There were a handful of acts that were synonymous with the Southern rock movement of the1970s: The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Charlie Daniels Band, and, of course, the Marshall Tucker Band. This set is a solid example of the band's strongest period, from its debut in 1973 through the untimely death of bass player Tommy Caldwell in 1980 (the result of a car crash).
The band was promoting its Long Hard Ride album (a brief excerpt of the title song is included here), and although the song selection is brief, there is enough here to understand the reasons why they have endured as one of the best acts to blend the rock, blues, and country genres.
Although many believe writer and bassist Toy Caldwell was the brains behind the Tucker band, credit should also be given to singer Doug Gray for being the glue that held it all together. Songs like "Fire On The Mountain" were the essence of what Marshall Tucker brought to the music world, and this show, originally done for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, has a memorable version. "24 Hours At A Time," an extended piece, serves as a jam for the band to show off its musical chops, especially those of Toy Caldwell.
The group was formed in Spartansburg, South Carolina in 1972, when its contemporaries, the Allman Brothers Band, were still very much a blues-rock band, and not yet revered as kings of southern rock. However, with the advent of Capricorn Records in 1972, bands like Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop, and Lynyrd Skynyrd walked through a wide-open door to chart success that label president Phil Walden unlocked with a very focused marketing campaign. They hit pay-dirt with their debut LP, released in March, 1973. This self-titled album is still regarded as a southern rock classic today.
Of all the Southern rock bands to emerge, Marshall Tucker was among the best and most successful. Spearheaded by vocalist Doug Gray and guitarist Toy Caldwell, the Marshall Tucker scored a number radio hits, among them "Take The Highway," "Fire On The Mountain," "Can't You See," and "Heard It In A Love Song," which reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The group got its name when they rented a warehouse to rehearse in. Originally called Toy Factory (a reference to lead guitarist Toy Caldwell), the keys to the building had a tag that said "Marshall Tucker" on them. As it turns out, Tucker was the previous renter and a blind piano tuner known to many in Spartansburg. They liked the name and adopted it, although no one in the band actually knew Tucker, personally.
The Marshall Tucker Band's original line-up came to an end when bassist Tommy Caldwell died in a jeep accident in 1980. Toy Caldwell, Paul Riddle, and George McCorkle all left in 1983. Toy, a key member and chief songwriter in the band, would form his own group in 1988, but died from a heart attack in 1993. Lead guitarist McCorkle left to pursue a solo career; but passed away in 2007 from cancer.
The band continues to tour, with lead singer Doug Gray the only original member still in the band. Marshall Tucker released its latest album, The Next Adventure, in 2007.