Bobby Caldwell — Marley connectionMonday, May 11, 2020
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
To diehard, blue-eyed soul fans, songs don't get better than Bobby Caldwell's What You Won't Do For Love. The much covered/sampled track was released in 1978, three years before Bob Marley died.
Today is 39 years since Marley died from cancer at age 36 in Miami. That is where Caldwell grew up; his mother, a real estate agent, sold the reggae superstar a home there.
What You Won't Do For Love was distributed by TK Records, an independent Miami company famous for releasing a number of disco hit songs by KC and The Sunshine Band, and George and Gwen McCrae, during the mid-1970s.
TK Records was owned by Henry Stone whose close friend was Noel “King Sporty” Williams, a colourful Jamaican singer/producer who co-wrote Buffalo Soldier with Marley.
In a 2005 interview with NPR Radio, New York-born Caldwell spoke about his ties to Marley and Caribbean culture.
“Most of my childhood was spent in Miami, which was a dumping ground for all kinds of music — Haitian, reggae, Latin, pop, R&B, culture. I mean, it was really a diversified city. But my mom, who was a real estate broker, sold Bob Marley his home in Miami, and I became friends with Bob Marley through friends and we became close enough to where I actually had felt as though I had been to Jamaica,” said Caldwell.
Marley's mother, Cedella Booker, lived in Miami since the early 1970s. Marley was a regular visitor to the Magic City where he often hung out with King Sporty who moved there a decade earlier.
Caldwell was also a session guitarist/keyboardist at TK Records. He befriended several Jamaican musicians including members of the Inner Circle band who settled in Miami shortly after Marley's death.
In 1982, Caldwell released Jamaica, a song he wrote in tribute to Marley. It is often played on local radio.
The 69-year-old Caldwell continues to record and perform. His last album, Cool Uncle, was released in 2015.
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