Calvin Richardson
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Calvin Richardson

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I have released 3 albums to date #1. Country Boy(released in 99') featured hit single "True Love w/Chico DeBarge and "I'll Take Her" w/ Kci of Jodeci #2. 2:35pm(released 03') featured hit singles "Keep On Pushin" and "More Than A Woman"
#3. When Love Comes(released 08') Featured single "Sang No More" and Now coming Aug 25th 09 my latest album titled "Facts Of Life" with two featured tracks "A Womans Gotta Have It" & "Harry Hippie" thats streaming @ radio right now!!

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CALVIN RICHARDSON DELIVERS FACTS OF LIFE:
THE SOUL OF BOBBY WOMACK

Calvin Richardson is one of the most reliable keepers of the soul-music flame.” – USA Today

Calvin Richardson is all about soul. Having come of age in the hip-hop era, he is nonetheless totally dedicated to carrying on great traditions of classic soul music into the contemporary era and the future. So it makes perfect sense that Calvin would want to do an album of his interpretations of songs by Bobby Womack, the legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer known as “the street preacher.” Revered by many and recently elected to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Bobby Womack—who was mentored by Sam Cooke —helped define soul music. Womack enjoyed a fifteen year run of major hits as an artist while such notables as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, The Rolling Stones, George Benson (he wrote Benson’s signature hit “Breezin’”), Millie Jackson, Janis Joplin and countless others have had hits with his songs. Indeed Calvin himself covered Bobby’s “I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much” on his debut album. For that reason, Calvin embraced the idea of recording an album of Bobby Womack songs. The concept was to record the old school way, with live musicians in the studio. The splendid results are heard on Facts Of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack, Calvin Richardson’s fourth album, to be released on August 25, 2009 by Shanachie Entertainment.

“Bobby Womack to me is a pioneer who is very important to the type of music that I do,” Calvin says. “He’s a great artist who I have great respect for, who I built my sound around and as a result I feel I have a direct connection with him. He sang about things I want to sing about. I feel like he is definitely less appreciated than he should be, although he is a Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame inductee. It was an honor to pay tribute to him…I’ve stood on Bobby’s shoulders my whole career.”

Calvin’s sense of connection to Bobby Womack carried over to the photo shoot, where he made a conscious effort to reference some of Bobby’s classic album cover images. “Since I was paying tribute to Bobby,” Calvin explains, “I thought it was important to go into that space that he was in at the time. I had to get into a certain headspace and try to feel what was going on in his head at the time he made this music.”

Facts Of Life was recorded over a few days in a studio outside of Atlanta, using musicians from inspirational
R & B/gospel singer Ann Nesby’s band. Produced by Tres Gilbert, Facts Of Life delivers an organic mix of classic Womack songs (“A Woman’s Gotta Have It,” “Across 110th Street,” “I Can Understand It,” “Harry Hippy”) and lesser-known gems (“American Dream,” “Daylight,” “I’m Through Trying To Prove My Love To You”). Many of the selections embody Womack’s gritty, streetwise philosophizing with lyrics that are surprisingly relevant today, such as on “Across 110th Street.”

“There are still ghettos and that stuff is going on in every city you go to,” Calvin notes regarding “Across 110th Street.” “And it’s not just 110th Street. I had uncles and relatives living in Connecticut that had those kinds of experiences.”

“American Dream,” which in Bobby’s version interpolates Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech, seems particularly timely in light of President Obama’s recent election (in fact, Calvin wanted to substitute an excerpt from Obama’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” speeches, but the necessary clearances could not be obtained). “It’s the craziest thing,” Calvin says. “It is a song that I didn’t know but once I heard it, it just automatically pulled me in, with the Martin Luther King speech it was just very compelling.”

Calvin incorporates many of Womack’s “raps,” one of the signature elements of his style. “I approached them from the standpoint of what was there already,” Calvin notes. “Bobby is such a visionary that what he was saying is still relevant. I just said it my way.”

One highlight of the album is the duet between Calvin and guest vocalist Ann Nesby on the ballad “Love Has Come At Last.” Patti LaBelle had sung the female part on the original and Ann Nesby is one of the few vocalists around who could deliver the vocal firepower to stand up to the original.

“I always loved that song with Bobby and Patti,” Calvin relates. “Even today anyone who is looking for love, it has meaning for. To have an opportunity to work with Ann is something I’ve always longed to do.”

Calvin Richardson came by his soulful style honestly. Born in Monroe, North Carolina, the first of nine children, Calvin had a strong musical upbringing. His mother sang in the local gospel group, The Willing Wonders, and he sang with them as a youth. But he was able to listen to secular soul music and funk and was particularly inspired by Bobby Womack, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Donny Hathaway. Singing on the gospel circuit he met and became friends with Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey and Joel “Jo Jo” Hailey,