Toy Caldwell and Andy’s Tavern – reflecting on a great night of Southern Rock

main-150-1For some reason or another, tonight I had the image of Toy Caldwell in my mind, playing guitar and singing his heart out with Heard It In A Love Song”“. I just could not seem to shake loose this image or song from my mind, therefore I decided to write about it here. I was very fortunate enough to see Toy Caldwell, live onstage, standing merely feet away from me. Toy Caldwell was touring at the time as a solo act… it did not matter, for Toy Caldwell was The Marshall Tucker Band, in my opinion. The year was 1993, the venue was Andy’s Tavern, Toy Caldwell was jamming out song after song, just months, (if that), before his untimely passing away. Toy Caldwell was vintage that evening, his voice and guitar playing at that moment were bigger than life. I remember staring up at this large man, thinking to myself, this guy is a Southern Rock Legend and he is here… at Andy’s Tavern in good old Terryville, Connecticut.

Man, what a great time everyone had at this show, all of us sandwiched together, with beer soaked work boots and the smell of all things foul in the air. That is what made Andy’s Tavern so darn cool, it was a place where you could catch a famous national/world renowned band in an intimate, blue collar setting, without a sliver of anything upscale. This was a place where you checked in your troubles at the door, walked in, drank beer and had a good time. That’s it. For Toy Caldwell to travel to Terryville, Connecticut and jam out for an evening with a bunch of local fans at such a small venue like Andy’s Tavern, well, that sums up what type of person he was. Forget about stardom getting to Toy Caldwell’s head, he had Southern Rock in his soul to share with everyone that evening. Toy Caldwell is that vocalist, that guitarist and song writer, that you talk about and say… they just don’t make them like that anymore.

What made that evening extra special was the fact, (based on my recollection and interpretation), that Toy Caldwell gave off every hint that he wanted to be there that night and was enjoying himself as much as the fans were. Toy Caldwell’s voice and guitar exemplified just how comfortable he was with all of us at Andy’s Tavern that night. As I look back on it now, Toy was truly in his own backyard at Andy’s Tavern. My wife to be was with me that evening, I had won tickets to this show from a local radio station. We both look back on that great night of Southern Rock, courtesy of Toy Caldwell and his band, our memories only grow more fonder.


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