Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Marshall Tucker Band!

I am way over due to salute, pay respects to, honor and proclaim that The Marshall Tucker Band has a ferocious place in my heart. With the driving rhythm of George McCorkle and the brothers Toy and Tommy Caldwell this band blew everyone away. Drummer Paul Riddle was heavily influenced by Buddy Rich and brought a wonderful syncopation to the bands tunes. Don't blow that last line off Buddy Rich was a wild man and a drummer’s drummer his influence on Paul is not to be underrated in Paul's underpinning of the band along with Tommy’s unsung heroics on bass.

Okay the flute - what the hey is that flute doing in a rock n' roll band. Well it ain't prog rock. Jerry Eubanks brought a wonderful transition to the tunes that Toy wrote. That flute would permeate and float out above the wagon train careening, wild riding sound of the band while Toy's lead was the drivers whip pushing the melody forward. No mere three minutes ever did this band justice. No these high school buds looking to meet chicks bore down and tore open a can of sheer whoop ass on stage. The venue was anywhere USA. The avenue were the chord progressions played powerfully, plain and straight forward like a country road, and the lyrics the simple truths of life captured in the human spirit. Listening to this band was like riding a wild herd of horses out of the valley and onto the horizon chasing the wind, the sun and the hours. Much has been written about Toy's playing style but he determined tone and power by a thumb that just went from his heart to the strings without a breath. Mark Knopfler and Derek Trucks also employee the thumb attack my guitar worshiping friends. There must be something to it. Last but not least Doug Gray was the powerhouse vocal that gave tone and texture to Toy's music. He reaches back every night to this day obliterating convention and giving voice to the expression of Southern righteousness to which we all can relate.

Marshall Tucker is an American treasure and its history, roots and legacy should not be dismissed. Toy wrote the lion share of the songs but I doubt they were created in a vacuum without input from his brother and band mates. I can not do this group justice with words get their music back out and listen. Their music paints a vivid landscape as I lose myself in their spirit, energy, passion and drive. Their music sounds like the setting sun on the Blue Ridge Mountains or a whiskey soaked dance hall. Stomp your feet to a country guitar! Stomp your feet to a hillbilly band! I have rarely experienced the sheer joy of life so completely through music as I have with this band, and I have listened to and played a ton of music from Mozart to Marley and back again. I’m either up Running like the Wind or weigh laid by their low down country blues. This ain’t polished, commercialized Nashville. This is the real heartland before it got marginalized and homogenized. Take the Highway, Can’t You See, Ramblin’, Hillbilly Band, New Life, 24 Hours at a Time, you know the tunes and I know the reason why he’s thinkin’ about the Promised Land and those Blue Ridge Mountain Sky's. The Marshall Tucker Band is pure and comes from a pure spot. They are just exactly what one would expect from the unfiltered foothills of the Blue Ridge, from the land. They are playing music for the sheer love of it and it shows without hype and celebrity and just for fun! Talk about hitting the note they blow the notes off the page and damn near bring tears to my eyes every time!


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