1970's & early '80's Marshall Tucker Band - guilty pleasure or good country/blues rock?

During high school in the mid-late 70's, aside from the Allmans and Little Feat, was never much into southern rock of that era. Thought the Outlaws sounded generic, like the southern equivalent of late period Eagles. Didn't care for Skynyrd. .38 Special wasn't. Wildly successful bands, just not my thing. But I loved the Marshall Tucker Band of that era; their blend of country, blues and occasional jazz like touches just struck me right. Loved the vocals. Great guitar work. The drummer was distinctive. I would think their older music would have fit into the general ballpark of music discussed on this site, but seldom see their name mentioned, which got me to wondering if they have become more of a guilty pleasure, mostly forgotten, or were they never that big a deal aside from their hits. Thoughts?

A guilty pleasure? Certainly not,  the MTB are a pleasure to be proud of. I have just signed up to ND and am having a great time reading all the blogs and threads. Seeing yours not only made put on A New Life but took me back to a show I saw on my first visit to the US in 1974 at the Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, when MTB were supporting the Allman Bros. Grinderswitch opened a night of what was a celebration of Capricorn's hottest acts. Just had to offer support from a fellow fan of the MTB and the others you mentioned (did like the original Skynyrd though) exactly three years ago, spooky!  

To this day I am still turning people on or reminding them how great MTB were with "Where We all Belong"....Mix of country,blues, jazz just amazing to younger listeners

'24 Hours At A Time' from Where We All Belong - don't get any better?

I can't say that ever thought of Little Feat as "Southern Rock" since they're from California but folks seem to constantly lump them into that category. Then again, that's the trouble with labels. However, in this case, I think it gives them short shrift as there's a whole lot more at work there than most associate with "Southern Rock", at least in the sense of Molly Hatchet, Skynyrd, Blackfoot, etc. By the way, I like all those bands, I just think of the term "Southern Rock" as being too confining for a band as multi-faceted as Little Feat.

As for the Marshall Tucker Band, I can't say that I've ever thought of them as a "guilty pleasure". However, what I have noticed is that a lot of the writers for No Depression magazine frowned upon Southern Rock bands. Same goes for the Grateful Dead and their various off-shoots such as the New Riders of the Purple Sage and Old and In the Way. It's as though it was somehow beneath them to mention Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Grateful Dead even though those artists were just as instrumental as Gram Parson in merging country, folk and other styles with rock music. I think Drive-By Truckers did a whole lot to change the perception of Lynyrd Skynyrd but there are still folks that look down their nose at them and the Grateful Dead, especially in regard to the role both of those bands played in what came to be known as "alt.country" years later.


  I have been looking for this thread to let you all know that Abby Caldwell has finished the Official Toy Caldwell Website


Thanks Karl!   I've sent more pics, but noticed that have not been posted..  Slowly but surely I will add more.  Also noticed there are comments that have not been posted.  But  we will get it done. I still have 4 more weeks of therapy for my foot, then do not know what, if anything will be done. I really shattered it.  I''m going into my 10th week---still not driving, kind of getting cabin fever crazy. 


I  appreciate you posting this. Bc I have not forgotten, just have a shattered foot. But it could have been worse.    Ab

I graduated 8th grade in '74. That fall a classmate had a band that played in the gym before bingo one night.  Free Bird, then bingo.  Doubt I'll ever forget hearing his pubescent voice cracking all the way through Free Bird.  He asked afterward how I liked their version and I'm sure my voice was cracking too in saying great job.  This is all to say the song wore itself out early for me.


Chuck Leavell...I have 3-4 Sea Level LP's, each contained a few interesting songs. Have their Best Of on CD and it's all terrific, and probably all most people would need?



Elvin's "Let It Flow" and "Juke Joint Jump" really fit into that classic era of Southern Rock. Both are worth picking up or revisiting if you have them.

Agree with Jack. Wet Willie and Grinderwitch never did it for me. As far as the more obscre southern rock bands, I like a little bit of Cowboy (nice Toy guest spot on the song "Road Gravy Chase") and Barefoot Jerry. But for me, the all time underated Southern Rock record was The Winter Brothers debut on Atco. Great disc, great live band


LOL... no, we didn't play Freebird... LOL... We had a pedal steel, a couple of horns, guitar (me) and a piano player who could play a convincing Chuck Leavell... "Long Haired Country Boy" was probably the most accessible tune we played, and we did a mean "Kansas City"... There may be a tape somewhere... IDK. I still play a little, I try to fingerpick in the way of Rev. Gary Davis a la Ramblin' Jack and to a lesser extent, Jorma...


Exactly!!!... They lacked that distracting macho bullshit ... you nailed it there... And, too, they lacked the stoned out spacey ethos of Grateful Dead... It's funny, I wasn't much into the Dead back then... I listen to the Dead more now, 40 years later, LOL... But I think we are in full agreement in regards to Marshall Tucker and 70's Southern Rock in general.


Thanx for your thread!!

Mark, very cool that you can remember that day and the feeling you had.  Sounds like your high school band had a ton of fun.  Did you ever record anything for posterity's sake? Seemed like every HS band back then was playing Free Bird, was that in the repertoire?  I didn't have quite the same epiphany, their music just struck me from the start like a favorite pair of jeans right and it's stayed with me ever since.  I was not big on country back then and I still pick my spots, but the original MTB seemed for me to be the perfect blend of country, blues, and rock, and they made judicious use to flutes and horns to great effect. They mostly lacked the distracting macho bullshit found in some of their contemporaries music and that too was part of their appeal for me.  I thought their records were consistently strong from the debut through and including Tenth, after which the inspiration was more hit and miss, but not the musicianship, which was always excellent.  I've seen the later day band, basically Doug and hired hands, and they do okay as an MTB cover band. No one could replace Toy's songwriting, singing and guitar playing, nor could a new group create the chemistry of the original lineup. The "new' material I heard them play was certainly competent, but not worth comparing to the vintage material.


Atlanta Rhythm Section...just read that Ronnie Hammond passed away recently. I enjoyed his vocals and much of Champagne Jam, but they were a band I wanted to like more than I did.  By the way, if you have a turntable hooked up, put on Imaginary Lover at 45 rpm instead of 33...it sounds quite like Stevie Nicks singing.


Grinderswitch never did much for me, nor did Wet Willie.  Elvin Bishop I remembered more from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band than anything else, until Fooled Around and Fell In Love came out, a song I still love to hear. Mickey Thomas put down one of the best rock vocals ever on that tune. Just nailed it. Elvin's had an interesting career, and I bet that one song paid a lot of bills for him.

Hi Jack... I felt much like you did... Allman Bros... yes, definitely ... Skynyrd ... well, the early stuff was OK ... .38 spec... nope ... Atlanta Rhythm Section... meh .... and then that tidal wave of southern rock/country ... oh jeez, remember Alabama?? (sorry if there are fans reading) ... you didn't mention Grinderswitch, Wet Willie and Elvin Bishop... some good stuff there though. Oh yea, Marshall Tucker ... sorry!


Their first two albums were truly inspired and different than anything else up until then... The only time I had heard a flute in music I listened to as a teen was Ian Anderson AKA Jethro Tull ;)...  until, of course, The MTB... Was it the flute? for me?... Well, yes, initially!! I will never forget, never, the first time I heard "Can't You See" and "Take the Highway"... I was 15 - 16... and I swore they wrote those songs just for me... flute and guitar weaving such a rich sound... I was a kid who had grown up in a house listening to his parents playing anything from Johnny Cash to Donovan to Judy Collins to Country Joe and the Fish... I thought, and I am serious ... I really do remember that day... I thought here, finally, is some music they got right. This is my music... 


These two albums motivated and even inspired myself and some classmates to form a band in HS... Beaver Creek Railroad ... LOL...it had a limited run... LOL, but Marshall Tucker Band had much to do with our enthusiasm... We drew heavily on their country rock/jam band/southern vibe (also Allman Brothers, David Bromberg, others) and took it in a couple of different directions... We probably didn't sound so great, but, man, we had a freaking blast!!!


So, for me, and I am not exaggerating, Marshall Tucker Band changed everything. 




BTW... I think their later releases lost much of their original soul, but they did lose band members, as so many did back then, and, of course, FM had discovered them, which was always the kiss of death. 

I've rarely chimed into this discussion after the first few weeks, but I have been following it all of these months and it's some really great stuff.


I'm just stopping by here briefly to point you in the direction of this piece, an interview I did with a member of another underrated Southern rock group.

For those interested, try this...www.officialtoycaldwell.com

God Bless your son.  Tell him  we pray for his safe and soon return.  Please Thank him for his service to our country. We appreciate it.  He makes us very proud.  Sincerely , Abbie

Abbie just wanted you to know I am in my late 50's grew up loving the MTB saw your late husband and the boys many times and always could not wait to see them again.  I have a son serving in Afghanistan and when he first went over I asked him what I could send to him his response was copies of my MTB cds, he is 20 and your husbands music means as much to him as it does to me I just wish there was away I could say thank you to him.  Searchin For a Rainbow morale booster to one that serves.

I know this is not where this goes, but I cannot find where to put it, I thought I did put it on my profile page....

so it was removed .....Toy's website is open.....www.officialtoycaldwell.com.....that's all I got...remove it no doubt bc this is not the correct place.  just wanted to let you know...Thanks, Ab

How very nice of you . Thank you so much. I really appreciate it..Sincerely,

Hope you like it...Now I don't know if it will open exactly at midnight....I did want to keep you posted..



Ab, no decision necessary. I have too much respect for the original!

Doug is the only original member.   The MTB ended for me when Tommy died.   Maybe you should go to YOU TUBE and watch/listen some of the recent MTB songs...then go to the ones in the 70's.    !  Those are fantastic.   Then you can decide what you want to do.  



I am a long time MTB fan going back to the 70's but I guess I found myself feeling out of touch when I read this morning that Blue Oyster Cult and The Marshall Tucker Band are playing a show here in Houston next month.


I do not know what a ND page is but I did delete the comment that I regretted, was just mad, falsely I belive..

I think you will know, but the website for Toy goes up tonight ..25th....sometime...www.officialtoycaldwell.com

for those who asked about it. I hope you enjoy it


Sincerely, Ab



Abbie,  you have to remove your own comments.  I think you should see a small X next to the comment above.  Click that and it should delete your comment.  I think you can also delete that comment from your personal ND page in the same way...find the comment and click that X to delete.
I must read these and mean to go back to them, but I was sure I answered both of these comments. I did use a different computer,would that matter?   The story about Gunsmoke is so interesting.  The piano tuner from Spartanburg is where the MTB name came from.  Maybe he was named after the guy in Gunsmoke...? I don't know.    I am sure I answered both these maybe over the weekend.. And just asked for one to be removed.  If my computer is working correctly that comment will be removed, and this reply will remain.?    We will see.!    Ab

Please remove this comment , I was going on hearsy and was so mad  about a person telling me he said something extremely negative. I was wrong and just mad. Please remoe my reply. Abbie Caldwell


It is true I have been censored everywhere, except YouTube.

Ron, I've read over the years in various places that it was the name of a piano tuner (?) whose name they found in their rehearsal space in Spartanburg or something close to that. Toy's wife Abbie may be able confirm the details next time she tunes in to this discussion.

hey all

i just watched an episode of gunsmoke the other day and there was a character portrayed by claude akins named

"marshall tucker"

any chance this is where the guys got the name from?


Please keep us posted, Ms Caldwell! Exciting!















almost have the official ToyCaldwell site ready...I will let you know when it is up and running.   Thanks Ab, 

Wish I did, I'd put you right in touch. I should have written that some of the inductees have surprised me.Looking forward to signing that petition!
You know some of the members? My lawyer did not, only knew there was a panel. Yea' I am going to use a petition.
Abbie,  I don't know how that HOF panel works, there are some surprising members of the HOF I would not have guessed would be part of it. But I have to believe a petition would help bring MTB to their attention. Perhaps your contacting the HOF to inquire on behalf of your husband would be a useful call to make? I for one would sign in a heartbeat.  I would guess you'd find good support on this site.  Looking forward to hearing back once the website is active. Happy New Year!
I am not associated with this website.    The website is in progress, I'm not internet savey by any stretch. A young guy in Nashville is putting it together for me. The holidays slowed it down a bit.   I will let you know the minute we get it together.  Sorry, I do not know Scott Miller.  It has been suggested to me to have a petition even though a panel picks the nominees, I was told it would be good to still have a petition.

Nevermind I see what I was referring to.  Abbie

Toy's lead vocals on the recorded albums - through "Runnin Like the Wind" :

Hillbilly Band

Can't You See

AB's Song

Blue Ridge Mountain Skies

Fly Eagle Fly

This Ol Cowboy

Everyday I Have the Blues

Singing Rhymes (duet with Doug Gray)


The "Saddle Tramp", "Nightrider" and "High Lonesome" trilogy represent an amazing collection of songs and recordings. All released within a two year period. Paul Hornsby's production work on "Nightrider" is magnificent. I've always thought that "Everything is Kinda Alright' is just a wonderfully produced track.

I just got the most recent "Nightrider" and after many listens, I think that it is my favorite CDB CD>


I thought I replied to this.  Sorry if I did not. Thanks for posting, I had no idea about it, and it makes me feel great!
FOTM and Nightrider were the 5th and 6th CDB records.

right now 104.3 fm in nyc is playing "work force block" of marshall tucker:
these are sent in by listeners and played every day in the noon hour

1- can't you see
2- heard it in a love song
3- this old cowboy

Pure and simple MTB deserves to be in the R&R Hall of Fame, I clicked on the list of inductees and the first two bands are ABBA and AC/DC....and no slight intended to those folks but as a slightly rebellious teenager in the early 70's I certainly found more musical inspiration and enjoyment in a band that was able to mix rock, country, swing, jazz, r&b into one fine mix of pure joy.  

I saw Tommy Talton and Randall Bramlett recently at Mag Fest and really enjoyed the show.  I was curious what had ever happened to Scott Boyer so it is great to hear about the upcoming show. 

If you listen to "A New Life" (MTB) and Toy's solo album, I believe you'll hear him playing slide on both of them...the acoustic stuff on "Toy Caldwell" is especially tasty....

John, I like Green Grass & High Tides quite a bit, also There Goes Another Love Song, but by and large their music didn't hit my ears as interesting...thought they had a bar band sound, albeit a good bar band...but that's just me. 

Count me in as a MTB fan, without remorse. I first saw them at William and Mary Hall in `74 and was immediately

stuck by their inspired jazz influenced jams and tight musicianship.  Those first 3 or 4 albums were fine work and should be considered required listening for anyone interested in the hay day of southern rock.

 As a sidenote, MTB`s Capricorn label mates Cowboy are having a reunion December 17th at the Cox Capitol Theater in Macon. Boyer and Talton haven`t gotten together in a very long time, and the show will also feature Randall Bramblett who worked with the guys back in the day.

I thought they were great... but surprised to see your assessment of the Outlaws. I loved both bands, and still do. Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were probably my favorites of the genre at the time, but Outlaws (later Henry paul Band) and Marshall Tucker Band were way up there.

And thanks to you!  Really appreciate the kinds words about Toy, especially since I respect these bands so much. As did Toy. A

Thanks- very nice compliment!  Abbie

ok this is the first time i ever did anything like this but i must say i have loved MTB since i was a teenager think toy was one of the greatest guatar players ever think in all of southern rock the MTB stands above most if not all the CDB and lynard skynard included

ok this is the first time i ever did anything like this but i must say i have loved MTB since i was a teenager think toy was one of the greatest guatar players ever think in all of southern rock the MTB stands above most if not all the CDB and lynard skynard included

wow- so glad to see people discussing charlie daniels here i wanated to say something earlier but didnt want to steal the marshall tucker thread love the way they all contributed to each others recordings i just scored a used copy of toys solo cd for 5.99 in greenwich village and its great (had live bootleg previously) naturally charlies on there playing some fiddle as well as some vocals by greg then recently i bought a big lot of cd's and i got charlies "blues hat" in there- one i hadnt been previously familiar with theres a great early recording of cdb on www.sugarmegs.org from around 73 i think just when uneasy rider was new it has hendrix bass player with them
Abbie, in a previous comment you mentioned you're working on a website in tribute of Toy. I recently came across www.toycaldwell.com and wondered if that was the site you were referring to. It seems to have been there for a while? On the main page it lists the lyrics to a song fortoy by George and Scott Miller. Would you know if Scott Miller is by chance the talented songwriter from VA whose backing band is called the Commonwealth? Since a few people have noted in this discussion and elsewhere that the MTB should be in the rock Hall of Fame, are you thinking of using the website to push that idea? Please update us on the website when you can. Thanks.
Thanks Abbie.. when at the NYstate fair my friend and I jumped the 3 fences into the backstage area to see what was going on the night MTB was at the big grandstand in the daytime. Seeing CDB there two night before, i knew where they stars would be. But i stuck my head inside this one bldg and saw a bunch of gtrs and a roadcrew man. Hey said "HEY BOY!!!" what are doing ? I said lookin around.... he said back to me do you play guitar? i said yeah... He said good come in here and help me tune these- were running a lil behind today. So guess who got to tune McCorkle's red/orange strat? I was thrilled!!! And he wanted to give us passes, but we rode the school bus down and would have got our butts kicked by our chaperones and parents if we didnt return home on that bus. So never got to see the show either, but thats my memory for the MTB on the 85 Dedicated tour.... and you are correct CDB is quite the genuine role model American.... cheers DM3
It was great to run across this blog. And it's equally great to see so many people who have respect for this kind of music. I personally was/am a fan of most all quote-unquote southern rock music, with a reserved space for Skynyrd and MTB as my favorites. Any of the early MTB recordings reveal a raw and passionate talent that only happens when a group of guys are all in tune to each other and the song. Toy and George wrote songs from the heart and performed them from the heart. Country, blues, rock?..., you bet! I'd have to agree they'd fit into the Americana scene. Just real music, from real good people. I was a personal friend of George McCorkle here in Nashville. We even did a few shows together. I have his signature Copley goldtop (Honey#2) on the wall behind me. He shared many stories with me and always praised Toy's talent and that of the other guys as well. We talked about songwriting at great length as that is what we were both doing at the time (pub deals). George used to tell me you have to get out of the way and let the song come. He wanted to write songs that were real. I'd have to say that Lynyrd Skynyrd was probably my overall favorite. I loved the way Ronnie wrote a song and could snarl emotion. You don't do that without truly feeling what you're writing or singing. That's what I look for on the Americana scene. I want it to be obvious to me that who I'm listening to has a well of feeling and emotion they're trying to unleash. However..., with the Skynyrd secret out of the bag...., after finally maturing musically a bit and hopefully some intellectually...., I'd have to say MTB probably did as much for the southern rock genre as anyone. In my opinion, their versatility was unparalleled. George I think was one of the hardest working rhythm players I've ever seen. He was a sustainer of the groove, down there where the belly of the song lies !! Toy was a great lead player, absolutely genuine. But lead players don't get to be that great without an awesome supporting cast. These guys really dialed in on how to make it happen. That's about as Americana as you can get if you don't mind another opinion. Thanks for giving my mind a place to "ramble". And thanks for giving me the oppurtunity to reflect back on my ol' pal George. We sure do miss him. Later, Lyman
Charlie is one of my favorite people in the world, and has been since the 70's You cannot beat him , and more like family to me. Toy and he were as close as brothers could be. Actually never realized Charlie was older than Toy until years ago. I do remember when Charlie opened for MTB in the 70's. And I know that Toy was the only musician to play at Charlie's volunteer jams, consecutively, until Toy's death--I believe 17 jams. This does not really answer your question, but what a wonderful soul Charlie is. I love him dearly. I'm also very fond of ABB. All these guys were such great friends of Toy's. and he thought so much of both these bands--as musicians, most importantly friends. In my opinion, both bands were individuals...still are. And fantastic.
I like most of the bands mentioned here but i still prefer old CDB. I consider anything after full moon (1980) new stuff. Saddle Tramp, Nightrider, and the longer jams are as good if not better than the Allmann's ....Who came first ? Who copied who ? CD was doing studio work for quite a while with Dylan and nashville gigs in the prettty early 70's.....
Yes, I am aware of this site because George asked if I wanted to take part. I believe this was 2 hall of fames ago. It originally was dedicated only to the original members. Last I checked it has become quite large with many links. I did enjoy being involved with Bruce Wall. From what I understand there is a panel that nominates groups, that's more for the legal dept. I'll pass this along to my friend and attorney in Nashville. Thanks..
Also, lots of neat info on the Origina MTB webite, sn the petition for them to be in R%R Hall Of Fame http://www.originalmarshalltucker.com/MTB2009/
Charlie Daniels kept alive Toy's only solo album after he left the group, You can get it on the current MTB site, it is called , "Son Of The South", Here is the url for it http://marshalltucker.com/i-361689-toy-caldwell-son-of-the-south.html
Abbie, Very glad to hear your thoughts and hope you'll continue adding more when so inclined. Meanwhile, once that website is functional, please let us know the address. Your comments led me on line a few nights ago and I found a site where there had been a petition to sign in effort to get the MTB into the HOF. Are you aware of any current efforts, that's a petition I'd enjoy signing. Maybe that's something for your new site?
I agree the original MTB should be in the R&R Hall of Fame. Thanks Jack for bringing attention to these guys of the 70's! Also, wanted to let you know- there is a website being constructed in memory of Toy, that I am a part of. Thank you very much- you and all the fans, and anyone else that may be interested. I appreciate it very much. Abbie
Thanks for the chuckle...usually my idle thoughts lead to my wife propelling them into a to do list.
Well, Jack, you've certainly done your part in trying to change that. 60+ responses and still going. Not too shabby.
Very well put, Rick. They should be in the rock HOF based purely on their strengths, they don't need the help of rationalizing their worth given non-rock members already inducted as justifying their admission.

Have seen subsequent lineups a few times; they were fine as far as cover bands go, which even with Doug on vocals is what I'd call them. The original songs tower over later material, and however good as have been replacement players, none could touch the original guys, individually or as a band. The later material may be competent but it would not float on its own without the imprimatur of the MTB name. I don't think Doug is diluting the reputation of their vintage work, though by Abbie Caldwell's comments he's apparently forgotten some of these distinctions and who did what way back when.
When the Caldwell Brothers were alive the Marshall Tucker band was the lynch pin of country rock. They were the greatest. However since the departure of Toy Caldwell the pieces of MTB didn't equal the sun of it's parts. To answer your question in the 70's the Marshall Tucker Band was a great country blues rock worthy of the rock and roll hall of fame and a guilty pleasure when parts of MTB tried to re-create them after the Caldwelll Brothers.
Was traveling on business by car yesterday and listened to Together Forever on the way out, and Tenth on the way back. Both sounded fresh. Great songwriting with excellent arrangements exceptionally well played. Were these new releases today, I have to believe they'd be widely praised on this website, which gets me back to my original surprise that MTB is seldom referred to here.
I agree, MTB was a totally unique band, I miss them, fortunately, I can still listen to them, The only band where i made friends with a guitarist, George McCorkle,"nicest guy in world" and knew a recording engneer of theirs.
Not heartbreaking for me. I was shocked and stunned-then mad. Toy wished them all well, and I had not seen any of them until Toy's funeral. Doug needs " to man up" and stop the lying. This did not have to happen, they could not win, but they tried. Never thinking about Toy's family -only themselves. A lot of stress added to the saddest time in my life. I had good friends in TN that helped me through it. Also, did a lot of praying to help me stay strong.
That had to have been heartbreaking. Ego mixed with pride and greed is a strong mix. None of it changes the lasting magic that band had.
Yes it is a great feeling. If you check on YouTube my account, I always sign my name, but it is set up as mygoshwhat, you can read where I finally in print explain my lack of loyalty or respect for the original members, with the exception of George. I have no idea why I tip toed around this fact for so many years. Abbie
George was a really talented rhythm player and songwriter. In many other bands he could have been the main songwriter. Saw MTB three times 1979-81 and the last time they had BB King opening for them. I believe Tenth was the new record. They must have been in disbelief and awe that he was their opening act. Talk about a great twin bill. It must be quite a feeling when you hear Can't You See and all the others on the radio. That's a rich family history!
George and I remained friends until his death. He was my oldest and dearest friend. A true friend to both me and Toy. He was the only one that stayed in contact with me.
Abbie, are you still in touch with Paul Riddle and Jerry Eubanks, and if so would you be comfortable sharing what they are up to these days? Paul's drumming always struck me as being distinctive, you could pick his work out of a crowd. Is he still playing and/or teaching?
These are all songs released in the 70's. -with a new name now.
Steve, the original MTB records all came out on CD, and I think some have since been remastered and reissued with bonus tracks. I bought most on CD and will get to the rest. The music still sounds fresh and not at all dated. No one sounded like them back in the day, and no one sounds like them now.
"Stompin' Room Only" is a very nice collection of live cuts, great sound quality too!! JIm
Big thanks for starting this conversation, Jack, and thanks to those who recommended "Stompin' Room Only". In mid-70's I worked in a remote part of New South Wales and the only radio station announced river heights and stock (sheep and cattle) prices for much of the day. My only music came from a battery-operated cassette player lying next to me on the bench seat of the car. I had a handful of cassettes, including Little Feat's "Feat's Don't Fail Me Now", the first two albums by the Amazing Rhythm Aces ('Too Stuffed to Jump" and "Full House"), and MTB's "Long Hard Ride". I knew every note of every song on those albums and have long since replaced the Feats and ARA cassettes with vinyl, then CD. For some reason, I never caught up with MTB's other albums, or replaced my copy of "Long Hard Ride". Mistake. I have just downloaded "Stompin' Room Only" from eMusic, and it's brilliant.
When I put on a track of one of their 70s recordings, I still get thrills, They had a real run of Great albums in the 70s, loved that double gray album that was half live. Wish there was more available live MTB, The recent Shout release of them playing at the Fillmore West, just recording wise, I did not think that good. Love "Stompin Grounds", one of shouts better efforts. Maybe, I will check out archives.org and see if there is anything there Jim
Wow, I just saw this as I'm trying to get out of here for Gram National Boston. "During high school in the mid-late 70's, aside from the Allmans and Little Feat, was never much into southern rock of that era." I couldn't agree more. Frankly, besides those two mentioned, I strongly dislike "southern rock" to this day. Except for the Marshall Tucker Band, who always had that something special. So much so that I don't even put them in the same category, they may be one of the only bands that fit the despised label "country rock."
Abbie, I hope you'll continue participating in this discussion and that you'll take the conversation wherever you feel appropriate. I think the old MTB deserves a lot more attention than it gets, on this site and in general, and this site might be an ideal place to give Toy and the band that voice. Meanwhile, it's been great hearing from you! Thanks!
Agree with you completely. Also, tough to sustain without the original members.
I agree. The MTB died along with Tommy Caldwell. That is my opinion. They had a great run in the 70's and while with Capricorn.
Doug gives praise when it benefits him. He and I both know what I am talking about. I won't stoop to his level. I will give Toy a voice.
Toy sang many leads. Doug did have a great voice in the 70's.

Toy sang IN MY OWN WAY
THIS OL COWBOY ALSO, EVERYDAY I HAVE THE BLUES.AND MORE When they started touring so much, Toy's voice became hoarse and Doug as well as Tommy sang.
...I'm tired but these come to mind right now. When he went out on his own he sang all of them.
Toy had the pipes too...he did sing more than just Can't you See, Save My Soul on Tenth comes to mind...
I've seen MTB live a few times on the county fair circuit where it was just Doug and Jerry of the original lineup with other musicians and once or twice where it was just Doug and a current lineup. They sounded okay - they had exceptional material to work with - and they honored the past nicely, but it just wasn't the same, how could it be? They do still put out records I believe, though I've not bought any. It's been a few years since I've seen them and as I recall, the new material wasn't bad, it just wasn't compelling like the old music. The few times I saw the later lineups Doug did give generous praise to Toy and the original lineup for such great music, as he should. And yeah, what pipes he has; great tone and feel. His vocals were a big highlight.
Absolutely Jack.

I always liked Doug Gray's vocals -- that's what hooked me on "Take the Highway," "Can't You See," and "Ramblin'." Smooth and dynamic. At that time Jethro Tull was hot and had introduced rock with a flute. Hearing a southern rock band with a flute was quite original and daring. They had such drive and the music was dramatic and solid. I have faith. Maybe they will just pull off another great Marshall Tucker album. If Tom Jones can make a comeback like he has, Tucker can find some inspiration....or at least some adrenlin.
Thought the vintage lineup had a remarkable 15 year run with several creative peaks, which is longer than most, but yeah, tough to sustain. Sing My Blues was on Tenth, which I thought was the last record that was excellent start to finish. Later records like Dedicated and Just Us contained bursts of former songwriting greatness, just not the consistency. Tuckerized was was all covers and not especially interesting, especially in contrast to Toy's or George's songwriting. Greetings From South Carolina seemed uninspired. No matter what, though, you could never fault their musicianship and the singing, and were they ever dynamite live. They never came off the rails like Chicago did.
When the Marshall Tucker Band first appeared I heard one of the most marvelous tracks: "Take the Highway." Great arrangement, driving melody & vocal. Once I bought the album I found "Can't You See," & others followed like "Heard It In A Love Song". This was great southern rock. The Allmans never ignited with my ears. Blackfoot did sometimes ("Spendin Cabbage"). MTB's 2nd album was equally interesting & then there was a track on a later LP called "Sing My Blues" which just burned. Now the sad part. As time went by I felt the creativity level waned. Songs weren't as sharp, playing not as challenging, the melodies not as memorable. I guess they simply became uninspired. But because I enjoyed them -- I never gave up listening. Or maybe I got older and my tastes changed. Maybe they suffered from the same fate the band Chicago had. Chicago went from a powerhouse rock-jazz brass band with brilliant arrangements and melodies to a wimpy middle of the road syrupy sweet mess. OK...maybe no one can keep up the creativity level after so many years. But I certainly hope the Marshall Tucker Band squeek out one more "Take the Highway" style track before they fold up the tent. They are excellent and always deserved a wider following. I still consider them with high regard.
Please call me Abbie. Looks like I never left! I'm concerned about all this wrong information and am in the process of correcting it. Toy and Tommy need a voice, I intend to give them one. Thank you for caring about the truth! You have not heard the last of me, need a little more time. Sincerely, Ab
If you went to Spartan High, then yes I do remember you. Great to hear from you. Abbie
Abbie, don't know if you remember me or if you ever knew my full name. It's good to see your comments here. I still communicate with Moon and a few others in Spartanburg. Hope you are well. Tommy
I'm happy you enjoyed the band. This site is amazing, it will take me awhile to read all the topics. No matter the band, it is obvious this is a site with class and intelligent comments. Much needed! I appreciate all comments, they have brought back so many wonderful memories. Abbie
Thanks for all these comments. I am overwhelmed. Toy loved playing, and he loved and respected the fans. This means so much to me. He is not forgotten..and really did touch many. Heartfelt thanks.
I think they were a big deal! Could be I'm biased.
Abbie, I'm sure you've heard many times over the years how great Toy was as a singer, guitarist and songwriter and how great the band was as a whole. I am very glad you somehow found this particular discussion and had the chance to read of people's respect and admiration for your husband and the band. They were magic. If you have a minute to search through this website you'll find a blog by Adam Smith about this year's nominees for the rock n roll hall of fame and several suggestions that MTB should be in there. What real value that has doesn't much matter, but they deserve that kind of recognition. You'll also find a discussion of the best slide plaers and mention there of Toy, and another discussion of great but under-heralded guitarists where Toy was mentioned. He was one of the all time greats and is sorely missed.
i was abig fan of all the southern rock bands and still am- a couple very much more obscure bands i really liked were the winters brothers band (not johnny and edgar) 1 great lp only produced by charlie daniels and some fiddle by him as well and goose creek symphony- more of an electric bluegrass band than southern rock both bands may still be performing in some form oh and not so obscure but also great was atlanta rythym section
thank you for replying ms caldwell its very exciting to get this info on your family ive been a big fan since the beginning
Wait, Was that Toy Caldwell's widow who replied on the thread? Mam, Welcome back anytime, I was an Acquaintance of George McCorkle after the original band broke up, real nice guy, would give me info for reviews and interviews JIm
Enjoyed reading the comments. Nice site. Toy did play slide guitar for awhile, late 60's and early 70's. Many great bands came out of the south during the 70's, and many are still going strong. I haven't read all comments, although for the sake of accuracy since I read so many comments that are not true. Toy went into the Marines the day after he graduated in 1966. The original line up was Toy and Tommy, George McCorkle, Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks, Paul Riddle. We were married in 1969, after his service in VN. George was home from the Navy I believe shortly before Toy returned., Tommy was in the Marines, during 1970, he completed boot camp, and received a medical discharge.
I listen to the releases of the 70's often, this band was great during those years! I ran across your site, and will visit it again. Very interesting. A. Caldwell
"Ladies ans Gentlemen, From Spartanburg , N C, Capricorn Recording Artists , The Marshall Tucker Band-----, bring back any memories? Once, I saw them in a Concert hall with an old fashioned country band opening for them, pedal steel, the whole works. They played about 15 minutes and the crowd got angry, Quickest set turnover, I ever saw, In ten minutes, you were listening to MTB playing "Long, Hard Ride"
Jim, just to correct a slight misstatement regarding Tommy's death in a motorcycle accident. His death was due to his Jeep-type vehicle overturning as he tried to avoid an errant driver on S.Church St. in Spartanburg.
The One Thing I am Happy about is the releasing of DVD's with the Original Lineup. Like a Trip Back into Time.
The references to their early records and songs got me to thinking about the later efforts of the original lineup. Runnin' Like the Wind was not particularly strong, but the title track was a great tune and My Best Friend was a standout as well. Tenth was a fine record. Simpler arrangements maybe than previous records, but good songs all the way through. Toy seemed to pick his spots on vocals and he sounded great on Save my Soul. Saw them live a few times around the time of this record and Dedicated, and this material sounded like it belonged with their past efforts. Dedicated wasn't among their strongest records, but Silverado was another great George McCorkle tune that I would guess the current lineup would still play. Just Us had good songs, most notably 8:05 and Long Island Lady. Doug's singing was always one of the highlights of this band for me, and I don't think he ever sounded better on record. The original lineup made compelling music. What a band.
Love 'em too! Engaged to be Divorced. Cold Ice Water "and hot caffeine...she pours my coffee and she grinds my beans." A little humor makes any music mo' betta, in my book.
Being a former resident of Spartanburg and being acquainted and friendly with the band and crew, I often thought that MTB was given short shrift in most of the music press of the time. They were an impressive example of the melding of their individual influences. I agree with other posts citing the first album as favorite. One of my favorite songs from that album is "Ab's Song". Just Toy, singing a heartfelt song for his wife Abbie. Poignant and provocative.
I was thinking some more about Toy and what a great gutarist and songwriter and singer he was. Remember seeing him one time, just standing there with his thumb flying across the strings, They had their own sound , I loved it when Toy would go into "This Ole Cowboy", what a great song, then start playing that long, sweet jazzy solo. Jim
I have to agree with my brother on this one. From top to bottom, the self-titled album is their best. And when Toy breaks into the chorus for "Losing You," it gives me goose bumps.
I co host an Americana music radio show and we like to mix in alot of "classic" americana in with new stuff, including MTB, Allman Brothers, Little Feat, CCR, Tom Petty etc. Favorite MTB album is The Marshall Tucker Band. Top tracks for me are Take The Highway and Ramblin'. I agree with one of the earlier posts, Ramble Tamble by CCR is a great jam. Heard it on the radio several weeks back and it gave me one of those "oh wow" moments. Craig mentioned he likes Americana because of the many different styles of music that are represented which is a big reason I enjoy it so much. It kind of reminds me of what AOR radio used to be. One newer band we really like is Barefoot Truth from Mystic, CT. Check out their new album "Threads". They can move easily between styles and they do it well.
True enough. T for Texas, right? Thought that was the closest they came to sounding like the Allman Brothers. They also covered Merle Haggard (Honky Tonk Night Time Man on Street Survivors). I believe Ronnie was a big Hank fan, too. They were country informed for sure, but to me, some of the others were more obviously country, as least to my Yankee ears (for example, Knoxville Girl, South Carolina and Girl from Ohio by the Outlaws, Long Haired Country Boy and Willie Jones by CDB, Heard it in a Love Song and Fire on the Mountain by MTB).
I have heard Truth and Salvage Co. and I have been a fan of Great American Taxi for quite some time. They are headed by Leftover Salmon frontman Vince Herman and their new album Reckless Habits is produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth.
Of course, Skynyrd did cover Jimmie Rodgers also.
The are three new Bands that have been getting a lot of Air Play at my house and I hope more people can get an opportunity too give them a listen. They are Truth and Salvage Co. that was produced by Chris Robinson and they are on tour with the Black Crowes. The other two are Great American Taxi and Blackberry Smoke. Three different sounds but are sure too please any Southern Rock fan.
For fans of Southern Rock here is a band that has come across my radar, they are Powder Mill. Their sound is very reminiscent of Black Oak Arkansas and Molly Hatchet. You can read about and see videos promoting their new album Money, Marbles, And Chalk here.
There was an earlier blog entry for the 10 greatest slide guitar players. One of the added comments identified Mr. Caldwell. I guess the closest the Allmans come to country music was on some of the Dicky Betts tunes like Blue Sky and Rambling Man. But even these songs aren't blatantly country. Similarly, I can't really think of a blatantly country song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even their song Country Boy reminds me more of the British band Free than country music. I think a good number of songs by MTB, CDB and Outlaws w/Henry Paul had a more obvious country sound.
There are lots of bands that I find missing here. MTB, I eally didn't expect to find, but was happy to see that a lot of folk appreciated them but as I said before, they were a lot more country on their studio CDs than say, The Allmans. These guys were all friends and jammed together alot when they had a show together. Charlie Daniels had his volunter jam where, MTB, The Outlaws, Skynrd, and most anyone had an open invite to that. What I would like to know is who was talking about Toy Caldwell being one of the best slide guitarists? He never played slide on guitar. He did play some pedal steel on their albums and shows, but no slide.
Just a little foot note/correction to an earlier post. Tommy Caldwell died from injuries suffered from a wreck where his Jeep over turned. The Marshall Tucker Band was proof that there were many different styles in the Southern Rock Genre. This group went from the Mighty Allman Brothers who incorporated a lot of the Miles / Coltrane era of Jazz into their music. Lynyrd Skynyrd was influenced by the British groups of the Sixties, to the Muscle Shoals R&B influence on Wet Willie. Those who say/said that Southern Rock was just a bunch of Long Haired Red Necks were mostly just displaying their Prejuidice against any thing Southern. That is one thing that attracts me to Americana Music today. There are so many styles incorporated into this that anyone can find something they like and discover other styles. Music, like in life just requires you to have an Open Mind and Ears.
Actors in the White House. How prophetic! Can you say Ronnie the Popular? Great, great song. Love that slow burn jam. Other favorite jammers are the full Heard it Through the Grapevine and Suzie Q, plus Pagan Baby (that one sends me to the moon) , Keep on Chooglin' and Effigy. Excellent point on The Blasters. Funny thing is that I never even heard of them until I subscribed to No Depression in the early oughts. I know I would have loved them back in their time as I was into such acts as the early George Thorogood, Robert Gordon, Dave Edmunds, Rockpile, etc. I guess I get to love them now.
Interesting how some bands just propel you in a different direction. Gateway drugs, eh, eh. During my high school years, Marshall Tucker and Gordon Lightfoot got me going in different directions. CCR came later (for a band largely playing 3 minute songs, was not Ramble Tamble just a dynamite jam? Listening to that tune as an adult and Fogerty's concise litany of annoyances and burdens with just the right touch of frustration/annoyance in his delivery all seems more personal). Los Lobos is a long time favorite, right up there on my short list, if I had one. But the band that sent me flying in multiple directions was the Blasters...R & B, rockabilly, country blues, old time rock...which by natural progression meant Dave Alvin's solo spectacular solo career. That LA music scene in the mid to late 70's must have been something else, as it produced Los Lobos, The Blasters and X, among others, all three being very influential on the roots scene then and now.
CCR seems like just about the ideal place to start, as I don't think any rock and roll band covered the roots music bases as thoroughly as they did. Some honorable mentions: Little Feat, The Band, Los Lobos (with Mexican roots music thrown in as a bonus ), John Hiatt. Heard a lot about Doug Sahm, but not as familiar with him.
I had the same experience in a way. It began with CCR for me, then people like Mellencamp and Petty, Skynyrd was always a favorite of course, but eventually I dived in to some of the masters that inspired those acts.
This discussion inspired me to put on the first disc of the MTB anthology as I did an elliptical workout. Once again, Can't You See took my breath away. Literally, this time. Hard to attempt a Toy Caldwell vocal and do a cardio workout at the same time. No problem with the air flute, though. Also, extended the workout so that I could hear I'll Be Loving You all the way through. Great stuff.
It surprises me, too. When I think about what first drew me to American roots music, the great Southern Rock bands (my list: ABB, Skynyrd, MTB, Outlaws, CDB) come immediately to mind. I think the Allmans and George Thorogood's Rounder records are the biggest reason for me getting into the blues. I think the MTB, CDB and the Outlaws w/Henry Paul did a lot to make me realize that country music had a lot of soul. It wasn't too cool to like country music where I was from (Metro NY). Then, I got into other roots rock and rock bands such as CCR, Little Feat and The Band and eventually some of the blues/country/bluegrass masters.
Jim, no one's dissing them here, all agree the vintage lineup was a great band. My post was prompted by three things; 1) few if any mentions of MTB on this site, 2) in the discussion of greatest slide players, someone else suggesting Toy as a great slide player (was surprised to see his name at all, proper context or not), and 3) in the flat out great songs discussion, someone actually listed Wichita Lineman as a guilty pleasure! If an all time classic Jimmy Webb tune could be considered a guilty pleasure, then pretty much anyone else could too. No, I was not suggesting at all that MTB was a guilty pleasure, but I was grasping at straws wondering why on a site so attuned to country rock why their profile was low to non-existent. I would have thought that those in their late 40's and early 50's and beyond on this site would point to them as being a great roots act and that younger people would have found them like they have other bands of that era. None of the many musicians on this site seem to refer to them. It all just surprises me, that's all.
GUILTY PLEASURE???, you just woke a sleeping giant when I see people dissing the MTB, I knew George McCorkle personally and one of their recording engineers. Toy Caldwell, one of greatest slide guitar players? He never played slide guitar. Toy was one of the most underated guitarists of the 70s. He would usually play one song on pedal steel during their shows. "Can't You See", one of the best southern rock songs ever. Here is probably why they were not as popular as their peers, Their studio albums had a country sound to them. Dicky Betts made a country album, but that is just one record. Anyone who attended a Tucker show, would see lots of guys in cowboy hats, they had a lot of rednecks for fans. The best Southern rock show that I ever saw was The Charlie Daniels Band and Marshall Tucker. First time I ever saw The CDB. They blew me away, They played the whole album "Saddle Tramp" along with their hits "Long Haired Country Boy", and "The South's Gonna Do it again. The Original Marshall Tucker Band only lasted 10 albums. Tommy Caldwell had died in a motorcycle accident, Toy had quit the group to start his own group. Their best CD to listen to is "Stompin Room Only" ,all live. They just released another live album "Out West", but they did not do a very good job with the mastering and restoration. They have a live DVD from 77 with CDS that is classic, great sound. No, They don't belong here.
Great country/blues rock. I am in no way ashamed of my fondness for MTB. Not many bands of that era , most certainly not country/rock bands, featured a flute and sax. George McCorkle was a great rhythm player. Paul Riddle a great drummer. And Toy Caldwell is one of my favorite guitar players.........ever. Pick up a release of live stuff from the mid 70's called "Stompin' Room Only". It'll convert any doubters. I think it's a travesty they haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I'll Be Loving You is phenomenal. First song off that album, as I remember (Maybe not. Too lazy to look it up.) Think I might have gotten that one off the budget rack in the late 70's. I saw Molly Hatchet twice as well. Both times opening for the Outlaws. First show was in 1978. I had never heard of them. Needlessly to say, nobody was yelling at them to get off the stage. I wouldn't say that they blew the Outlaws off the stage, as they were great as well. Still, they were surprisingly good. I think the Allmans are numero uno on the Southern Rock list. Their influence on some of the other great southern bands are obvious. I think of them as on their own level. In my mind, I never put Little Feat in the Southern Rock category, not that it matters. Maybe because they covered so much ground musically. One of my all time favorite bands. Probably top ten. Waiting For Columbus might be my favorite live album, even after all these years. I think the first two Charlie Daniels Band albums (Fire on the Mountain and Nightrider) are classic Southern Rock albums. Significant drop off after that.
The live version (especially) of 24 Hours At A Time is amazing. Another personal favorite is I'll Be Loving You off Together Forever; succinct lyrics at the beginning and end with a great, great guitars/bass/drums blast in the middle. Toy was a major highlight but not the only; Doug's singing, Paul Riddle's drumming, the horns, it all worked. The list of their best tunes would be a long one and not just those that made the radio. .38 Special was Toto or Survivor with a hint of southern like sounds thrown in. In fact, Jim Peterik, who wrote Vehicle for the Ides of March, wrote or co-wrote some (most?) of the big hits for .38 Special and later did the same for Survivor, which seems symmetrical in that .38 and Survivor were both basic, slick, formulaic pop. Yeah, the first two Molly Hatchet records were fun, and they were fun live too; saw them twice around 1979-80 and still enjoy hearing them on the radio every once in a while. Still think that the Allmans, Little Feat and MTB were the top of the 70's southern rock heap.
Ah, 24 Hours at a Time is certainly a great one. I'm also very partial to This Ol' Cowboy. And Can't You See still takes me breathe away. .38 Special never appealed to me, at least what got played on the radio. I remember thinking something to the affect of "Southern Rock? Are you kidding me? Why, just because Ronnie Van Zant's brother's in the band?" I always liked Lynyrd Skynyrd (the Ronnie Van Zant-led Skynyrd, that is. One of my all time favortie front men.), but didn't really have them in my personal pantheon until shortly after getting the Drive By Truckers Southern Rock Opera album, which I got soon after reading about DBT in their first ND article. With a little help from Patterson Hood, I started to realize just how great and well crafted so many of their SONGS were. But as Mr. Hood aptly put it in Life in the Factory, it's a "sad story when legend overshadows the songs and the band." Thought the first two Molly Hatchett albums were a lot of fun. Lost interest in them after Danny Joe Brown left. Beating the Odds just didn't do it for me. Recently, I actually listened to the lyrics of Flirtin' With Disaster and was surprised how thoughtful they were. I guess I never paid much attention to their lyrics back then. Was more about the blazing and endless guitar solos and Danny Joe's growl.
MTB's '24 Hours At A Time' - a guilty pleasure certainly not.... The Outlaws - 'Green Grass & High Tides' - ditto above
I was and still am a big Southern rock fan. Thought the Marshall Tucker Band was great. Toy Caldwell is the one who typically garners the most praise (deservingly so), but I also loved Doug Gray's vocal. Rambin' comes to mind. I thought the Outlaws first three albums were great. Just bought them all again recently. Once they lost Henry Paul and then Billy Jones, I would agree that they started to sound like a more generic rock band and not very "Southern." They seemed to lose the country part of their sound almost completely. Still think Green Grass and High Tides is one of the most ferocious rock and roll songs I've ever heard. Eagles couldn't touch that one.
Until Toy Caldwell was mentioned yesterday in the current discussion of greatest slide players, I could not recall a single MTB reference in any past discussion, not that I've seen every post and comment. Since other bands of that era are mentioned on the ND site, and because I always considered MTB to be several cuts above most of their '70's peers, their lack of mentions on the ND site surprises me a bit. I can't see them being off in guilty pleasure territory either, but I am curious as to how people active on this site see their vintage records. My thought is that had this site or the magazine been around during the 70's, MTB would have been featured pretty well, no?
I love the Allmans, Little Feat, Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and many of the Southern rock bands of the era. The Outlaws were a great bar band with a few good albums. And as for the Marshall Tucker Band, how can any group with Toy Caldwell in the lineup be a guilty pleasure?