Randy Cain – a founding member of the Delfonics, that glorious Philly-soul vocal trio – died on Thursday of undisclosed causes. He was 63 years old.
The Philadelphia Daily News obituary is here.
The Delfonics were defined by William Hart’s soaring falsetto. William sometimes shared lead vocals with his brother, Wilbert Hart. Randy Cain’s role was to fill out the group sound. (And to look good, I suppose. He was a good-looking guy.)
Mr. Cain left the Delfonics in 1971. (He was replaced by Major Harris.)
Randy Cain’s biggest impact on Philly soul took place behind the scenes. According to John A. Jackson, author of “A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul,” it was Cain who introduced producer Thom Bell to his future songwriting partner, Linda Creed.
Creed, a white Jewish girl who loved black music, “pestered Delfonic Randy Cain... to listen to her poetry,” Jackson writes. “Cain told Thom Bell about it. Bell had no interest in poetry, but, he said, ‘let me listen to her. Maybe I can turn her into a songwriter.’ ”
Creed and Bell went on to write huge hits for the Stylistics and the Spinners, including “Betcha By Golly, Wow,” “Break Up to Make Up” and “The Rubberband Man.”
In honor of Randy Cain, I’m streaming “When You Get Right Down To It” on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.
UPDATE (04/13/09): I should also note that Randy Cain played a behind-the-scenes role in the formation of Blue Magic... putting singer-songwriter Ted Mills together with an existing group called Shades of Love.