The Marshall Tucker Band
The “good ol’ boys” from Spartansburg, S.C., The Marshall Tucker Band, bring their special blend of country, rock, jazz and blues to every performance.
The band celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first album in with the release of its 18th recording, “Face Down in the Blues,” in 1998. That collection features five blues-laced numbers written by band members Doug Gray, Rusty Milner and Tim Lawter. The recording also features a hot new version of Toy Caldwell’s “Ramblin’,” the original version of which appeared on the band’s debut album in 1974.
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The band earned hit singles with “Heard It In a Love Song,” “Fire on the Mountain,” “Can’t You See” and “Take the Highway.” They earned seven gold and three platinum albums on the Capricorn Records label. During the 1990s, they placed four hit singles on Billboard’s country charts and one on Billboard’s gospel chart.
Hit songs 'Can't You See', 'Blue Ridge Mountain Sky', 'Heard It in a Love Song', 'Dream Lover', 'Bob Away My Blues', '24 Hours at a Time', 'Fire on the Mountain', 'Another Cruel Love' & 'Am I the Kind of Man'.
From their first LP in 1973, to their powerful stage presence today, the Marshall Tucker Band has played countless concert venues around the world. With the success of the Volunteer Jam Tour, and release of their latest CD Gospel, in 1999, the good ol' boys from Spartanburg, South Carolina remain as a powerful force in the world of music.
The future should provide even more excitement as the band has added a new member to its lineup. In January of 1999, Clay Cook made his first appearance as a member of the Marshall Tucker Band. Clay is the twenty-three year old nephew of Doug Gray and talent definitely runs in the family. Clay plays keyboards, flute, and saxophone. In addition to this, he can sing with a vengeance.
Gray is quick to credit the band's current dynamic members with carrying on the everlasting Marshall Tucker Band sound. When Toy Caldwell stepped away from the band in 1984 for a much-deserved vacation, Rusty Milner came into the group. Milner, a veteran rock guitarist from The Artimus Pyle Band, also from Spartanburg, S.C., was the obvious choice for a replacement. Veteran bassist/songwriter Tim Lawter also joined the MTB in 1984, bringing with him talents that would soon deliver such songs to the group's catalog as "Driving You Out of My Mind," "Stay In The Country," and the down-home blues track, "Mean Miss Sweetie," an up-tempo romp from the 1998 "Face Down in the Blues" release. In 1989, slide guitarist Stuart Swanlund joined the lineup of talented musicians. They also added the highly respected B.B. Borden, who is a former member of both Mother's Finest and The Outlaws, on drums in the early 90's.
"The buying public never really cared whether we were country or rock and roll" says founding member Doug Gray. "They called us a Southern rock band, but we have always played everything from country to blues and all things in-between. We're still playing all of the classic songs, but we are moving ahead into other styles as well. We're also playing for a younger audience than we have in the past, perhaps to the kids of the fans we played in front of in the 70's and 80's."
Gray also notes that people have gotten "married and buried" to classic MTB songs like "Desert Skies" and "Can't You See". After nearly 30 years, The Marshall Tucker Band continues to be played on classic rock and country radio, and they have never stopped touring.
"We never play less than 150 shows a year, and sometimes we play as many as 200 shows. We feel we owe it to the fans who have supported us through the years to deliver the music in person," says Gray.
Years of rigorous tour schedules earned the band the respect of critics and countless dedicated fans. With hit singles like "Heard It In a Love Song," "Fire On The Mountain," "Can't You See," and "Take The Highway," The Marshall Tucker Band earned seven gold and three platinum albums while they were on the Capricorn Records label. During the 90's, the MTB scored four hit singles on Billboard's country chart and one on Billboard's gospel chart. Their music has also been featured on the soundtracks of movies such as Smokey and the Bandit, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, and Shipwrecked.
The Marshall Tucker Band got its start in Spartanburg, S.C. when Gray teamed up with Tommy Caldwell and Toy Caldwell, Paul T. Riddle, George McCorkle and Jerry Eubanks, borrowing the name "Marshall Tucker" from a piano tuner who's name was found on a key ring in their old rehearsal space. In 1972, they signed with Capricorn Records, the same label that guided The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, and others to national fame. The MTB opened shows for The Allman Brothers in 1973, and the following year, they began to headline their own shows across America due to the platinum-plus sales of their debut album.
In years to come, The Marshall Tucker Band would wow critics and influence major country acts like Alabama, The Kentucky Headhunters, Confederate Railroad, and Travis Tritt with its definitive blend of rock, rhythm & blues, jazz, country, and gospel. Now, thanks to the expanding scope of today's music, a new generation of fans is learning what the rest of their fans have known for so long- that good music knows no boundaries.
"As we've become older," Gray grins, eyes twinkling, "our Southern heritage seems to come out even more. But no matter how old we get, we can still rock your socks off."
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