World of Slick Music -Bobby Caldwell
Hi there folks!
Time for another edition again of web’s slickest blog and as always it’s been a while since last post…but the one who waits for a good thing…always waits too long yes!
Anyway as the headline says today’s artist is Bobby Caldwell, an american singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist.
I guess he’s not so famous for the big mass still he’s been making albums since the late 1970:s meaning he has been around for a while. If you been following this blog you that i’m always go way back in time and this time is no exception.
He was born August 15 1951 on Manhattan, New York City. His parents were both hosts of a early variety show on tv called Suppertime. He moved around in his early ages so he has lived in Memphis, Tennessee and in Miami, Florida. Miami was “a dumping ground for a kinds of music”.
Bobby late 70:s.
At preteen he picked up the guitar and piano as well and had his first band when was 17. Bobby took his first band to the roads and they got to make an album called Kathmandu. In his early days he did lots of rock playing covers of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. He tooked the easiest guitar chops to play at that time, not! Late 1960:s the 2 number biggest guitar heroes, i think, was Eric Clapton (Cream) and Jimi Hendrix. Both were/are very influential for many many generations. For the time of his first album as a solo artist he was signed to Miami based label called TK Records.
Picture shows the frontside of Bobby’s debut album.
This label was known for it’s many different styles of artists such as pop-disco band KC & The Sunshine Band, he Latin-flavoured funk of Foxy, the down-home soul of married couple George and Gwen McCrae, and the futuristic, jazzy disco of Peter Brown. For this label, Bobby recorded his self-titled solo album, scoring hits with the singles “What You Won’t Do for Love”, “My Flame”, “Can’t Say Goodbye” and, in Britain, “Down for the Third Time.” This album is still his most sold and the most people still associate him with “What You Won’t Do for Love” hit.
The style on his debut album i’d say is kinda “aor/west coast esque” in that way it has more R&B and jazz vibes rather than rock. In order to ensure significant airplay on the African American-dominated R&B radio format of the time, Caldwell’s management took certain steps – such as portraying the artist only in silhouette on the cover and in advertisements – to hide the fact that he was white. The secret was, for obvious reasons, shattered by his first live appearances. He has a very soulful voice for beeing white. When the tracks for his first album was complete TK Records owner said “he couldn’t hear a hit” on it. So Bobby and the other musicians re-entered the studio and layed down the rhythm track for the now familiar song.
After he quickly penned a set of lyrics his first and still biggest hit was born. This very song has been covered and sampled by many different R&B and hip-hop artists over the years. A matter of fact he rerecorded the song himself in 1998 but the orginal version is best! His next albums didn’t quite reached the popularity in the UK and the U.S. but as many times he became a superstar in Japan. He didn’t just stayed home doing nothing when his albums didn’t sell “the right amount” he stayed busy righting for other artists. To name a few Boz Scaggs, Amy Grant and Peter Cetera (a duet), Chicago, Al Jarreau. He also provided lead vocals and coproduced the song “In The Name of Love” for smooth jazz saxman Richard Elliot’s album “Take To the Skies”.
Now adays it’s kinda popular to record songs from the so called “American song book” along with a huge orchestra. Not saying it’s a bad thing to do not at all. It turned out very good for Robbie Williams for example. Way before Robbie “turned Sinatra wannabe” Bobby recorded live in legendary Capitol Records studios, Los Angeles. Not only in the same building as Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin but the very same studios as well! How about that, i’m sure it was a “not worthy moment”! There was a period when all he did was swing both live and in studio. On the albums Come Rain or Come Shine, Blue Condition he recorded live with a 60 piece string section and a 23 piece jazz band in the same studios used by Sinatra and those guys. If that wasn’t enough on those albums he played with cats who had been with Tony Bennett and Sinatra.
Bobby swinging at Java Jazzfestival, Indonesia 2012.
Thou Bobby for a while left the Sinatra mood and continued with the more contemporary stuff he still returns every now and then to the big band era. Most of all to the man whom would have turned 100 the other day actually ,Sinatra. Needless to say Bobby is one of the planets biggest fans of Frankie Boy! His last swing album came in 2012 and features many smooth jazz sax players such as Andrew Neu whom also did some arranging, Dave Koz, Boney James. His latest album with more contemporary or more slick west coast if you will came in 2012 and it’s called House of Cards just like the awesome Netflix series!
His most recent album came November 13 this year and it’s a collaboration with the artist/songwriter/producer Jack Splash under the alias Cool Uncle. Some guests are Major Hawthorne, Cee-Lo Green, Jessie Ware whom had recorded Bobby’s biggest hit herself. Don’t give this album any attention, meaning don’t buy it if you ask me. Focus on his big band albums or the contemporary ones. Bobby is still touring and performing live so if you get the chance to see and hear him take it! On my previous post i wrote about Vanessa Williams and add a little “christmas bonus” a duet with Bobby. So i have to include here as well…hope you don’t mind…but before that one the regulary one and the choice was super easy…yes “What You Won’t Do for Love” offcourse!!
Enjoy your listening as always!!
And the bonus video 🙂
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