender’s “The Way” is a masterpiece of soulful psychedelia.
Excellent psychedelic poetry embedded in an eastern progressive rock arrangement. Musical a Sherezade feel-Lyrical an Hermann Hesse ‘Siddharta’ feel The poetry is about a experiences in a kind of Indian Religion . Less use of sitar than on his first album(Rainbow). Bobby on this attemp(t) is backed by members of Oregon.”-Mutant Sounds