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The Marshall Tucker Band is an Americanmarker Southern rock band originally from Spartanburgmarker, South Carolinamarker. Using a unique mix of soul, blues, jazz, country, and traditional influences, the band helped establish the Southern rock genre in the early 1970s with its legendary live performances, lengthy improvisations, and a string of gold and platinum albums. While the band had reached the height of its commercial success by the end of the decade, a loyal fanbase has allowed it to record and perform continuously under various lineups for nearly 40 years.

The original lineup of the Marshall Tucker Band, formed in 1972, included lead guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter Toy Caldwell (1947–1993), keyboard player and vocalist Doug Gray (b. 1948), flutist Jerry Eubanks (b. 1950), rhythm guitarist George McCorkle (1946–2007), drummer Paul Riddle (b. 1953), and bassist Tommy Caldwell (1949–1980). They signed with Capricorn Records and in 1973 released their first LP, The Marshall Tucker Band. After Tommy Caldwell was killed in an automobile accident in 1980, he was replaced by bassist Franklin Wilkie. Most of the original band members had left by the mid-1980s to pursue other projects. The band's current lineup consists of Gray on vocals, guitarist Stuart Swanlund, keyboard player and flutist Marcus James Henderson, guitarist Rick Willis, bassist Pat Elwood, and drummer B.B. Borden.

Name origin

The "Marshall Tucker" in the band's name does not refer to a band member, but rather a Spartanburg-area piano tuner. While the band was discussing possible band names one evening in an old warehouse they had rented for rehearsal space, someone noticed that the warehouse's doorkey had the name "Marshall Tucker" inscribed on it, and suggested they called themselves the "Marshall Tucker Band," not realizing it referred to an actual person. It later came to light that Marshall Tucker, the piano tuner, had rented the space before the band, and the landlord had yet to change the inscription on the key.


Early history

The original members (and some later members) of the Marshall Tucker Band had been playing in various lineups under different band names around the Spartanburg area since the early 1960s. In 1966, members of several such bands merged to form the Toy Factory, named after guitarist Toy Caldwell. The Toy Factory's constantly-shifting lineup included, at times, Caldwell, Caldwell's younger brother Tommy, Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks, George McCorkle, and Franklin Wilkie. In the late 1960s, several bandmembers served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and several saw action in the Vietnam War. By 1970, Toy Caldwell and Doug Gray had returned to Spartanburg, and the Toy Factory had resumed playing in area clubs.

In 1972, Caldwell and Gray once again redid the band's lineup, eventually settling on Tommy Caldwell, George McCorkle, and Jerry Eubanks on bass, guitar and flute/keyboards, while adding Paul Riddle on drums; the new lineup adopted the name "Marshall Tucker Band." They quickly gained a regional following, playing relentlessly night after night. Wet Willie lead singer Jimmy Hall was particularly impressed by one of the Marshall Tucker Band's performances, and submitted the band's demo to Phil Walden of Capricorn Records, which was a pioneering label in the Southern rock genre. Walden signed the band shortly thereafter.


The Marshall Tucker Band's self-titled debut, produced by Paul Hornsby, was released in 1973, and certified gold in 1975. All of the tracks were written by Toy Caldwell, including "Can't You See," which received considerable radio play. After the album's release, the band began touring virtually non-stop, playing upwards of 300 shows per year throughout the decade. A typical show lasted several hours, and included lengthy improvised jams for which the band became legendary. Pioneering Southern rock fiddler Charlie Daniels later recalled that the Marshall Tucker Band "came onstage and just blew it out from start to finish."

Daniels' first of many collaborations with the Marshall Tucker Band came on the band's second album, A New Life, which was released in 1974, and certified gold in 1977. Daniels and blues guitarist Elvin Bishop were among several musicians that joined the band for Where We All Belong, a double-album (one studio album and one live album) released by the band in 1974 and certified gold that same year. The band had continued success the following year with Searchin' for a Rainbow, which was also certified gold the year of its release, and contained the track "Fire on the Mountain," which peaked at #38 on the Billboard charts. Long Hard Ride, the band's fifth consecutive gold album, was released in 1976, and its instrumental title track (which again features Charlie Daniels on fiddle) was nominated for a Grammy. Carolina Dreams, released in 1977 and certified platinum that same year, proved to be the band's most commercially-successful album, and included the track "Heard It In a Love Song," which reached #14 on the Billboard charts. The band's final Capricorn release came with 1978's Together Forever, which was produced by Stewart Levine.


The Marshall Tucker Band moved to Warner Bros. Records for their ninth album, Running Like the Wind, although they retained Levine as the album's producer. On April 22, 1980, the band's bassist, Tommy Caldwell, was involved in an automobile accident in which he suffered massive head trauma, and died six days later. Former Toy Factory bassist Franklin Wilkie replaced Caldwell, but the band was never able to recapture its commercial success of the 1970s. After 1983's Greetings from South Carolina, the band split up.

In 1988, Gray and Eubanks reorganized the Marshall Tucker Band to record the album Still Holdin' On, their one and only release on the Mercury Records label. Although Gray and Eubanks added new members Rusty Milner, Stuart Swanlund, and Tim Lawter, Still Holdin' On was primarily recorded with studio musicians. The newer members had a much greater role, however, on the band's 1990 album, Southern Spirit, released on the Sisaspa label. The album marked a return to the band's country and blues roots.


In 1992, the Marshall Tucker Band produced its first album for the Cabin Fever label, Still Smokin', which managed to crack the top 70 on the Billboard charts. The band's 1993 release, Walk Outside the Lines, marked a transition to a more country sound, relying less on long improvised jams that were the trademark of the band's early career. The album's title track was co-written by country music star Garth Brooks, a long-time fan of the band who considered writing a track for them a "milestone" in his career.

For 1998's Face Down In the Blues, the band added Spartanburg-area guitarist Ronald Radford and multi-instrumentalist David Muse, the latter replacing Jerry Eubanks, who had retired in 1996. The album showed a much stronger blues influence than previous albums. Gospel, the band's 1999 album, featured the band's rendition of traditional songs such as The Wayfaring Stranger and Will the Circle Be Unbroken, as well as several original tracks.

Recent history

The Marshall Tucker Band continued recording and performing into the 21st century, playing between 150 and 200 shows per year. The band reissued many of its albums from the 1970s on its new Ramblin' Records label, as well as two two-disc compilations, the first (Anthology) being a 30-year retrospective and the second (Where a Country Boy Belongs) being a collection of the band's country songs. In 2004, they released another studio album, Beyond the Horizon, and the following year released a Christmas album, Carolina Christmas.

"Can't You See" was used for the opening and closing credits of the Kevin Costner 2008 motion picture Swing Vote. "Take the Highway" was also used in the movie.


While the band is typically grouped under "Southern rock," their style has never fit neatly into any single genre. Compared with Southern-rock pioneers and label-mates The Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band has more of a country and western feel, with the flute being a key lead instrument in their sound with a lot of its parts in the higher fife/piccolo register. Blues music and Western-themed lyrics have been mainstay with the band since its inception, although the band has occasionally drifted into a more jazz-like sound (especially with the albums produced by Levine) and some albums have a stronger country influence, such as Still Holdin' On. Later albums, such as Gospel, showed a stronger Appalachian Carolina influence.

Guitarist Toy Caldwell, who died of a heart attack in 1993, was the band's primary driving force in its early years, and provided lead vocals on songs such as "Can't You See" and "This Ol Cowboy." Bassist Tommy Caldwell sang background vocals, and performed lead vocals on "Melody Ann." Guitarist George McCorkle wrote one of the band's most well-known songs, "Fire on the Mountain," as well as "Silverado" and "Holdin' On To You."


Studio albums

Year Album Chart Positions RIAA Label
US US Country
1973 The Marshall Tucker Band 29 Gold Capricorn
1974 A New Life 37 Gold
Where We All Belong 54 Gold
1975 Searchin' for a Rainbow 15 21 Gold
1976 Long Hard Ride 32 21
1977 Carolina Dreams 23 22 Platinum
1978 Together Forever 22 26 Gold
1979 Running Like the Wind 30 Warner Bros.
1980 Tenth 32
1981 Dedicated 53
1982 Tuckerized 95
1983 Just Us
Greetings from South Carolina
1988 Still Holdin' On Mercury
1990 Southern Spirit Capitol
1992 Still Smokin' Cabin Fever
1993 Walk Outside the Lines
1998 Face Down in the Blues K-Tel
1999 Gospel
2003 Stompin' Room Only Shout! Factory
2004 Beyond the Horizon
2005 Carolina Christmas
2006 Live on Long Island
2007 The Next Adventure
2008 Carolina Dreams Tour '77

Compilation albums

Year Album Chart Positions RIAA Label
US US Country
1978 Greatest Hits 67 19 Platinum Capricorn
1994 The Capricorn Years Era
1996 Country Tucker K-Tel
1997 The Encore Collection BMG
MT Blues K-Tel
2005 Anthology Shout! Factory
2006 Where a Country Boy Belongs
2008 Collector's Edition Madacy
2009 Love Songs Shout! Factory
Essential 3.0


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US US Country US Rock CAN CAN Country CAN AC
1973 "My Jesus" The Marshall Tucker Band
1974 "Another Cruel Love" A New Life
1975 "This Ol' Cowboy" 78 Where We All Belong
"Fire on the Mountain" 38 81 Searchin' for a Rainbow
1976 "Searchin' for a Rainbow" 104 82
"Long Hard Ride" 63 Long Hard Ride
1977 "Heard It in a Love Song" 14 51 5 38 24 Carolina Dreams
"Can't You See" 75 57 39 Greatest Hits
1978 "Dream Lover" 75 80 Together Forever
"I'll Be Loving You"
1979 "Last of the Singing Cowboys" 42 97 Running Like the Wind
"Running Like the Wind"
1980 "It Takes Time" 79 Tenth
1981 "Silverado" 60 Dedicated
"Tell the Blues to Take Off the Night"
"Love Some"
1982 "Mr. President" Tuckerized
"Reachin' for a Little Bit More"
1983 "A Place I've Never Been" 62 Just Us
1987 "Hangin' Out in Smokey Places" 44 Still Holdin' On
1988 "Once You Get the Feel of It" 79
"Still Holdin' On"
1992 "Driving You Out of My Mind" 68 Still Smokin'
1993 "Walk Outside the Lines" 71 Walk Outside the Lines


  1. Colin Larkin (ed.), "Marshall Tucker Band." The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Vol. 5, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 521-522.
  2. Ted Olson, "Marshall Tucker Band." The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 325-326.
  3. The Marshall Tucker Band – Current and former members page. 2009. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  4. The Marshall Tucker Band – Biography. 2009. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  5. Michael B. Smith, Toy Caldwell's Carolina Dreams. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  6. Barry Alfonso, Notes to The Marshall Tucker Band: Anthology [CD liner notes]. Ramblin' Records, 2005.
  7. James Elliott, "Marshall Tucker Band." Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and its Performers (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1995), pp. 504-505.
  8. Amy Cortner, "Marshall Tucker Band." Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006). p. 1186.
  9., Still Holdin' On Review. 2002-2008. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  10. Craig Cumberland, Walk Outside the Lines Review. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.

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