Saturday, April 25, 2020

Our New Issue and the Current Pandemic

Dylan said it best. “The times they are a changin.’” I am simply one among millions who will quickly say in all honesty we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. The invisible menace struck seemingly in the night, and the next day we were forced to live in a new world. Innocent people were dying world wide at an alarming rate as the medical powers that be tried to find a cure, a vaccine, for the corovirus. Grocery stores were completely emptied and everyone was fearful of even going to the store. We were all ordered to stay home as the economy began to drop like a millstone. Sporting events had to be cancelled- all of them. Live concerts too. The last time something like this hit was 1917. It’s so easy to forget. Hopefully when we make it through this, we will never be caught off guard again.

If there has been anything positive to come from this, it’s been the coming together of people to help one another. Not just Americans, but folks world wide. That and the music. Everyone from local musicians like Ricky Godfrey and Shane Pruitt to huge stars like Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Kelly Clarkson and Amy Lee, there has been an unending stream of “living room” concerts, broadcast free over the internet. Many of these for me were sparks of sanity and hopefulness. I particularly enjoyed Amy Lee’s solo piano versions of he Evanescence hits as well as an intimate solo show by Paul Thorn. 

The music helps. But we have still been hit hard. We need to all ban together the be sure this never happens again. On one note, I must say that among the devistating loss of life from the virus were country music legend Joe Diffie and a personal hero of mine, John Prine. I truly believe John was one of the top five songwriters of all time. His songs had a profound effect on me throughout my life. As a performer, I have played many of his songs, at least twenty, including “Please Don’t Bury Me,” “Sam Stone,” “Illegal Smile,” “Angel from Montgomery,” and “Oldest Baby in the World.” As a fan, I can remember buying his new albums when they came out, many times at Horizon Records in Greenville, SC. Case in point, the day he released his most recent album last year, The Tree of Forgiveness, I stopped by Horizon and bought the CD. I put it in the auto deck and it remains there to this day. My official driving album.

I hope you all enjoy this new issue. I cannot recommend the new Outlaws album Dixie Highway strongly enough. Also, we were locked and loaded with a huge story on The Georgia Thunderbolts. The virus has slightly delayed their new album, but it’s coming, as is our article. Get ready to rock.

Until next time, y’all keep on rocking’!  

Read KUDZOO Magazine Issue 37 HERE

Saturday, February 8, 2020

New KUDZOO Magazine ROCKS!

Welcome to issue #36 of America’s Only digital Southern music and food magazine, KUDZOO! We sincerely hope you y’all dig it! This 9is our fattest issue to date! Ninety-one big pages! Thank you to all of our readers, supporters and advertisers who have helped us to grow like. . . like. . . like kudzu!

This issue is jam packed, from the cover story on the super fabulous party that was the grand “rebirth” of  Capricorn Sound Studios as Mercer Music at Capricorn in Macon. I am your man on the street, with a detailed report on all of the fun you missed if you didn’t make it! We have an in-depth exclusive interview with Pat Armstrong, the man who discovered and managed the original Molly Hatchet band.

And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of accomplishments this businessman has achieved! We have an interview with photographer Sidney Smith, the photographer who was allowed full access to the Allman Brothers band during their beginnings when he was just 16 years old! There is also a review of his awesome book in this issue, along with some other must read books! There is an Archived story on FAME Studios and interview with Rodney Hall from back when we first styarted out as GRITZ.

Don’t miss our reviews of restaurants, wine, concerts, film, DVD’s, CD’s, TV, and more, and our tributes to some great musicians we lost recently  There’s a “Road Trip” to Atlanta for the Mercer University Press Author Luncheon and we welcome Anthony Richardson to the staff, who writes a Travel column about a recent journey to Geneva! We cook up some good Indian food and present the music News while we’re at it! Now how much would you pay? ZERO! It’s all FREE! Yay!

Speaking of FREE, be sure to enter our big CHARLIE DANIELS BAND CONTEST! One lucky winner will get Charlie’s AUTOGRAPHED Fiddle, case and bow, along with Charlie’s signed memoir book and signed copies of two of his BEST CDs, as well as official guitar picks and more! Read the rules on page 72 and enter to WIN BIG from KUDZOO and the mighty CDB!


Thanks a bunch for reading! 
Until next time, y’all keep on rocking’! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Sound of My Voice

I finally got around to watching the Lind Ronstadt documentary, The Sound of My Voice, on CNN last night. Just to let you know how much I adore Linda, I first heard her voice way back in 1971 when I bought the album by the Stone Poneys, the band’s record that featured their Top 40 hit, “Different Drum.” I was blown away by this girl’s voice a long time before I ever saw a picture of her in a magazine or on TV.  Of course, after I did see her, I was head-over-heels in love. She had the most beautiful doe-like eyes, and those lips! Drop-dead gorgeous. The first time I heard her speak during an interview, her California girl accent just drew me in even more.

As the seventies ran on, I would buy every album she recorded, watching as she proved to the world that she could sing any kind of song, from country to rock to big band to Broadway to Mexican folk music. I virtually wore out my copy of Heart Like a Wheel and several others like Hasten Down the Wind. I would sit up until 1 a.m. to watch her on The Midnight Special and I still recall her being a guest on The Johnny Cash Show on TV. When I heard that there was a movie called FM coming out and she was in it, I showed up on opening day. My buddy Bill and I sat through the movie twice just to see her concert footage where she rocked “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice.”

The Sound of My Voice is an excellent look at Linda’s career, her romances with JD Souther and Jerry Brown, and working friendships with The Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne and others. There is plenty of performance footage and interviews to help tell her story. We hear portions of many of her huge Platinum hits like “When Will I Be Loved,” “You’re No Good,” “Get Closer,” “Long Long Time,” “Blue Bayou,” “Different Drum,” and many others.  

The end of the film details Linda’s contracting of Parkinson’s disease, which caused her to lose her singing voice. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for someone whose entire life was singing to suddenly lose her voice. But Linda is one tough lady. She has somehow managed to deal with the loss with style and grace, and we are all the richer for the many, many great recordings and videos that remain to remind us of just how great she was. One of the very best singers of our generation.

-Michael Buffalo Smith

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New KUDZOO features Peter Rivera of Rare Earth!

Hi Gang,
Issue #35 of America’s Only digital Southern music and food magazine, KUDZOO is now PUBLISHED! It's FREE and fun! We sincerely hope you y’all dig it!
I was pretty excited to run across Peter Rivera on Facebook. I immediately recognized his name, being an old fan of Rare Earth, and having absorbed the liner notes of virtually every album I purchased back in the ‘70’s. It is with great pleasure that we present a pretty in depth interview with the singer/songwriter/drummer.
We are also happy to present an interview with our old friend Ronnie Godfrey, a founding member of the band Garfeel Ruff and former member of the Marshall Tucker band. These days Ronnie is a successful songwriter and performer in Nashville. He has a great new album out, which we also reviewed in this issue! Check it out!
We once again plunder the vast archives to present our tribute to the great Toy Caldwell; an 18-year old interview with country star David Ball.
New contributor, Michael Fitzgerald recalls Jacksonville in the 1960’s and the coming together of the Allman brothers band. And speaking of Florida, Scott Greene takes us all down to  the Big Orange festival. We also present a a book review of the latest Stephen King novel. We also list KUDZOO’s Best Albums of 2019. Agree? Disagree? E-mail us! And don’t forget, we welcome letters to the Editor!
There are the usual CD and DVD reviews, and Ms. Electra is back with another “Rock and Roll Health Chick” column! We hope you like it!

Thanks a bunch for reading! 
Until next time, y’all keep on rocking’!  


Saturday, November 16, 2019

New Riders of the Purple Sage 1972 Live: Review

New Riders of the Purple Sage
Thanksgiving in New York City

 How much do we love these cosmic cowboys? The New Riders were a totally original sound during the early 1970’s, with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar and John “Marmaduke” Dawson on lead vocals.  By 1972, when this recording was made, Garcia had left to devote all of his time to the Dead, and was replaced by Buddy Cage, a top-flight pedal steel virtuoso.
After opening countless shows for the Grateful Dead, New Riders released two acclaimed albums in 1972, Powerglide and Gypsy Cowboy, and become an in demand live act. On November 23, 1972, the band played two shows at the Academy of Music, and the late show resulted in these awesome recordings.

Classic Dawson tunes like “Last Lonley Eagle” and “Portland Woman” are performed, along with some good ol’ bluegrass in “She’s No Angel” and kicking R&B (“Willie and the Hand Jive,” “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”) Guitarist David Nelson is hotter than a Mexican lunch and bassist Dave Torbet is totally in the pocket with drummer Spencer Dryden.

The Thanksgiving show in NYC became a tradition over the next three years, bringing the massive amount of fans from the Northeast, especially New York, who cheered and danced and twirled to the music. It was always a family affair when the New Riders came to town, and one listen to Thanksgiving in New York City proves the fact.
The double CD and 3-vinyl LP set will be released on Black Friday. A serious treat for Deadheads and Sageheads worldwide. Mighty fine.

-Michael Buffalo Smith

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Remembering Toy Caldwell On His Birthday

Toy Story
This Ol' Cowboy Lives On: Remembering Toy Caldwell
Born November 13th, 1947

by Michael Buffalo Smith
(Originally appeared in Hittin’ the Note magazine & GRITZ magazine, 1999)

When Toy Caldwell graduated from Dorman High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the mid-1960's, he knew that he had a steady gig at the Spartanburg Waterworks waiting on him if he wanted it. His dad, Toy Caldwell, Sr., was a respected employee, and lining his son up with a job would be no big deal. There was just one problem. Toy had a fire burning inside him. He had felt it begin as a warm glow when he was just a child, watching his father pick on an old Gibson acoustic guitar. He was listening to records by Hank Garland and the Sugarfooters, another Spartanburg export, as well as a myriad of blues artists- B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Freddie King-and country music from the likes of Hank Williams, Roy Acuff and Chet Atkins.
Toy Caldwell, Jr. had come into the world at the General Hospital in Spartanburg on November 13, 1947, and he never left his home town. Well, he left a lot, to tour the globe as lead guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Marshall Tucker Band, but he always came back to Spartanburg, because it was home.
As a teenager, Toy became overwhelmingly fascinated by the guitar. His brother Tommy was already following in his dad's footsteps, and played any instrument from guitar to drums, eventually settling in as a bassist. Together, the brothers played barn dances and parties, but when they hit high school as teens, Toy decided that he wanted to play in a rock and roll band. He joined The Ramblers, along with George McCorkle, Franklin Wilkie and David McCutcheon, with Wallace Huckaby on drums, and Robbie Cobb and Reggie Gosnell playing horns, playing r & b and Motown sounds.
As for how they came up with the name, Franklin Wilkie explains it all.
"My first band with Toy Caldwell was called Magar's Madmen. It was a three piece with Kenny Magar on drums. We were in the 7th grade, and Kenny was in the 9th. We played all instrumentals, no vocals. Right after Kenny, Toy and I met a guy named Jimmy Trout. He had a Falcon station wagon, and played keyboards, which he was always carrying around in that wagon. He was older, and kind of helped us get organized. The band that came out of that was The Ramblers. We had these red and white shirts with a block "R" on the pocket and black pants. We were doing "Green Onions," early instrumental stuff."
With the British invasion of 1964, The Ramblers had decided to make a few quick changes.
"We decided to play English stuff," says Franklin Wilkie. " We fired the horn section, grew our hair long and started doing English rock."
When that band broke up, we still had those shirts that had an "R" on the pocket, so we had to come up with another band name that started with "R," and that's how we got The Rants."

"We were behind them from the very beginning," says Toy Caldwell, Sr., his warm smile coming to the surface, "They would practice a lot in the basement, and it would get so loud, you could watch a coffee cup dance across a table from the vibration. They loved it loud."
When the Rants began to do original music, fellow Carolina musician Rudy Wyatt got a chance to hear some of it.
"Rudy was instrumental in getting us our first studio date," recalls Wilkie. "It was at Mark Five in Greenville, and he came in and played maracas on "Hey Little Girl," "Seven Lonely Days," and "Make No Mistake."
With three excellent songs recorded, it seemed like things were really opening up for The Rants.
"Willie took the tapes to Nashville and played them for a guy named John Hurley, and another guy named Ronnie Wilkins," says Wilkie. "We got to go to Nashville and record, but ultimately, it didn't work out, so we just came back home."
Following the breakup of The Rants, Toy and brother Tommy started up a group called The Toy Factory, which included Wayne Casasanta, Ron "Redrock" Edwards, Toy and Tommy, and Doug Gray. Jerry Eubanks would join after returning from California.
The Toy Factory played gigs anywhere they could get booked, and began to grow a quite large following.
"We were booking through Beach Club Promotions, Cecil Corbet," says Wilkie. "Cecil heard some of our original material and sent us to record in Muscle Shoals. We did some tapes with Barry Beckett of the famed Swampers, a keyboard player and engineer. I remember him saying the material was good, but he wanted us to leave Toy down there. After all, that's where Duane Allman got his start."
Corbet engineered the opening spot for The Toy Factory on The Allman Brothers Band's eastern tour. Another vital move for the band.
According to Wilkie, there was a confrontation between Toy and Tommy one night in the Spring Street rehearsal space. Whatever the initial reason was for the fight has long since faded from memory, but it caused a little rift for a while that sent Tommy packing to play bass with Pax Parachute, a band that featured George McCorkle and Paul Riddle.
For a while, after the tempers cooled, Toy was rehearsing with both Toy Factory and Pax Parachute. Soon, members of both bands came together to play as Toy Factory.
"We hooked playing guitars together," recalls George McCorkle. "But we were really good friends from many, many years ago. I think that cat was one of the most talented people who ever lived, and he never got the credit for it. I loved him like a brother too."
The band swapped out members several times between 1966 and 1969 when Toy, Tommy, Doug, and George all served in the Armed Forces. Toy, like his father, was a Marine, and served in Vietnam.
Toy Caldwell was not only the star attraction of the band, but it's number one songwriter. The group began rehearsing songs like "Hillbilly Band," "Take the Highway" and what would soon become one of the most recorded songs in America, "Can't You See."
"We had started playing our own stuff," says Paul Riddle. " It was a 'make it or break it' kind of deal."

The band started rehearsing, and played a couple of shows at The Sitar, where the earlier Toy Factory had previously opened for the Allmans. When Wet Willie played the Sitar, and heard their opening act, the new Toy Factory, they were blown away. Wet Willie lead vocalist Jimmy Hall invited the band to come down to Macon to speak to Capricorn Records President, Phil Walden.
"We were playing Spartanburg, at the Ruins (aka The Sitar)," recalls Hall. "We were booked there as the headliner. We didn't really pay attention to who was opening until we got there. But we sat out front and listened to them. They just knocked us out from the beginning. It was a sound that was totally unique to my ears, and to the other guys in the band as well. It had a lot of the elements that we were into-good Southern music, good rock and roll. But there were so many things that set them apart from the others. The first thing we noticed was the two brothers.
Of course, we had two brothers in Wet Willie. My brother played bass. So, we noticed that right away. There was an innocence there. They came from a rural area of the South, and their music really echoed that. But to see a couple of brothers who had a musical kinship- and when I talk about the innocence, and the purity of it-their technique wasn't politically or musically correct, if you want to call it that. When you see these guys up there, playing with their thumbs, the first thing that comes to mind is, that's the way they learned to play it, and that's how they got their sound. It was untainted. In other words, nobody tried to change it, and they didn't want to change it. It was the purity of that that said something to me. The bottom line was, there was something different. We could hear it, I could hear it, in just that one night. And we let them know, Toy and Tommy, 'Gosh, you guys are something else. Y’all are real special. We had our breaks and our opportunity to record for Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia, and we think they'd be real interested in hearing you guys.'
At that point, we invited them to Macon to hang out. We arranged a gig for them in Macon at Grants Lounge. And we got the people from the label to come down and hear them. It happened pretty fast after that. All the label had to do was hear them that one night. Phil Walden and Frank Fenter, who's no longer with us on this earth, but one of the staff at Capricorn, they came down, and were really impressed by what they heard. They felt the same way we did. They said, 'You guys were right on. These guys are great, and we want to sign them.' I will say this, the guys have always been gracious in telling that story of how it happened, and giving me credit. I could just see the talent. That's the way I am about it. I've had people help me along in my career, and if I can help someone else, I'm gonna try my best to do it, because that's the way you do it. You pass it around."
The band went to Mark V studios in Greenville and cut a demo. They took the tape down to Macon, and Walden signed them on the spot. Apparently, Capricorn didn't like the name Toy Factory. They just didn't feel like it was commercial sounding. The band was rehearsing on Spring Street, when they found the name tag that belonged to the former tenant, a local piano tuner, now living in Columbia, S.C., named Marshall Tucker. Toy told Greenville's Rock 101 about finding the tag in a radio interview back in 1989.
"It was no big deal," said Toy. "We said, hmmm...Marshall Tucker. How's that for a band name? Everybody shook their heads yes, and somebody said "Good. Let's go eat."
"There was resistance all over the South when we started. We got thrown out of clubs left and right for playing our own music," says George McCorkle. "We'd play a set and the club owner would raise hell because we weren't playing something by someone else. But we weren't gonna do it! We thought we had something, and we knew the only way we were ever gonna find out was to stick with it."
When their debut Capricorn LP, The Marshall Tucker Band came out in the fall of 1973, the band began playing anywhere and everywhere. Their overall philosophy was 'whatever it takes,' and they always delivered, one-hundred percent. It was this kind of devotion to their craft that yielded a fan following that even today still speaks with quiet reverence concerning the original Tucker Band.
Having an album out was by no means the answer to all of the guys problems. The band was performing regularly at a club in Atlanta called Richard's, where they were pretty much considered the house band. Toy was still working his day job as a plumber with his father, and driving back to Spartanburg every night after the gig.
According to Paul Riddle, it was Tommy Caldwell who finally got fed up with watching his brother bust his butt to hold onto both the day job and the night gig. Tommy made a trip to the record company, and while there is no record of the conversation that ensued, suffice it to say he told the company that they were just going to have to front Toy some money so he wouldn't have to work the day job anymore. It was a typical Tommy Caldwell move.
Along with the overwhelming success of his band, Toy was keeping the home fires burning by regularly calling his wife, Abbie and checking on her and his children while on the road. Toy had married Ab during the '60s, and she would remain his wife until his death. Together, they had two daughters, Cassady and Geneal.
Events had begun to turn in favor of The Marshall Tucker Band. They began to open for The Allman Brothers Band, and quickly made the move from packed-out clubs to packed-out coliseums. Their debut LP sold 500,000 copies and went gold. By 1974 The Marshall Tucker Band was hot, with a new LP, A New Life, and started playing over 300 dates per year. Later that same year, the band released their double-album set Where We all Belong, consisting of both live and studio takes, to critical acclaim.
It was nothing but the good life for the band members. They had worked hard, and were reaping their rewards.
"We just hop in a boat and take off," said Toy Caldwell in a 1975 interview. "Fishing will take your mind off everything. If you're catching fish, you don't think about nothin'."
Playing live was nothing short of a spiritual thing for Toy Caldwell and The Marshall Tucker Band. It was a feeling that transcended anything they had ever felt before.
"We would go out on a limb every night," says Paul Riddle. "It would be just rocking out loud like a thunder storm, and Toy would bring it all down to a whisper. He had a sense of magic, and his guitar would take us places where we didn't even know we were going."
In the Fall of 1975, The Marshall Tucker Band released Searching for a Rainbow, their very first platinum album which peaked at #15 on the charts. Allman Brother and close friend Dickey Betts added his unmistakable guitar work to the title cut, and the band displayed even more of their country roots with the "joy-of-fishing" song, "Bob Away My Blues," featuring the blues vocals of Doug Gray, underscored by some more fine pedal-steel work from Toy Caldwell.
One night during the early part of 1977, while The Marshall Tucker Band was getting set to do a gig in Atlanta, and everyone was pretty fired up and ready to go, their producer, Paul Hornsby walked in, and asked, in passing, if Toy had any new songs ready for the upcoming album project. Caldwell pulled out his acoustic guitar and started playing "Heard it in a Love Song."
Hornsby loved it, and told him that it would be the band's first hit single. As usual, Hornsby knew what he was talking about. The record reached #14 in the spring of '77, and the LP, Carolina Dreams, made it all the way to #23.
Carolina Dreams was followed by Together Forever, and in 1979, the band's label, Capricorn was going bankrupt. The Tuckers signed with Warner Brothers, and in 1979, the recorded their first WB album, Runnin' Like the Wind, followed shortly thereafter by Tenth, which would be the last album to feature Toy's brother, Tommy. Tommy was hospitalized following a Jeep wreck in downtown Spartanburg on April 22, 1980, and passed away at Spartanburg General Hospital on April 28, just one month after a wreck involving a county maintenance vehicle and a car driven by younger brother Tim claimed the life of his brother.
After Tommy's death, The Marshall Tucker Band was really considering calling it quits. The band had not only lost a brother and a friend, but they had also lost their number one cheerleader and business man.
"It was Toy's call," says Riddle. " He felt very strongly that Tommy would want us to continue."
The band called in long-time friend, Franklin Wilkie, and recorded Dedicated. A couple of albums later, band tensions were at an all-time high, due to fatigue and conflicting agendas. In June of 1984, Toy Caldwell, George McCorkle and Paul Riddle all decided to call it quits. Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks chose to carry on as The Marshall Tucker Band.
Toy went into the studio with producer Paul Hornsby in 1984, and recorded an unreleased solo album. He started playing here and there with his own band, and putting together material for another album. He made appearances all around the United States, showing up at Charlie Daniel's Volunteer Jams and sitting in with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr. and played a series of shows opening for The Outlaws, with them also acting as his backup band.

By 1992, The Toy Caldwell Band had solidified, and included guitarist Pick Pickens, bassist Tony Heatherly and drummer Mark Burrell. Cabin Fever Records released Toy Caldwell," an excellent solo album which featured guest appearances by Gregg Allman, Charlie Daniels and Willie Nelson, among others. His hot-rocking "I Hear the South Calling Me" was a major hit with Toy's fans, and his re-tooled "This Ol' Cowboy" was a sure-fire winner. Perhaps the finest track was a newer Caldwell composition, the bluesy "Midnight Promises," a duet with Gregg Allman.
"Oh yeah, Toy Caldwell was a good ol' guy," recalls Gregg Allman. "I played on his last record, and I never got to see him after that. I really enjoyed it. "Midnight Promises." We recorded down at Mud Island in Memphis. In that old fire house they made into a studio. They had a B-3 set up and hell, I was out of there in two hours. I was in the moooood!"
That same year, Toy was greeted with open arms by the fans at Charlie Daniel's Volunteer Jam, and over 50,000 fans went berserk when Toy pulled out "Can't You See" at Willie Nelson's Farm Aid concert in Dallas.
Just as everything looked as though it was coming together for Toy, he slipped away from us. He died on February 25, 1993, from respiratory failure, brought about by health complications. The music world was devastated.
At Toy's funeral, mourners listened as long-time friend Al Crisp spoke about the happy times with Toy Talmadge Caldwell, Jr., and Richard Betts from the Allman Brothers Band joined George McCorkle, Paul Riddle and others to sing "Can't You See."
A sea of fans, friends, and family listened to the eulogy, delivered by the Rev. Bill Gowan, who said, "He truly had an abundance of love." The Reverend also spoke of Toy's love for his family, friends and his music.
"Toy was just ol' Toy," recalled long-time friend Charlie Daniels. "He was generous. I've had him give me stuff you wouldn't believe. Back in that same time when we weren't making a lot of money, he gave me four brand new speakers, and he wouldn't let me pay him for 'em. He said, "I can't use 'em. I play with my thumb, and they're Celestions, they don't have enough highs on 'em for me." He said, "You take 'em. Keep 'em." He loved playing that dad-blamed guitar. He had a totally unique style. Toy was about half hillbilly, and about a quarter jazz, and about a quarter rock and blues and stuff. But no matter how far out he'd get jamming, you could always hear those country licks in there. He was just my friend - my buddy. I couldn't go to his funeral. At the time, my mother had cancer, terminal cancer, and the end was getting pretty close. We were playing up in New York, and I had taken my wife and my son just to spend a couple of days, and get away from it all. And it just floored me when they called me and said that Toy had died. I said, I just can't go. I just ain't ready for this. Even to this day - I don't know. There's a hole in the world since Toy Caldwell died. There's a place in the world that nobody else can fill that's uniquely shaped like Toy. And that's in my heart, and certainly in the music business."
Friend and MTB band-mate, Doug Gray says that he will never, ever forget Toy. "Without Toy Caldwell, there would have never been a Marshall Tucker Band," says Doug Gray. "There would have never been any of these great songs that are out there. When he did something, he did it right. If he didn't play a song just right, it would piss him off so bad, that he would be mad at himself. And you don't find too many people like that, a lot of them will blame somebody else, and then all of the sudden, you're mad at your wife or something. Toy was always there, and he always made me feel good because he always had confidence in me."
Former Allman Brother and current front man for Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes, counts Caldwell among his early influences.
"He was a writer who had the ability to put into words what the common man felt and, as a guitarist, he had influences from country to jazz to B.B. King that he brought together in a uniquely melodic, soulful way. He always played from the heart."
"Sometimes Toy was so musically intense that he would blow me away to the point of breaking my concentration," recalls Paul T. Riddle. "Tommy and the others would sometimes do that to me, but Toy was especially prone to giving me that reaction. Toy would come to a climax three times in a song and he would take it to another step. He always had a magic."
"Toy was intense," recalls Allman Brothers Band drummer, Butch Trucks. "I do miss him."
Barry Borden (BB) , a former drummer for Mother's Finest and The Outlaws, who currently tours with The Marshall Tucker Band, has fond memories of Toy Caldwell.

"A long time ago when I was with The Outlaws, we did this big tour. It was Mountain, Foghat, The Outlaws. Toy was doing his solo thing then, but the way they booked it, he went out, but his band couldn't come out-for logistics or whatever. So, The Outlaws were his band for about three months. So, I got to play all of those songs with Toy. Toy was just the best. He was such a sweet guy."
In 1997, Pet Rock Records released "Can't You See," a live set from The Toy Caldwell Band recorded at a club in Spartanburg in 1992, and Charlie Daniels' Blue Hat label is re-issuing Toy's solo album under the title "Son of the South." There are also rumors that Phil Walden plans to release some of Toy's early live tracks with The Marshall Tucker Band.
Toy Caldwell will live forever in the hearts of friends and family and fans. Many of us feel the same as Charlie Daniels, who once told me, "there's a big space in the world that only Toy could fill. We will love him always, and remember him forever."