Calvin Richardson

Daddy B. Nice's #108 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Calvin Richardson by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Falling Out"

Calvin Richardson

Composed by Bobby Ozuna, Calvin Richardson & Raphael Saadiq


Spotlighting singer/songwriter Calvin Richardson--perceived as an urban /neo-soul artist by the mainstream media--in a Southern Soul context is bound to raise some eyebrows, but Calvin has already been raising eyebrows and turning heads as he's become increasingly visible on the chitlin' circuit, headlining shows with Sir Charles Jones, Omar Cunningham, David Brinston and other regional Southern Soul stars.

In the early years of the century, when I was formulating the first top one hundred chart of artists who could legitimately be called contemporary Southern Soul acts, I considered both Anthony Hamilton and Calvin Richardson (neither of whom made it) along with R. Kelly, Jaheim and Kelly Price (who did).

My sense at the time was that Hamilton and Richardson were more urban-by-way-of-jazz-schooled (as was Erykah Badu, who also made it in) than rhythm and blues-schooled and might lean that way in the future.

(Funny, how we need to distinguish between African-American art forms Jazz versus Rhythm & Blues, these two great, seemingly diametrically-opposed musical offshoots of Gospel.)

Not only that, both performers were making their bids for stardom on the national scene. I probably knew a little more about Anthony Hamilton than I did about Calvin Richardson, but I do remember my first impression of Richardson was negative.

It was formed by Richardson"s "Keep On Pushing," which I considered a horrible sacrilege (and still do) of Sam Cooke's oughta-be-untouchable melody from "A Change Is Gonna Come," arguably the greatest Southern Soul song of all time and undeniably one of the most covered.

Then--for a few years--Richardson fell out of sight, for me at least. He really wasn't played on Southern Soul radio stations much. Richardson, I assumed, now belonged to the mainstream.

(And as a lifetime fan of more radical, indigenous music styles--whatever the genre--the mainstream with its generic and circumscribed, play-it-safe formulas has never held much interest for me.)

Over the years, there was one song, however, that I grew particularly attached to without knowing the artist's name. For many years I knew the song as "The Sun Is Going Down." I never really listened to the lyrics closely, I just soaked up the soulfulness of the song (and the soulfulness of the vocal in particular).

Later, I discovered it was Calvin Richardson singing "I'm Falling (Out Of Love)."

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Falling Out(Of Love)" on YouTube while you read.

Next, Richardson's name began to pop up with the Bobby Womack tribute album, Womack being one of the icons of Southern Soul. Richardson's visibility on Southern Soul radio took a quantum leap with the publication of that set of songs. (Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack.)

"Woman Got To Have It," "That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha," "Across 110th Street" and "Love Has Finally Come At last" (with Ann Nesby) all garnered Stations of the Deep South air time.

Many listeners assumed, upon hearing deejays play "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much," another Womack classic, that it also was from the Richardson tribute album, when actually Richardson had dropped that cover version on his very first CD, Country Boy.

And finally, Richardson's Facts of Life
cover of Womack's story (written for his brother) of an incorrigibly irresponsible loser, "Harry Hippie," became--if not a fixture--a staple of Southern Soul radio, striking a timely chord with contemporary Deep South listeners accustomed to seeing their own versions of "Harry Hippie" lining up for 11 am "breakfast beers" at their neighborhood convenience stores.

Read Daddy B. Nice's 2010 Calvin Richardson posting in the Bobby Womack Artist Guide.

Country Boy, Calvin Richardson's 1999 debut, had also contained a William Bell homage or rip-off, depending upoon your point of view, in the guise of "Lovin' You," in which Bell's seminal guitar hook from "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" was lifted and plopped intact onto Richardson's ballad.

If there was any one valid criticism of Richardson's early work, it was that he was robbbing the soul masters right and left and getting way too much credit by the mainstream media for doing so.

We've seen this process again and again, whereby the media seizes upon neo-soul artists (the latest being Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings) with a fervor belying mainstream media's own rejection and stonewalling of traditional R&B. Praise is heaped upon young artists (photogenic looks, as Richardson possesses, also help) before they really deserve it, while the true keepers of the flame--the regional Southern Soul artists like Sir Charles Jones and T. K. Soul--continue laboring underground.

But through perseverence and discipline Calvin Richardson continued honing his talent, and by the time 2:35 pm, his second album, was published, he was (with the exception of "Keep On Pushin'") on the straight-and-narrow path to soul heaven.

The album still betrayed Richardson's vacillation between the hiphop/jazz influence and the old-school, classic R&B influence, but "Falling Out" was Richardson's breakthrough and masterpiece. With no detectable stealings from vintage soul, Richardson plumbed the depths of his own character and came up with the technique to forge an entirely original classic.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Falling Out(Of Love)" on YouTube while you read.

Calvin Richardson on I-Tunes.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Calvin Richardson

Calvin Richardson was born into a large family in Monroe, North Carolina. As a child he toured the North Carolina gospel circuit with his mother's group, The Willing Wonders, and as a teenager he befriended Cedric and Joel Hailey, who went on to become the successful urban R&B duo, K-Ci and Jo-Jo of Jodeci.

Encouraged by his friends' success, Richardson formed the group Undacova and recorded the song "Love Slave," which made the soundtrack of the 1995 movie "New Jersey Drive."

Soon after, the group broke up and Richardson embarked on a solo career. Country Boy, his debut, was released in 1999 on Uptown & Universal. Despite selling 100,000 units, the label did not renew his contract.

Richardson signed with a new label, Hollywood, and in 2003 released his sophomore effort, 2:35 pm. The album was produced by The Underdogs, Jake & Trevor, Young RJ, and Raphael Saadiq.

It featured the Sam Cooke-inspired "Keep On Pushin'" and a duet with Angie Stone, "More Than a Woman," which originally appeared on her 2001 album Mahogany Soul.

However, the most noteworthy song proved to be "Falling Out Of Love," which gradually won over even the most skeptical critics with Richardson's soulful vocal.

Richardson then co-wrote and performed on the track "Excuse Me,", from Rafael Saadiq's 2002 Grammy Award nominated album Instant Vintage, as well as co-writing (with Babyfacae and others) the Charlie Wilson hit single, "There Goes My Baby."

In 2008, Richardson signed with Shanachie Records and released three records in three years:

When Love Comes (Shanachie, 2008)

Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack (Shanachie, 2009)

and...

America's Most Wanted (Shanachie, 2010)

Richardson's Facts of Life: The Soul Of Bobby Womack CD gained a Grammy award nomination. It is widely considered Calvin Richardson's best album to date and is generally regarded as one of the finest tribute albums of the last decade.

See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Bobby Womack.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"The sun is going down,
And I'm falling
Out of love.
And I don't want
To put you down,
Because you taught me
How to love.
Just like a bee,
I need your honey."



Tidbits

1.

June 2, 2012: Here are some YouTube offerings for Calvin Richardson:

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Woman Got To Have It" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Falling Out" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Sang No More" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "You're So Amazing" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Harry Hippie" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "If I Can't Touch You" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "There Goes My Baby" on YouTube.

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Keep On Pushin'" on YouTube.

2.

June 3, 2012: Daddy B. Nice footnote: "Is It Just Me, Or--"

The last line of the chorus of Calvin Richardson's "Falling Out" remains murky. The chorus, you'll remember, goes like so:

"The sun is going down,
And I'm falling
Out of love.
And I don't want
To put you down,
Because you taught me
How to love.
Just like a bee,
I need your honey."

The sites on the Internet that specialize in lyrics state that the final couplet is:

"Cause I'm hungry
You started me."

But I don't know what that means. To your Daddy B. Nice it sounds like:

"Because I'm hungry
For Chardonnay."

3.

June 3, 2012: From The Archives... In 2010 in the Bobby Womack Artist Guide, Daddy B. Nice wrote:

Author's Update, January 1, 2010.

Calvin Richardson, along with Anthony Hamilton, was a serious contender for Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul Artists chart for many years, although he was never a part of that core group of artists that make up the genre.

Then, in August of 2009, with little fanfare, Richardson released Facts Of Life: The Soul Of Bobby Womack.

By the end of the year the song "Harry Hippie," which had never been one of Bobby Womack's strongest classics, began playing on Southern Soul radio stations in the Delta. To the inattentive, it was easy to believe it was actually a deejay playing Womack's original, but as the song garnered more and more airplay, it became obvious this was a cover, sumptiously recreated, by an artist who had tapped into the mainline soul of the composition.

The artist was Calvin Richardson, and it was from his tribute album to Womack, which comes highly recommended. Coincidentally, Richardson began appearing in chitlin' circuit venues, most notably a New Year's Day concert with Southern Soul notable Willie Clayton at the Central City Complex in Jackson, Mississippi.

The coming together of these various elements has not only raised Calvin Richardson's profile in the Southern Soul world--a welcome and fortuitous event--but reinforced the legacy of one of Southern Soul's most soulful and essential forefathers, Bobby Womack.

--Daddy B. Nice

Bargain-Priced Facts Of Life: The Soul Of Bobby Womack



If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Johnnie Taylor's "It Just Don't Pay To Get Up In The Morning," you'll love Calvin Richardson's "Falling Out."


Honorary "B" Side

"Harry Hippie"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Falling Out by Calvin  Richardson
Falling Out


CD: 2:35 PM
Label: Hollywood

Sample or Buy
2:35 pm


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Harry Hippie by Calvin  Richardson
Harry Hippie


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha    by Calvin  Richardson
That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Woman Got To Have It by Calvin  Richardson
Woman Got To Have It


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Come Over by Calvin  Richardson
Come Over


CD: America's Most Wanted
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
America's Most Wanted


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Country Boy by Calvin  Richardson
Country Boy


CD: Country Boy
Label: Uptown/Universal

Sample or Buy
Country Boy


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Wish He Didn't Trust He So Much    by Calvin  Richardson
I Wish He Didn't Trust He So Much


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy There Goes My Baby   by Calvin  Richardson
There Goes My Baby


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Fire In The Attic by Calvin  Richardson
Fire In The Attic


CD: When Love Comes
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
When Love Comes


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Love Has Finally Come At Last (w/ Ann Nesby)    by Calvin  Richardson
Love Has Finally Come At Last (w/ Ann Nesby)


CD: Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sang No More   by Calvin  Richardson
Sang No More


CD: When Love Comes
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
When Love Comes


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy True Love by Calvin  Richardson
True Love


CD: Country Boy
Label: Uptown/Universal

Sample or Buy
Country Boy


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy You're  So Amazing by Calvin  Richardson
You're So Amazing


CD: America's Most Wanted
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
America's Most Wanted


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Keep On Pushin'      by Calvin  Richardson
Keep On Pushin'


CD: 2:35 PM

Sample or Buy
2:35 pm


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