Toy Caldwell during a 1974 concert.
|Birth name||Toy Talmadge Caldwell Jr.|
|Born||November 13, 1947|
Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
|Died||February 25, 1993 (aged 45)|
Moore, South Carolina, U.S.
|Genres||Southern rock, country rock, rock|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, pedal steel guitar|
|Associated acts||The Marshall Tucker Band|
Toy Caldwell Band
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 lead guitarist role, he was also the band's steel guitarist and he performed lead vocals 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.
The Marshall Tucker Band
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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 viral cardio myocarditis, 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.
Toy Caldwell was found dead in bed by his wife, Abbie, on February 25, 1993. Though he had been suffering with a respiratory illness in days leading up to his death, a toxicologist's report found that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest brought on by cocaine use.
- Toy Caldwell Jr., 45, a Founder of the Marshall Tucker Band New York Times. February 26, 1993. p.A17.
- Marines salute Hutchings, Caldwells Dudley Brown. Herald-Journal. Jun 29, 2003
- Country Music: The Encyclopedia By Irwin Stambler, Grelun Landon. p. 285
- The tombstone tourist: musicians By Scott Stanton. p 164.
- Abbie Caldwell Interview, tuckerhead.com, 1998 (retrieved 23 January 2015).
- The Gamecock, 30 April 1980, Page 11, Image 19 (retrieved 23 January 2015).
- Tim Caldwell gravestone photo, slobotabouttown.com (retrieved 23 January 2015).
- "Cocaine blamed in death of Caldwell". GoUpstate. Retrieved 2020-02-12.