Posted on 01.12.2018

Tucker - Soapbox Rewind

*NOTE* Charlie is vacationing in Colorado and taking some time off from the soapbox, he's going to one a week for now, and maybe for the foreseeable future. Unless anyone wants to talk him into sticking with two a week. In the meantime, here's one from 2012. - TeamCDB

The other morning I was listening to some vintage Marshall Tucker and it dawned on me all over again just what a great band they were.

This combination of musicians, their individual talents and contributions, made the MTB one of the most unique, energetic, inventive and fun to listen to bands to ever come down the pike.

You could pick Toy Caldwell's guitar sound and style out of a hundred different players all playing the same tune. Toy played with no picks and could move his thumb at a blurring speed, the thick sounding notes spilling out of his overloaded amplifier in wild profusion, overpowering and awesome.

You couldn't put a label on Toy's style. He covered it all from country to jazz and did it in his very own way.

He could also put a hurting on a pedal steel guitar.

The rhythm section stayed stretched to the limit and pedal to the metal and you'd think Paul Riddle's drum set was going to fly apart at any second with Tommy Caldwell's thumb-powered bass licks breathing down his neck like a runaway turbo diesel engine.

I don't think the general public ever realized what a huge part of the Tucker sound George McCorkle's driving electric rhythm guitar was. George played with total abandon, string busting, pick breaking, straight ahead, always pushing, filling his corner of the rhythm section with open chord energy and together they were just plain old dynamite.

Not sure how many people know this, but George wrote the song "Fire On The Mountain" when he learned that The CDB was working on an album of that name with the hope of it being the title track, but the album was already finished at that point, so Tucker recorded it and it became one of their biggest hits.

And over the top of this bone-crunching juggernaut, Jerry Eubank's flute floated like a fresh breeze, a nice surprise, a unique counterpoint, signature riffs, now following, now leading, standing out, blending in.

I have always considered Doug Gray to be the best all-around singer in any of the southern bands. Doug could belt out a rocker, express a tender ballad and put country feeling in a country song. He had range and quality and put his all into every note.

In the seventies, CDB traveled constantly with Tucker and we'd end the show with both bands on stage doing what Toy called a "Watermelon Jam", and I wish we could have recorded them because they were really special.

Toy, Tommy and George are all gone now but they left a legacy of sound and energy that will stand the test of time and a hundred years from now will still be uniquely Marshall Tucker.

Toy's wife, Abbie, gave me one of Toy's Gibson 335 guitars and it's one of my most treasured possessions. I've played it, but I could never make it sound the way Toy made it sound.

But then, nobody else could either.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, and for our country.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels


Feel free to comment on Charlie's soapboxes, but please refrain from profanity and anonymous posts are not allowed, we need a name and you MUST provide a valid email address. If you provide an email address, but leave the name as "Anonymous" we will pick a name for you based on your email address. No one other than website administrators will see your email address, not other posters. If you post without a valid email address, your comment (whether positive or negative) will be deleted. — TeamCDB


Charlie, been listening to some old '72 MTB live Way out West and couldnt agree more. So powerful and unique. My first s.rock show was June '77 MTB at Saratoga, NY PAC. Met some of them after show. Priceless! Enjoy your rest and take care.
Posted by Tim
God Bless Spartanburg
No city like it.
Posted by dana
Every other LP
I remember liking every other Marshall Tucker LP. They would release one I liked, then one I didn't, then another I liked, for years. On another note, Here is a great song from Ray Stevens about Election Fraud:
Posted by Allan
Volunteer jams watching Charlie and Toy memories I'll never forget rest in peace my friend
Posted by Dave
Marshal Tucker Band
One of my all time favorite bands. Them and Charlie were two concerts I never missed. Wish they would come play at Charlie’s benefit concert for the Angelus Home.
Posted by Richard
Toy's 335
Is that guitar white? If so, I saw him play it, or one like it, in the early 80s at Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth.
Posted by Gary
Mr.Daniels, Toy Caldwell was my Uncle. Abbie was my dad’s little sister. His name was Fred. He was Toys bother in law. I just want to thank you for your kind words. You have always been a great friend to the Caldwell family. I met you once when I was nine. You bought me a Coke. I still have the glass it came in. God bless you and your family. Sincerely, Eric Goode
Posted by Eric
Posted by Pat
keep them coming from BUTLER KENTUCKY ,,,,,,,,CDB
Posted by marty
MTB Flute
I've loved that MTB sound since high school (1970's). I do remember being confused by the Fire on the Mountian Album vs. Song. Figured it out eventually. But now, as an almost "senior citizen," there's something about the sound that awesome flute that helps me relax and sleep well. A Pandora MTB mix gives me some Heard it in a Love Song, some CDB, and a few other country fried rock favorites. Rest well, my friends.
Posted by David
I can’t count the times I saw both bands both together and individually. I was blessed to meet George McCorkle. He was such a down to earth and kind person. I would not trade a day for the hours I enjoyed both bands in person or listening and singing along. Each song takes me back to a memory of good times shared.
Posted by Peggy
If your still in Colorado, feel free to stop for a visit! E-mail me and I will give you directions...we are in Littleton Colorado.
Posted by Joan
I couldn't agree with you more, Charlie!!! I just got tickets for myself, my wife and just turned 21 year old daughter (violin player) to see you guys at the Nugget in Sparks, NV. Sooo looking forward to the music. Love, Bill Marschak
Posted by WILLIAM
GOD and guns
Your not alone my friend. If Obama and hollywood had their way we would just write nasty notes to the people trying to kill the USA
Posted by Scott
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie they were an amazing group with a uniqueness of their own that will be forever copied but never as good as the original. One has to wonder why all of the Caldwell boys died so young,but thankful for what they did in the short time they were here on earth. rock on, nuff said, God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
My 2 favorite bands.Have seen both many times but nothing in this world beats seeing them together.I have to say i have never had the pleasure of seeing them jam together in a Watermelon jam as Toy called it.Always knew Charlie and Marshall Tucker Band members are and where good friends and brothers after all when you hear a fiddle in a MTB song its you Charlie.Toy's style of guitar picking is want turned me on to Southern Rock.The more i listened to them the more i fell in love with Doug's voice,Jerry's flute and Sax and Paul's drumming, put on a set of headphones and it really brings out Tommy's bass and George's guitar and you will find out just how good they where. I recently bought a turn table and pulled out my old albums of Nightrider and High Lomesome they reminded me of just how good Tommy Crain was, as you said he could make a Les Paul do tricks. Never heard a guitar sound like he made it do on Funky Junky. Not to mention how great of a musician and song writer you are and how you and Tommy where so great at dueling with each other.Can i make a request for this years tour? To play Funky Junky in Tommy's memoir and Jitterbug in Taz's memoir. Once again people how do we get these 2 bands where they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Posted by David