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The Marshall Tucker Band

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The Marshall Tucker Band
The Marshall Tucker Band in 2006
The Marshall Tucker Band in 2006
Background information
OriginSpartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
Years active1972–present
LabelsCapricorn, Warner Bros., Mercury, Cabin Fever, Ramblin'
MembersDoug Gray
Marcus James Henderson
Chris Hicks
Rick Willis
Ryan Ware
B.B. Borden
Past membersJerry Eubanks
Toy Caldwell
George McCorkle
Paul Riddle
Tommy Caldwell
Franklin Wilkie
Stuart Swanlund
Rusty Milner
Tim Lawter
Ronnie Godfrey
Bobby Ogdin
Bob Wray
James Stroud
Tom Robb
Ace Allen
Don Cameron
Frank Toler
Mark Pettey
Ronald Radford
Paul Thompson
Garry Guzzardo
David Muse
Clay Cook
Tony Heatherly
Pat Elwood
Tony Black

The Marshall Tucker Band is an American rock band from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Noted for incorporating blues, country and jazz into an eclectic sound, the Marshall Tucker Band helped establish the Southern rock genre in the early 1970s.[1] While the band had reached the height of its commercial success by the end of the decade, it has recorded and performed continuously under various line-ups for 50 years.[1] Lead vocalist Doug Gray remains the only original member still active with the band.

The original line-up of the Marshall Tucker Band, formed in 1972, included lead guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter Toy Caldwell (1947–1993), lead vocalist Doug Gray (born 1948), keyboard player, saxophone player and flautist Jerry Eubanks (born 1950), rhythm guitarist George McCorkle (1946–2007), drummer Paul Riddle (born 1953) and bassist Tommy Caldwell (1949–1980). They signed with Capricorn Records and released their first album in 1973, The Marshall Tucker Band.

After Tommy Caldwell was killed in a car accident in 1980, he was replaced by bassist Franklin Wilkie. Most of the original band members had left by 1984.[2] The band's current line-up consists of Gray on vocals; keyboard player, saxophonist and flautist Marcus James Henderson; guitarists Chris Hicks and Rick Willis, bassist Ryan Ware and drummer B.B. Borden.[3]

Origin of the name[edit]

The "Marshall Tucker" in the band's name does not refer to a band member, rather to a blind piano tuner from Spartanburg.[4] 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 door key had the name "Marshall Tucker" inscribed on it, and suggested they call themselves "The Marshall Tucker Band," not realizing it referred to an actual person. Later it came to light that Marshall Tucker, the piano tuner, had tuned a piano in that rented space before the band and his name was inscribed on the key.[5] Music historian Joel Whitburn erroneously attributes "Marshall Tucker" to the owner of the band's rehearsal hall in his book Top Pop Singles, 1955-2002.[6] Marshall Tucker died on January 20, 2023, at the age of 99.[7] At the time it was reported that he supported the band’s use of his name and that he was "proud of them as long as they were good boys and played good music".[8]


Early history[edit]

The original members (and some later members) of the Marshall Tucker Band had been playing in various line-ups 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 line-up included, at various times, Caldwell, his younger brother Tommy, Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks, George McCorkle and Franklin Wilkie. In the late 1960s, four of the band members served in the US military;[9][10][11] Toy Caldwell served in the Marine Corps and received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam.[12]

By the 1970s, Toy Caldwell and George McCorkle had returned to Spartanburg and the Toy Factory had resumed playing in area clubs.[13]

In 1972 Caldwell and McCorkle once again revamped the band's line-up, eventually settling on Tommy Caldwell on bass, George McCorkle rhythm guitar, vocalist Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks, keyboards/flute/tenor sax, while adding Paul Riddle on drums; the new line-up adopted the name "Marshall Tucker Band". Wet Willie lead singer Jimmy Hall told Toy Caldwell to book the band at Grant's Lounge in Macon, Georgia, which he did. After hearing the band play at Grant's Lounge, Buddy Thornton and Paul Hornsby recorded the band's demo at Capricorn Studios. Frank Fenter and Phil Walden signed the Marshall Tucker Band to Capricorn Records based on those demos.


The Marshall Tucker Band's self-titled debut, produced by Paul Hornsby, was released in 1973 and certified gold in 1975.[14] All of the tracks were written by Toy Caldwell, including "Can't You See" which was released as a popular single in 1973 and re-released in 1977, generating much FM airplay and becoming the group's best known song. After the album's release, the band began touring, playing upwards of 300 shows per year throughout the decade.[14] Southern rock fiddler Charlie Daniels later recalled that the Marshall Tucker Band "came onstage and just blew it out from start to finish."[15]

Daniels' first of many collaborations with the Marshall Tucker Band came on the band's second album, A New Life,[15] which was released in 1974, and certified gold in 1977.[14] Daniels and blues guitarist Elvin Bishop were among several musicians that joined the band for Where We All Belong,[15] a double-album (one studio album and one live album) released by the band in 1974 and certified gold that same year.

The following year the band's Searchin' for a Rainbow was also certified gold the year of its release, and contained the track "Fire on the Mountain," which peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard charts. Long Hard Ride, the band's fifth consecutive gold album, was released in 1976,[15] and its instrumental title track (which again features Charlie Daniels on fiddle) was nominated for a Grammy.[16]

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 No. 14 on the Billboard charts.[14] And the band's final Capricorn release came with 1978's Together Forever, which was produced by Stewart Levine.[15]

Following the bankruptcy of Capricorn, the Marshall Tucker Band moved to Warner Bros. Records in 1979 for their ninth album, Running Like the Wind (the band's eighth release was a compilation album entitled Greatest Hits), and they retained Levine as the album's producer.

In August 1979, the band played at Knebworth Festival in England. Led Zeppelin was the headline act at both of their festival appearances.[17]


On April 22, 1980, following the completion of the band's tenth album Tenth, bassist and co-founder Tommy Caldwell suffered massive head trauma in a car wreck and died six days later. Former Toy Factory bassist Franklin Wilkie replaced Caldwell for their next album, Dedicated (1981), but the band was never able to recapture its commercial success of the 1970s.

On 1982's Tuckerized, which featured Ronnie Godfrey, who joined them as an additional keyboardist, only two songs were written by band members; "Sea, Dreams & Fairy Tales" by Toy Caldwell and "Sweet Elaine" by George McCorkle. And main songwriter Toy Caldwell only contributed three songs to each of their next two albums, both released in 1983; Just Us and Greetings from South Carolina. Afterwards, all the rest of the original band members split in June 1984, except for Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks.[1]

During the summer of 1984, MTB toured with a revamped lineup featuring Gray, Eubanks, Spartanburg guitarist Rusty Milner and new Nashville players: Bob Wray (bass), James Stroud (drums), Kenny Mims (guitar) and Bobby Ogdin (keyboards). But in 1985, Wray, Stroud and Mims were replaced respectively by session veteran Tom Robb (from Leslie West's Wild West Show), Stuart Swanlund (guitars, slide guitar, pedal steel guitar, vocals) and David "Ace" Allen (drums).

In 1988 Gray and Eubanks released the album Still Holdin' On, their one and only release on the Mercury Records label, which had been recorded mostly back in 1985 in Nashville with the 84/85 mostly Nashville players lineup.

Bassist Tim Lawter joined in 1987, and the newer members (including newly added, in 1989, keyboardist Don Cameron) had a much greater role on the band's 1990 album, Southern Spirit, released on the Sisapa label. The album marked a return to the band's country and blues roots.[18]


In 1992 the Marshall Tucker Band produced its first album for the Cabin Fever label, Still Smokin'. Just after the album's recording, drummer David "Frankie" Toler (ex-Allman Brothers Band) replaced Allen on drums and Mark Pettey replaced Don Cameron later that same year on keyboards.

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.[19] 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.[14]

The band added Spartanburg-area guitarist Ronald Radford in 1993 to 1995 after Swanlund suffered a hand injury, and Radford appeared on 1998's Face Down In the Blues, along with Firefall's multi-instrumentalist David Muse, the latter replacing Jerry Eubanks who had retired in 1996. But Swanlund was back in the band from 1995 till his death in 2012 and Muse was there from 1996-2000, then again in 2003-2009.

Garry Guzzardo replaced drummer Toler in 1994-1996 and was succeeded by current drummer B.B. Borden (ex-Mother's Finest) in 1997, guitarist Chris Hicks joined in 1996, after a long stint in the Outlaws, and keyboardist Paul Thompson (who came in after Pettey left) was briefly a member in 1994 but was dropped pretty soon after and not replaced. He was later killed in a motorcycle accident in 1999.[20]

Gospel, the band's 1999 album, featured the band's rendition of traditional songs including "The Wayfaring Stranger", "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", and several original tracks.

21st century[edit]

Clay Cook (saxophone, flute, keyboards, vocals) was a member from 2000-2009 and Dave Muse returned in 2003-2009 before being succeeded by current man Marcus James Henderson in 2009. Longtime bassist Tim Lawter was succeeded by Tony Heatherly in 2001, who turned it over to Pat Elwood in 2004. Guitarist Rusty Milner left in 2003 and Stuart Swanland was there on and off (his health permitting) from 1985 until his death on August 5, 2012 at age 54. The current guitarists are Chris Hicks (since 1996) and Rick Willis (since 2009) and bassist Tony Black was there from 2017-2019. Ryan Ware has occupied the bass chair since the band returned to the road in 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marshall Tucker Band continued recording and performing into the 21st century, playing between 150 and 200 shows per year.[5] 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. In 2007 they released their newest studio album The Next Adventure.

"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.

"Can't You See" is also used in the 2001 film Blow and the 2017 film I, Tonya.

Musical style[edit]

Tommy Caldwell described the Marshall Tucker Band's music as progressive country, explaining that the band played country music structures and riffs combined with jazz improvisation upon which more complex structures were built from the country music foundation.[21] In 1977, Billboard identified the Marshall Tucker Band as major performers of the genre.[22] Aside from progressive country, the band has also been categorized as Southern rock,[23][24][25][26][27] blues rock,[28] country rock,[29] jazz rock,[29] and as a "proto-jam band".[28] Billboard charts have categorized the band as country, blues and adult contemporary.[24]

The band has incorporated throughout its career elements of diverse genres into its sound, most frequently blues,[30][23][31][24] country[30][23][24] and jazz.[30][24] The band has also drawn from boogie,[31] psychedelic,[32] R&B,[32] gospel,[32] folk,[32] and rock and roll.[23] According to Allmusic's Jeff Tamarkin, Toy Caldwell's guitar playing style was categorized by "flashy, jazzy licks"; the band has also been noted for extensive jamming.[28]

Remembering the early years in 2012 Doug Grey describes the band as being like ''a bowl of soup like your mom would cook. Whatever was in the refrigerator was all thrown in there, and however it tasted was what it was.'' As Grey remarks, the result was so eclectic that the press didn't really know what to make of them as they failed to fit neatly in any pigeonhole.[33]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions RIAA Label
US US Country CAN
1973 The Marshall Tucker Band 29 Gold Capricorn
1974 A New Life 37 35 Gold
Where We All Belong (2-LP; one album studio, one album live) 54 91 Gold
1975 Searchin' for a Rainbow 15 21 Gold
1976 Long Hard Ride 32 21 64 Gold
1977 Carolina Dreams 23 22 7 Platinum
1978 Together Forever 22 26 24 Gold
1979 Running Like the Wind 30 Warner Bros.
1980 Tenth 32
1981 Dedicated 53
1982 Tuckerized 95
1983 Just Us 204
Greetings from South Carolina 202
1988 Still Holdin' On Mercury
1990 Southern Spirit Sisapa
1992 Still Smokin' Cabin Fever
1993 Walk Outside the Lines
1998 Face Down in the Blues K-Tel
1999 Gospel
2004 Beyond the Horizon
2005 Carolina Christmas
2007 The Next Adventure

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions RIAA Label
US US Country CAN
1974 Where We All Belong (2-LP; one album studio, one album live) 54 91 Gold Capricorn
1975 Searchin' for a Rainbow (1-LP; studio album with one live track retained from the Where We All Belong live show) 15 21 Gold
2003 Stompin' Room Only: Greatest Hits Live 1974-76 Shout! Factory
2006 Live on Long Island 04-18-80
2007 Carolina Dreams Tour '77
2010 Way Out West! Live From San Francisco 1973
2013 Live! From Spartanburg, South Carolina
2014 Live! Englishtown, NJ-September 3, 1977 Ramblin'
2015 Live in the UK 1976 Ramblin'
2019 Live At Pleasure Island '97 Mountain Man Music
2019 New Years In New Orleans Roll Up '78 and Light Up '79! MT Industries, INC

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions RIAA Label
US US Country CAN
1978 Greatest Hits 67 19 68 Platinum Capricorn
1994 The Capricorn Years Era
1996 Country Tucker K-Tel
1997 The Encore Collection BMG
MT Blues K-Tel
1998 Keeping the Love Alive Rebound
2005 Anthology: The First 30 Years Shout! Factory
2006 Where a Country Boy Belongs
2008 Collector's Edition Madacy
2009 Love Songs Shout! Factory
The Essential MTB 3.0
2011 Greatest Hits [Expanded Edition] Ramblin'


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US US Country US Rock CAN CAN Country CAN AC
1973 "Can't You See" 108 The Marshall Tucker Band
"Take the Highway"
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 25 5 38 24 Carolina Dreams
"Can't You See" (Re-release) 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
"Without You"
1981 "This Time I Believe" 106 Dedicated
"Silverado" 60
"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
1984 "I May Be Easy But You Make It Hard" Greetings From South Carolina
1987 "Hangin' Out in Smokey Places" 44 Still Holdin' On
1988 "Once You Get the Feel of It" 79
"Still Holdin' On"
1990 "Stay in the Country" _ Southern Spirit
1992 "Driving You Out of My Mind" 68 Still Smokin'
1993 "Walk Outside the Lines" 71 Walk Outside the Lines
1998 "Love I Gave To You" Face Down In The Blues
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1981 "Even a Fool Would Let Go"
1990 "Stay in the Country"
1992 "Driving You Out of My Mind" George Bloom[34]
"Tan Yard Road"
1993 "Walk Outside the Lines" D. Gray, J. Gerik
"Down We Go" D. Gray, J. Gerik, K. Mandel[35]


  1. ^ a b c 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 Archived 2009-05-29 at the Wayback Machine. 2009. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  4. ^ Herring, Melissa (February 15, 1983). "Blind piano tuner turns talent into a key business". Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  5. ^ a b The Marshall Tucker Band – Biography. 2009. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  7. ^ "Obituaries in Spartanburg, SC | Spartanburg Herald-Journal". goupstate.com. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  8. ^ https://obits.postandcourier.com/us/obituaries/charleston/name/marshall-tucker-obituary?id=38721737
  9. ^ "GEORGE MCCORKLE". georgemccorkle.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  10. ^ Ryan (May 4, 2011). "Marshall Tucker Band to Entertain Troops in Iraq & Kuwait". marshalltucker.com. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  11. ^ Dudley Brown (June 29, 2003). "Marines salute Hutchings, Caldwells". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Toy Caldwell Jr., 45, a Founder of the Marshall Tucker Band". The New York Times. February 26, 1993. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  13. ^ Michael B. Smith, Toy Caldwell's Carolina Dreams. Tuckerhead.com. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  14. ^ a b c d e 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.
  15. ^ a b c d e Barry Alfonso, Notes to The Marshall Tucker Band: Anthology [CD liner notes]. Ramblin' Records, 2005.
  16. ^ Amy Cortner, "Marshall Tucker Band." Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006). p. 1186.
  17. ^ "Led Zeppelin | Official Website Knebworth Festival - August 11, 1979". Led Zeppelin | Official Website - Official Website. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  18. ^ Tuckerhead.com, Still Holdin' On Review. 2002–2008. Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  19. ^ Craig Cumberland, Walk Outside the Lines Review. Tuckerhead.com, Retrieved: 9 June 2009.
  20. ^ http://thedeadrockstarsclub.com/1998.html
  21. ^ Staff (January 24, 2022). "Marshall Tucker Band: Where We All Belong - Album Of The Week Club review". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2023-07-22.
  22. ^ Cech, Tom (October 15, 1977). "Traditional Country + Modern Sound". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-07-24.
  23. ^ a b c d "The Marshall Tucker Band Brings Southern Rock To The Paramount". Long Islander News. 6 December 2017. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d e "The Marshall Tucker Band | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "The Marshall Tucker Band: Southern jam kings". Axs.com. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  26. ^ "Op-Ed: Marshall Tucker Band puts on the best southern rock show of 2017". Digitaljournal.com. December 28, 2017. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  27. ^ Kuhlman, Fred (15 October 2017). "The Marshall Tucker Band Brings its Southern Rock to Talking Stick Resort Showroom". Beneathadesertsky.com. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c "Live on Long Island: 4-18-80 - The Marshall Tucker Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  29. ^ a b Faignant, Janelle (February 18, 2023). "The Marshall Tucker Band: 'Southern rock 'n' roll music with the ability to stray'". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2023-07-22.
  30. ^ a b c "Marshall Tucker Band - A New Life (Review) - Southern Rock Brasil". 19 January 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-01-19. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  31. ^ a b Eddy, Jon Dolan, David Menconi, Linda Ryan, Rob Harvilla, Charles Aaron, Nick Murray, Kory Grow, Mike Powell, Marissa R. Moss, Reed Fischer, Richard Gehr, Chuck (Nov 12, 2014). "50 Rock Albums Every Country Fan Should Own". Rolling Stone. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ a b c d "The Marshall Tucker Band - The Marshall Tucker Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved Apr 28, 2019.
  33. ^ Goldmine Staff (15 July 2012). "MTB's singer Doug Gray is still searchin' For a rainbow". Goldmine Magazine: Record Collector & Music Memorabilia. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  34. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Marshall Tucker Band : Driving You Out of My Mind". Retrieved 2011-04-17.
  35. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Marshall Tucker Band : Down We Go". Country Music Television. Retrieved 2011-10-14.

External links[edit]