February 25, 1993 – Toy Talmadge Caldwell Jr (Marshall Tucker Band) was born in Spartanburg, SC on November 13, 1947.
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.
Like a good old southern boy, Caldwell decided to serve his country and enlisted 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, but 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.
Toy was a founding member and lead guitarist of the Marshall Tucker Band which formed in 1973. He was a member of the band from 1973 to 1983 and wrote almost all of their songs. 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 rock luminary, Toy’s personal friend, Charlie Daniels. 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.”
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 45, when he died on 25 February 1993 from cardio-respiratory failure due to cocaine ingestion.