From an interview with George “Chocolate” Perry
“I knew Bobby Caldwell was going to the top immediately. KC and The Sunshine Band was the surprise. I was surprised by that one. KC is a great musician. He’s a great artist. And a great business man. But I didn’t hear a Bobby Caldwell vocal outta him. I didn’t hear a Benny Latimore vocal outta him. He didn’t need that. He didn’t need anything. He had something nobody else had. And that’s it. That’s exactly the reason. That taught me a lesson. Stop what your perception tells you. You don’t know what’s gonna be a hit. I learned all these layers of music making, but I didn’t understand trend. That was an entirely new thing for me. Trend? Oh, this is trending? Oh. Ok, cool. He doesn’t have to be Luther Vandross.
It’s a song. It’s a feeling that he creates. It truly adds to the term that music is magical because he gives people a feeling internally. It’s not about the singing. He gives people a comfortable feeling. Get out there and shake your ass. And he says it in a way that’s acceptable to everyone. So he lets people be free. It’s the kind of music that people wanna hear, without it being vulgar. So there’s a place for him. He knew that. He understood that.
He understood this place that expands onto every kind of level of music period. And he taught me a lesson. I knew Bobby Caldwell, and Latimore, and Gwen McCrae would make hits.
But I knew them as established singers. KC was a stock worker, working in the warehouse, coming in to the studio in the middle of the night, doing sessions like me when nobody was there. Him being the janitor, he had keys.
One day I was working on my album when Bobby Caldwell walked by, heard what I was playing and introduced himself. He said, “Man, I’d sure like that song you’re working on, man.” So I gave it to him. And then when he was doing his album, I said, “I’ll even help you produce it.” I produced Bobby Caldwell’s album along with Anne Holloway and then I gave Anne the project after I left to go on the road with Stephen Stills. I couldn’t do both. I was working on “What You Won’t Do For Love” and all that. I played bass on it.
Anne Holloway was a great engineer and she finished all that stuff for me. Well not for me, but for herself cause she did a great job. She did a great job. But I started that project with Bobby after I was done producing the Blue Notes.”
– To Be Continued
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