WoW #14: Terry Evans – “I’ll Be Your Shelter (In The Time Of Storm)”

Terry Evans –

“I’ll Be Your Shelter (In The Time Of Storm)”

Terry Evans, who passed away on January 20th  at the age of 80, had one of those phone book voices. You know: Open to any page in the phone book, hand it to Terry, have him sing it and wait for the goose bumps to come.

He was almost 70 years old when we spoke in 2005, coinciding with the release of his Fire In The Feeling album. At the time, he felt the voice he considered to be God-given growing gradually weaker.

“It’s not as strong now as it was 20 years ago,” said the man who’s first success came in the 1960s, backing singer Jewel Akens as a member of The Turnarounds. “Through experience, I know how to use my voice. But there are notes I can’t hit anymore that I used to hit effortlessly. Now it’s an effort.”

As with most of his records, on Fire In the Feeling Evans mixed his own self-penned tunes with carefully chosen covers. His reading of “I’ll be Your Shelter (In The Time Of Storm)” – a tune written by Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson that became a Top 40 hit for Luther Ingram in 1972 – is among the album’s crowning achievements. Evans takes his time with the song and uses his “weakened” voice to evoke a range of strong emotions; the celebrated original was an altogether shinier affair, brassy and slightly more up-tempo.

“Sometimes songs have a special appeal and you just envision yourself wrapping yourself up into the song. When I receive ten songs, I don’t know which one is going to reach out and grab me. The song that appeals to me is just a natural thing. If I can envision myself doing the song, I get out my guitar and start screwing around with it and try to find my way into the song.”

Evans recorded a few more albums after Fire In the Feeling, enjoying a fruitful duo partnership with Vienna-based singer/guitarist Hans Theessink right to the end. Their final concerts took place last August; in a statement following his friend’s passing, Theessink recalled Terry doing what he loved most: singing with heart and soul.

“When you can communicate with the people, have the people feel what you’re doing and become a part of what you’re doing – that’s when it’s beautiful, man,” said Evans in 2005. “Those are my intentions when I perform. I’m there for the people. I’m there to give the people Terry Evans in the best, most honest and truthful musical way I can.”

Here is Terry Evans, a voice too powerful to be silenced, singing “I’ll be Your Shelter (In The Time Of Storm)”:

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