Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack

Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack

by Calvin RichardsonCalvin Richardson

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Overview

Since departing from the urban R&B group Undacova in the late '90s, Calvin Richardson has recorded infrequently. While his 1999 debut nu-soul set, Country Boy, was a knockout, it was critically underappreciated. He followed this in 2003 with another fine album, 2:35 P.M., and When Love Comes in 2008. That said, his 2009 offering, Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack, a full-length tribute to one of his primary influences, is a wildly ambitious but logical step. The dangers in doing a tribute to a legendary artist, especially Womack, one of soul music's most storied and colorful legends as both a singer and songwriter, is a daunting task. But Richardson's and Womack's voices are very similar, though the latter's is not as rough as the former's and has more gospel in it, which works very well in adding to most of these songs. Rather than radically re-interpret Womack's songs, Richardson sticks close to the original arrangements, and as a result, is able to use his own rather unique vocal phrasing to set his versions apart. This works best on tracks such as "Hairy Hippie," the beautiful ballad Womack wrote for his brother that is equal parts Memphis and Nashville. Richardson gets to the heart of Womack's lyric and sings it like a tribute, and exponentially so -- the songwriter for his brother, the younger singer for his hero, thereby expanding the song's meaning. Another high point is the duet with Ann Nesby on "Love Has Finally Come at Last," where he allows his gospel roots to shine. "Woman Got to Have It," is a little further from Womack's version. The nu-soul groove is everywhere apparent, and Richardson revels in it, having a direct feel for the link between past and present. The strangest, most elliptical moment here is "Across 110th Street." Richardson doesn't have Womack's grit, it comes off sounding more bewildered, confused, and disillusioned than the deep, declamatory statement of day-to-day life on the streets that Womack gave us. In all, Richardson pulls this set off. It's a fitting paean to Womack, but also a sign of his own maturity as a vocalist who is in full possession of his gifts.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/25/2009
Label: Shanachie
UPC: 0016351577924
catalogNumber: 5779
Rank: 15138

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Calvin Richardson   Primary Artist,Vocals
Daniel Moore   Piano,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Ann Nesby   Vocals
Derek Scott   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Tony Hightower   Background Vocals
Tres' Gilbert   Bass
Michael Burton   Saxophone,Soloist
Justin Gilbert   Hammond Organ,Clavinet,Hammond B3
Charles Gray   Violin
Tony Hightower   Background Vocals
Latonya Givens   Background Vocals
Artia E. Lockett   Background Vocals
Jorel "J-Fly" Flynn   Percussion,Drums
Daniel Moore   Piano,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Twin Cities Horns   Horn
Justin Verhasselt   Trombone
Evan Bendit   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Derek Scott   Guitar
Artia Lockett   Background Vocals
Evan Benidt   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Charles Gray   Violin
John Raymond   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Harold Payne   Composer
Darryl Carter   Composer
Patrick Moten   Composer
Truman Thomas   Composer
Randall Grass   Executive Producer
Timothy Lee   Executive Producer,String Contractor
Tres' Gilbert   Producer
Calvin Richardson   Author
Tony Otero   Engineer
John Raymond   Programming,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements

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