Calvin Richardson – Gold Dust (2019)
Calvin Richardson – Gold Dust
Calvin Richardson is an artist who has it all: a nimble, southern-soul-inflected tenor, lyrical prowess and the ability to remain artistically consistent, yet modern and cool. However, despite being one of modern soul’s finest, Richardson remains one of the genre’s most slept-on performers. He put the world on notice with his 1999 debut, Country Boy, and today, eight albums and one Grammy nomination later, Calvin has returned with Gold Dust, delivering equal portions of contemporary swagger, grown-ass man sensuality and undercurrents of tender, throwback-era R&B.
For Richardson, Gold Dust celebrates love and life, expressing the hills and valleys of relationships as he relishes recording again after the temporary loss of his voice last year. Calvin’s intensity and emotional center are in full display throughout, starting with the doo-wopping plea “If You’re Thinking About Leaving” and “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the One I Got,” both swearing fervent fidelity to his lady even when the former finds her packing her bags. Seduction songs can be a dime a dozen, but how many men make it a priority to get cradle a woman’s worth as well as her curves, as sung in the homie-lover ode, “Be Your Friend” (“I wanna be the one that holds you [when you’re feeling sad], one that makes you smile [when you’re feeling bad]?” “She Never Had a Real Man Like This” spells out all Richardson’s gentleman charms, including donning the chef’s hat, masseuse oils and even declaring, “give that bill collector my number Baby.” Well weeeeeell.
Gold Dust has a couple of mid-tempos to speak of: The percolating “Let Me Love On You” and the straight-up two-stepper, “Still In Love.” “Beautiful Woman” is a word of caution to other men out there who fail to know a good lady when they see one or even worse, have her already: “They same thing that make you laugh, be the same thing that make you cry/so if you have a good woman you better let her know, or she’s gonna say goodbye.” And if his back-home ways and roots aren’t apparent enough for you, “Macaroni & Cheese” proposes that he take her home to his folks and stomping grounds to finally become official and paired-up like “cornbread, collard greens, candied yams and black eyed peas.”
Fall is in the air and nothing wards off the chill like being with the ones you love: Calvin Richardson’s Gold Dust has enough polish to sparkle and enough substance to stick. True soul lovers won’t be quick to brush off what this brother leaves behind. Highly Recommended.
By Melody Charles