Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bobby Caldwell

I had a conversation about a year ago with a white guy who loved black music. He said he hated when white artists sing soul music because "what right do they have to claim that? It's so artificial."

I agreed up to a point. There was nothing more fake than, say, a Michael Bolton herniating his way through a soul classic in the 1980s. On the other hand, the very white Michael McDonald, to me, is quite authentic. So is today's artist, Bobby Caldwell, singer of the late 1970s jam, "What You Won't Do For Love."

The song is part of the R&B canon, having been remade by everyone from Phyllis Hyman to Tupac. I like how this early music video begins with Caldwell in shadow (the cover of "What You Won't Do for Love" LP was just like this), then reveals him after the vocals began. I can only imagine the surprise back in 1978: "Dang, that's a white guy?"

Yes it is. But he's got the soul of a Brother.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Man, I love this song. I had no idea the vocalist of this version was white! Thanks again for finding the gems of my childhood!