Album Review

The Marshall Tucker Band - Live! Englishtown, NJ 9/3/77

 - Error

It was a perfect day for a concert -- and what a venue, right beside the Englishtown, NJ, race track. It was a hot, late-summer afternoon. My friends and I pulled into the outskirts of Englishtown and decided to park a good walk away, because we asked and heard that the small town was full of cars, and people were paying to park on peoples' front yards. 

So, we walked about thirty, forty-five minutes to Raceway Park, right beside where the concert was going to be. It was a huge area surrounded by 18-wheeler trailers for a fence, and the huge stage took up a large area in the front, at the bottom of a very large, slowly descending hill. Besides the speakers on the stage, there were several large stacks of speakers scattered across the side of the hill, for the people who were further back, like myself. People were lying on blankets or standing around talking, My friends and I had missed the New Riders of the Purple Sage -- a country-rock group who had opened up the show.

All of a sudden, there arose a large commotion, and the Marshall Tucker Band came out around 3"00 in the afternoon. We could not see or hear the group at first, You could barely hear the music where we were hanging out, and there were several people behind us, There was an estimated one 150,000 people there. It was a very mellow crowd -- people enjoying what they knew was a very special moment.

It took a while for the sound to get loud enough for the whole crowd to hear the MTB. Finally, the sound got straightened out and the band sounded great as they played several of their popular songs from that era. Both the Grateful Dead, who Marshall Tucker was opening for, and Marshall Tucker were playing in the peak of their careers. It was quite an experience.

This CD is a copy of a soundboard tape for the MTB, so the sound quality is not that good. The volume of the recording was the same volume thrughout the show, and the quality of the recording improves as the show goes on. The set ends with a rousing "24 Hours at a Time" and the encore is "Can't You See" -- a killer version. 

This is definitely a must-have if you were at the historic show. Marshall Tucker did not release a lot of live material.  This will be available on Amazon on October 14, 2014.

Jim,  I'm glad you noted the sound quality as an issue.  But you said it improves as the show progresses, would you say it approaches the quality of the live portions of Where We All Belong?  The live portion of that record captured them really, really well and that killer version of 24 Hours At A Time is an example of MTB firing on all cylinders.  Getting the feeling this new disc might be more of a souvenir for those who were at that show?


    Unfortunately, you nailed it, nothing like "Where we all belong" or even "Stompin Grounds", I asked the publicist because I just got a cdr, not the final CD with Artwork.

Dang, Jim, 150,000 people at a single concert! 

Thanks for flagging this CD for a long-time fan from the AOR days.  The interesting thing is that a number of 70's live MTB concert albums have appeared in recent years.  The band was not only a wonderful country rock act but their version of the blues standards "Everyday I Have The Blues" (by Memphis Slim and thousands of others) and "The Thrill Is Gone" are magnificent. 

Dave, your mentioning The Thrill Is Gone reminded me that the last time I saw the original lineup play was during the tour for Tenth, BB King was the opener.   A few years ago I started an ND discussion about MTB, Jim was very active in that discussion and it was very cool to see Toy Caldwell's wife Abbie find the discussion and chime in.  I think she and Jim had other correspondence at the time.  For what it's worth here's a link to that old discussion.  It was good to see so much support for a great band.





     Interesting you were able to bring up that old thread, I remember how long that it was, and it was up forever.  I keep in touch with her occasionally, Thinking of Toy and the original band brings back good memories. Their best live stuff was on that gray double album "Where We all Belong".  

Yes, Jack, I do remember reading the discussion back then.  A very valuable service that helps highlight one of my favorite all time bands.  Incredibly eclectic group.  It is interesting that three innovative bands-Allmans, MTB, Skynrd came from the South.