Randy Keho en Music Reviews/Columns, Lifestyle, Rock Music / Música Rock On Site Coordinator • Aramark Uniform Services 19/10/2016 · 4 min de lectura · +800

The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawl

The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawl
The blues originated in the Mississippi Delta and spread to Chicago, but it eventually popped up in South Carolina, evidenced by The Marshal Tucker Band.
Most people associate them with southern rock, but its founding members could more than hold their own in the rhythm and blues category.
If you listen closely, you can detect it in their signature songs, "Heard It In A Love Song" and "Can't You See." 
But, it's the gems hidden within their expansive catalog that tells the full story, which can be heard on their two-disc The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawlretrospective entitled, "Anthology." 
Sure, the standards are there, such as "Fire On The Mountain," "24 Hours At A Time," "Searching For A Rainbow," and "Ramblin'."  But, they're just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It's what lurks just below the surface that packs the punch.
 Oh, yeah, the original band was much more than a collection of electric cowboys, singing the obligatory songs about chasin' women, drinkin' beer, stakin' claims, and long hard rides.
They were top-notch blues men, both lyrically and musically. Their guitar prowess can't be exaggerated. Their music, driven by some steady percussion and accented by an assortment of reeds, made for some outstanding instrumentals. However, insert some deep, soulful vocals -- sung with a southeastern drawl -- and what you'll hear is spellbinding.
Like Lynrd Skynyrd, Marshal Tucker was never in the band. They took their name from a sign advertising a piano tuner in The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern DrawlSpartanburg, South Carolina, which is their hometown. Skynyrd took their name from Leonard Skinner, who coached basketball at their school.
Guitarist Toy Caldwell was born to sing and play the blues.
Doug Gray was born to belt out the blues.
Combine the two and you've got the sweet sound of rhythm and blues.
Add Toy's brother and bassist, Tommy, co-guitarist George McCorkle, drummer, Paul Riddle, and reed player, Jerry Eubanks, and you've got a rhythm and blues band to reckon with. Don't let the cowboy hats fool you.
Speaking of cowboy hats, that's about all I was able to see when they opened for R.E.O Speedwagon while I was in college. Unfortunately, I was sitting in the last section of floor seats in the field house. I pledged to never sit in that God-forsaken section again, and I haven't -- at any venue.
I'm just too damn short, especially when people stand on their seats for the entire show. I hate that.
It was March of 1980, only two weeks before Tommy would die in a car accident. His brother, Toy, who would eventually strike out on his own, died of a heart attack in 1993. I'm glad I got to hear, if not see them, while that lineup was still intact.
The Marshal Tucker Band should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynryd, Charlie Daniels, and ZZ Top, in the pantheon of southern rock. Unfortunately, they don't get the same respect, even though Charlie Daniels is one of their greatest fans.
I believe they're one of the most underrated bands in the history of music. Nearly everybody is familiar with their aforementioned signature songs, which still receive consistent airplay, and deservedly so. Nonetheless,iIf you're only interested in their commercial favorites, then their "Greatest Hits" album will blow you away.
Another country rock band that gets lost in the shuffle is the Outlaws. Their guitar army rivals that of Lynryd Skynryd. If you The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawlenjoy intertwining guitars, listen to "There Goes Another Love Song" or "Green Grass and High Tides."
I had the pleasure of seeing them open for the Doobie Brothers at the Chicago Stadium in 1975, during their first tour. They were promoting their first album, appropriately entitled "Outlaws.". That was long before Michael McDonald turned the Doobie Brothers into his personal entourage. I think he single-handedly transformed the Doobies into a early version of e-cigarettes.
I'll never forgive him. 
But, I digress.
"Too Stubborn," which is the first cut on "Anthology" to display MTB's bluesy dimension, is pure listening pleasure. It's the story of a man who realizes he was too hardheaded to change his mind and lost his woman. If that doesn't sound like the blues, I don't know what does. You can envision him cryin' in his beer.
The longing sound of Toy's guitar and vocal, supported by the steady beat of Riddles's drums, with some piano accents thrown in for good measure, carries the song to its somber conclusion. It appears on their "New Life" album.
"Everybody Needs Somebody" picks up where "Too Stubborn" left off. Toy's realized the errors of his ways and he hopes she gives him another chance. He's not ashamed to say he misses her. It's off their "Together Forever" album.
"In My Own Way" has it all. It has more of a country flavor, featuring a blues harp, jangling piano, staccato strings, and a awesome flute solo. The guitar solo momentarily shifts it away from the blues, but the mouth harp brings it back into the fold. It's off the "Where We All Belong" album.
"I'll Be Loving You" is a snappy little tune with a scratchin'-guitar intro that evloves into fret-flying solo. Eubanks adds his The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawlsignature flute sound, driven by Riddle's wrist-snapping attack on the drums. Gray assumes the vocals on the Youtube video I've added at the end of this review. It's solid rhythm and blues. It's another from the "Together Forever" album.
"I Should Have Never Started Loving You" is a bluesy as it gets. This time, the saxophone and organ are featured, along with the piano. And, of course, Toy provides another classic guitar solo and lung-filled vocal. It's off the "Carolina Dreams" album.
"Gold Old Hurting Song," is pure rhythm and blues. The kind you'd expect to hear in a good ol' honky tonk.
The lyrics tell the story, with a jumpin' piano and sax solo to move it along. It's off the "Greetings from South Carolina" album.
"This ole beer gut I got don't get no smaller/If I thought it'd do any good, I'd go ahead and call her
I've been drinking up my pay since she's been gone/for every fool there's a good bar stool and the same old sad, sad song
Yeah, the beer'll go a whole lot further with a good old hurtin' song"
That brings us to the final bluesy number, which is a subdued version of "Ramblin." The standard version is as fast-paced as they come, but, this time, they slow it down to a crawl . A screaming sax, which is the featured instrument, is substituted for the rockin' guitar.
It's comforting to know that even when tragedy strikes a band, not once, but twice, the music endures.
Give it a spin.

Here's a couple of Youtube videos of two songs on the album. Both are live performances.
The first is "Can't You See," which is a classic by anybody's standards. I'm sure you'll recognize it. Check out Toy pickin'  the soulful lead with his thumb.
https://youtu.be/52ai_MFbGDo 
The second is "I'll be Loving You," featuring a powerful vocal performance by Gray, as well as the guitar prowess of Toy, who's pickin' away with his thumb, again. He was amazingly talented.
https://youtu.be/g4TE0bxve_Y 
If you'd like to read the first installment of "Give it a Spin," just click the link below. It's a review of "April Wine: Live at the El Mocambo in Toronto, Canada. They were invited to share the stage with the Rolling Stones in 1977.
https://www.bebee.com/producer/@randy-keho/april-wine-at-toronto-s-el-mocambo-ages-well

The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawl

The Marshal Tucker Band: R&B with a Southern Drawl