Calvin Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)

Daddy B. Nice's #95 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Calvin Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...) by Daddy B. Nice
 




"Falling Out"

Calvin Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)

Composed by Bobby Ozuna, Calvin Richardson & Raphael Saadiq


April 1, 2021:

The Strange & Unique Case Of Calvin Richardson

Calvin Richardson has been on my mind lately, as I've continued to post contemporary southern soul's biggest stars on my new countdown chart, The New Generation. One of the biggest factors in determining the relative status of current candidates for the countdown is their commercial appeal.

How many records do they sell?

(Calvin's albums usually make the Billboard R&B charts, signifying success in that field.)

What is their touring presence?

(Calvin has been a headliner on the southern soul circuit for the last two or three years, most notably the old Blues Is Alright Tour venues around the country, where he has mingled with southern soul's major stars.)

How many views do their songs attract on YouTube?

(Calvin has one song, "Can't Let Go," that has reaped 38 million views. That's "star" territory with the likes of Pokey Bear and Sir Charles Jones.)

Why, then, has your Daddy B. Nice not honored Calvin Richardson with a top placement on the The New Generation chart?

(If I were going to do so, he would probably have made it before now, given his well-known brand and commercial clout.)

The answers are already evident in the postings I've made over the years in the Calvin Richardson artist guide, and they can be summed up in one general statement: Calvin Richardson is not a southern soul artist.

Like Jaheim, like Angie Stone, like Syleena Johnson, like Erykah Badu, like Shemekia Copeland, like Ann Nesby---all of whom, like Calvin, have appeared in previous Daddy B. Nice artist guides---Calvin resides in that nether region of soul music that, on the one hand, elicits national recognition, but on the other, calls up none of the down-south, partisan fervor that the southern soul audience reserves for its true practitioners.

Is Calvin a soul-blues artist? The very term is so ambiguous that it can mean practically anything. Everyone in the South knows what southern soul music is. No one outside of few radio industry types knows what soul blues is. Blues Critic offers a soul-blues category in its year-end "best-of" poll, and it seems to incorporate artists who in some way ply soul and in some other ways ply blues: once again, a kind of nether region between what is nationally understood as soul or blues and what is southern soul, with its readily-identifiable style.

Calvin Richardson has never recorded a southern soul hit single. Calvin Richardson isn't played---or is very rarely played---on bonafide southern soul outlets. His strongest bonds to southern soul emanate from his southern soul-worthy Bobby Womack album.

That doesn't take away from Calvin Richardson's contributions to the southern soul tour circuit. Like any number of urban r&b artists---R. Kelly, Anthony Hamilton, Dave Hollister, etc.---his presence enhances the tour, giving people unsure of southern soul a "bridge" to the genre in the guise of readily-recognizable, northern or urban soul, just as the artists listed above gave initiates to southern soul music (including yours truly) a handle to interpret the genre in the first Top 100 countdown twenty years ago.

So while I welcome Calvin Richardson's collaborations with southern soul artists (Karen Wolfe is just the latest), and cheer his presence as a headliner on the bigger, multi-act stages along with Pokey, Sir Charles and other southern soul stars, I cannot promote him as a southern soul artist because he isn't and appears to have no intention of ever becoming one. That is why I call his status in southern soul a "strange and unique" case. I don't presume to have the last word on any of this, and I'm interested in other fans' feedback, but for now it just seems the right thing to do. Welcome Calvin as an artist from another, related genre---urban soul---while not confusing fans by calling him a southern soul artist.

---Daddy B. Nice

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

December 25, 2019:

NEW ALBUM ALERT!:

Buy Calvin Richardson's new GOLD DUST album at Amazon.

GOLD DUST TRACK LIST:

1
If You’re Thinking About Leaving

2
Be Your Friend

3
Do You Wrong
(featuring Jont'e Mayon)


4
Love You Tonight
by Calvin Richardson

5
Ain’t Nothin Like The One I’ve Got
by Calvin Richardson

6
Let Me Love On You
by Calvin Richardson

7
Still In Love
by Calvin Richardson

8
She Never Had A Real Man Like This
by Calvin Richardson

9
Beautiful Woman

10
Macaroni & Cheese

Daddy B. Nice notes:

When, many years ago, I was constructing the original Top 100 Southern Soul chart, I considered including two artists who eventually didn't make the cut: Anthony Hamilton and Calvin Richardson. Hamilton channeled, as I suspected he would, into "smooth" urban r&b. Calvin Richardson did not, ultimately becoming a veteran headliner on the southern soul circuit. I imagine Calvin more than goes into some of these career changes in his new 130-page paperback, "Do You, Without Them," just published by Sunbury Press.

Now Calvin has gone back to the recording studio for good measure, reappearing with a new CD, GOLD DUST, a melodic and expertly-vocalized set featuring his 2018 single, Let Me Love On You". Southern soul fans may get a better understanding of this seldom-played-on-the-chitlin'-circuit "soul artist" with this new release. Check out the new single, "If You're Thinking About Leaving." as well. Richardson maintains a sizable base among urban-soul and neo-soul fans in addition to headliner status (along with Sir Charles, Pokey Bear, et.al.) on the southern soul touring circuit. While his superlative vocal prowess adds luster to the southern soul venues, his presence on southern soul radio is still scant.

Listen to all the tracks from Calvin Richardson's new GOLD DUST album on YouTube.

Buy Calvin Richardson's new GOLD DUST album at Apple.

Listen to Calvin Richardson's new GOLD DUST album at Spotify.

Browse Calvin Richardsons albums in Daddy B. Nice's CD Store.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:


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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)

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

****************

4.

April 12, 2015: New Single Alert!

Listen to Calvin Richardson singing "Dark Side Of Love" on YouTube.

*********



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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 Still In Love by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
Still In Love


CD: Gold Dust
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Gold Dust


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha    by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 If You're Thinking About Leaving by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
If You're Thinking About Leaving


CD: Gold Dust
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Gold Dust


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy There Goes My Baby   by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 Let Me Love On You by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
Let Me Love On You


CD: Gold Dust
Label: Shanachie

Sample or Buy
Gold Dust


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Love Has Finally Come At Last (w/ Ann Nesby)    by Calvin  Richardson (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
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 (The Strange & Unique Case Of...)
Keep On Pushin'


CD: 2:35 PM

Sample or Buy
2:35 pm


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