Album Review: Calvin Richardson’s Facts of Life
Covering a song is hard. A singer must find his or her own approach to material that is often beloved. Do it right, like Blackstreet’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need” or En Vogue’s cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel”, and you can spark an endless debate among music fans about which version is better. One wrong step, though, like Christina Aguilera’s atrocious cover of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You” or Boyz II Men’s cover of New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain”, and you can alienate an entire generation.
The greatest challenge lies in trying to put your own stamp on an artist who is a singular figure, and do it for the entire length of an album. Such is the case with contemporary soul star Calvin Richardson’s new album of Bobby Womack songs, Facts of Life: The Soul of Bobby Womack, named for Womack’s 1973 album.
Anyone who has heard Richardson might think this is a match made in heaven. From the moment he dropped his criminally ignored debut, Country Boy, Richardson has drawn frequent comparisons to Womack, partly due to the fact that he included a very good cover of “I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much” on the Country Boy.
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