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Marshall Tucker Band, The

Marshall Tucker Band, The

Marshall Tucker Band, The, southern rock band of the 1970s. membership: Doug Gray, lead voc. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., May 2, 1948); Toy Caldwell, lead gtr., steel gtr., voc. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., 1948; d. Moore, S.C., Feb. 25, 1993); Tommy Caldwell, bs., voc. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., 1950; d. Spartanburg, S.C., April 28, 1980); George McCorkle, rhythm gtr.; Jerry Eubanks, sax., fit. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., March 9, 1950); Paul Riddle, drm. Tommy Caldwell was replaced by Franklin Wilkie; the band reformed in 1983 with Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks enlisting new members Rusty Milner, gtr. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., June 2, 1958); Tim Lawter, bs., gtr. (b. Spartanburg, S.C., Dec. 10, 1958), along with various supporting musicians.

The Marshall Tucker Band helped bridge the gap between rock and country music with a mellow sound that featured the flute and saxophone playing of Jerry Eubanks. Established as a live band through years of touring, the Marshall Tucker Band was a popular album band, recording excellent songs such as “Can’t You See” “Searchin’ for a Rainbow,” “Fire on the Mountain,” and “Last of the Singing Cowboys,” while scoring only one major pop hit, “Heard It in a Love Song.”

The band centered around the musical Caldwell brothers and their Spartanburg, S.C., friends. Teenager Toy Caldwell formed a band with friend George McCorkle called the Rants; his brother Tommy played with Doug Gray in the New Generation. Both local bands were active through the mid-1960s, when various members were drafted into the Army. Toy returned to Spartanburg in 1969 and formed the Toy Factory; by 1971 brother Tommy, old buddy McCorkle, and Paul Riddle were on board and the band had a new name, the Marshall Tucker Band (Marshall Tucker owned the hall where the guys rehearsed).

The band’s first album was released in 1973, and a year later they were touring as opening act for the Allman Brothers (both groups recorded for Capricorn). Although several songs received wide airplay on FM and alternative radio, the band didn’t score a major hit until 1977 with “Heard It in a Love Song.” That same year they played Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. In 1979 the group left Capricorn for Warner Bros.

Bassist Tommy Caldwell died on April 28, 1980, from injuries sustained in an auto accident in Spartanburg six days earlier. He was replaced by former Rants and Toy Factory bassist Franklin Wilkie. The band released Dedicated in 1981 in memory of Tommy. Lead guitarist Toy Caldwell left the group in 1983, as did McCorkle and Riddle; Toy eventually launched a solo career in 1992, only to die on Feb. 25, 1993. Enduring many personnel changes, the Marshall Tucker Band was subsequently fronted by originals Jerry Eubanks and lead vocalist Doug Gray. By the early 1990s the band was focusing on country material.

Discography

the marshall tucker band:The M. T. Band (1973); A New Life (1974); Where We All Belong (1974); Searchin’ for a Rainbow (1975); Long Hard Ride (1976); Carolina Dreams (1977); Together Forever (1978); Greatest Hits (1978); Running Like the Wind (1979); Tenth (1980); Dedicated (1981) Tuckerized (1982); Just Us (1983); Greetings from South Carolina (1984); Still Holdin’ On (1988); Back to Back (1992); Best (1994). toy caldwell:Toy Caldwell (1992).

—Brock Helander

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