Toy Talmadge Caldwell Jr. (November 13, 1947 – February 25, 1993) was the lead guitarist, main songwriter and a founding member of the 1970s Southern Rock group The Marshall Tucker Band. He was a member of the band from its formation up until 1983. In addition to his guitarist role, he occasionally performed lead vocals for Marshall Tucker Band, including on one of the band's best-known hits, "Can't You See."
Caldwell was born November 13, 1947, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Mr. and Mrs. Toy Talmadge Caldwell Sr. He began playing guitar before his teen years with his younger brother Tommy Caldwell. He developed a unique style of playing, playing the electric guitar using his thumb rather than a pick. Toy played basketball and football in high school with friends George McCorkle, Jerry Eubanks, and Doug Gray. While very involved in sports, the boys eventually became interested in music including jazz and blues. By the age of sixteen, Caldwell was passionate about music, sports, and his other obsession, motorcycles. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Caldwell decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. In 1966, he reported for recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After being wounded in Vietnam in September 1968, he was evacuated for two weeks, then returned for duty. Caldwell was discharged in 1969 and once again began playing music with his high school buddies. The Spartanburg chapter of the Marine Corps League is named the Hutchings-Caldwells Detachment in honor of Toy, his brother Tommy and another Marine, Pvt Nolan Ryan Hutchings who was killed during the Iraq Invasion in 2003.
He later formed the Toy Caldwell Band and released an eponymous CD in 1992; the record was later renamed Son of the South by Southern country rocker and Caldwell's personal friend, Charlie Daniels. The album was digitally re-released in 2009 through Hopesong Digital / GMV Nashville.
Caldwell died on February 25, 1993, at his home in Moore, South Carolina. The cause of death was reported as cardio-respiratory failure due to cocaine ingestion, by Spartanburg County Coroner Jim Burnett.
Caldwell married his wife Abbie on September 12, 1969. The song "AB's Song" from The Marshall Tucker Band's debut album was written for her. He was also the father of two girls, Cassady and Toy Geneal Caldwell.
He was the older brother of co-founder and bass guitarist Tommy Caldwell, who was killed at age 30 in an automobile accident on April 28, 1980, and to Tim Caldwell, who on March 28, 1980, one month prior to Tommy's death, was killed at age 25 in a collision with a Spartanburg County garbage truck on S.C. Highway 215.
Above Source: Wikipedia - Toy Caldwell
Toy Caldwell was best known as the lead guitarist and main songwriter in the Marshall Tucker Band. A unique personality as well as a formidable musician, he was a peer of both Dickey Betts and Charlie Daniels, and his best work crossed effortlessly between country, blues, and rock & roll.
A few years after the breakup of the Marshall Tucker Band in the late '80s, he re-emerged as leader of the Toy Caldwell Band, which played small-scale shows of the kind that the Marshall Tucker Band couldn't do. He also recorded one solo album before his death in early 1993. Although most of his fame inevitably rests with the Marshall Tucker Band, Caldwell left behind a small but glorious body of solo material.
Latter Source: AllMusic: Artist Biography by Bruce Eder
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