Last of the Singing Cowboys Still Singing and Writing Songs of Inspiration and Joy
By Craig Cumberland
George McCorkle, founding member of MTB, visited with us recently and spent some time reliving the memories and bringing us up to date on what he’s been up to.
WHEN TUCKER FIRST GOT TOGETHER DID YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF THE TYPE OF MUSIC YOU WANTED TO CREATE?
No, I don't think so. I think if you tried to put a direction to that band you'd have screwed it up. It's like so many influences were thrown in a pile and stirred up. And what came out was us. We never thought of ourselves as a country band because we had steel. And we never thought of ourselves as a Jethro Tull band just because Jerry played flute. You got a steel guitar with a jazz drummer and an R & B bass player and a wild crazy man back there beatin' on his guitar with his lightening quick thumb and that's just what it came out to be.
It was just that these were the instruments that these people played - and they were put into the influence of a jazz drummer. Paul was a jazz drummer playing in a rock and roll band. He had such a unique style. I found Paul when he was about 16 years old through a friend and he came out and played some with me and that's the one thing that attracted him to me was that he played totally different than anyone else. Paul was a really, really big part of MTB's sound. You could have put a regular straight drummer with it and it wouldn't have worked. He was just a wheel on a freight train and it sure was a lot of fun.
PHIL WALDEN SAID IN THE LINER NOTES OF "THE CAPRICORN YEARS" THAT YOU GUYS DIDN'T KNOW YOU COULDN'T DO ALL THESE DIFFERENT THINGS - AND AS A RESULT YOU GUYS MADE SOME OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE MUSIC EVER...
I think he's right. We were too young and naive to know that couldn't put a flute and steel in the same song. We had no restrictions on us. In the studio it was wide open. That first record has everything from steel guitar to a melatrom on it. And Paul Hornsby was doing all this weird stuff with keyboards. It just turned out to be something really unusual.
I WAS ALWAYS GRATEFUL THAT PAUL HORNSBY DIDN'T TELL THE BAND THAT YOU COULDN'T DO THIS OR DO THAT AND JUST LET YOU GUYS GO...
I've learned a lot of things from Paul and Stewart Levine and others that it's just amazing how they just let us play - as confused as we were - and never once restricted it and let it come together.
IT WAS GREAT THAT THEY DIDN'T TELL THE BAND THEY HAD TO CUT A THREE MINUTE SONG.
No, no one ever did - we just went in the studio and cut it then handed it to them - and didn't think any more about it. But today, even in rock - there's just so many restrictions.
DID YOU EVER THINK TUCKER WOULD GET AS BIG AS IT DID?
No, never. I had no idea you could even reach that level. Especially a bunch of guys from Spartanburg. The first time I got a gold album was very much a shock to me. The first time I realized how big the band had gotten was the first time we played Madison Square Garden and played to a sold out crowd that never sat down the whole show. It was very, very unnerving as much as it was anything because I never thought out music would carry that far. As a matter of fact that was Tommy's birthday that night.
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST AUDIENCE YOU GUYS EVER PLAYED IN FRONT OF?
I think it was 150,00. I think it was us, New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Grateful Dead. The traffic was so bad. The bus was 22 miles from the show and they had to fly us in to the concert. That was Englishtown New Jersey. Actually getting in front of that many people is scary!
YOU GUYS JUST STRUCK A CHORD I THINK - AND A LOT OF PEOPLE RESPONDED TO YOUR MUSIC.
You know, I said it at the South Carolina Hall of Fame induction, that we never started out with money in mind. When we started out we were just enjoying doing what we were doing. I don't think any of us thought we could make a living at it.
MAYBE THAT'S WHY YOU GUYS WERE SO SUCCESSFUL./p>
ONE OF THE EARLY GROUPS YOU WERE IN WITH TOY, THE RANTS, WENT TO NASHVILLE AND CUT SOME SONGS. IS ANY OF THAT FLOATING AROUND SOMEWHERE.
Franklin Wilkie seems to have a better recollection of that stuff than I do. He hasn't seemed to destroy his memory! Back in the early Rant days we were playing totally different styles. We were playing some British stuff and doing a lot of our own stuff, too. Toy was always an incredible writer. He was a gift from God that's for sure.
ONE OF DOUG AND TOMMY'S EARLY BANDS, THE NEW GENERATION, CUT A SINGLE. I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT TO HAVE AN MTB BOXED SET AND INCLUDE SOME OF THOSE EARLY CUTS.
There you go - I think so too!
IN ABOUT '82 OR '83 I SAW YOU GUYS IN CONCERT AND DOUG TOLD THE AUDIENCE THAT THE BAND WAS WORKING ON A LIVE ALBUM - BUT IT NEVER CAME OUT...
It was in the can, but it never actually came out because that was about the time the band broke up. I talk to Phil Walden every now and then and he's talked about releasing it. There's still some live European recordings floating around out there. As a matter of fact someone found the original demo we did down at Capricorn. He'd like to release some of that kind of stuff.
I KNOW A LOT OF FANS TRADE LIVE TAPES - OLD RADIO SHOWS...
Yeah, it's just now starting to pick up.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE LIVE SONGS IS "SEARCHIN FOR A RAINBOW" WITH YOUR EXTENDED GUITAR SOLO...
Toy Caldwell and George McCorkle on stage, 1983 Valley Forge Music Theatre.
I never did alot of lead guitar. It was a conscious effort when we started. We decided that we weren't going to do that because the Allman's had the twin guitar thing going - and this was I think actually before Doug and Jerry was in the band. Playing lead, my ego doesn't need it that much. I'm far better a groove person. In my heart I'm a die-hard rhythm player, I like laying back there with the bass player and drummer and creating a serious groove. In my way of looking at that is it makes the lead player play harder.
AND TOY ALWAYS PLAYED HIS BUTT OFF!
We had a real conscious thing between us. We were friends for many, many years and we had an unspoken thing between us. He relied heavy on me to do what I did and I relied heavy on him to do what he did. We had some fun, buddy!
IN CONCERT DOUG WOULD REFER TO YOU AS “KG” GEORGE McCORKLE - WHERE'D THAT COME FROM, IS "K" YOUR FIRST INITIAL?
(Laughs). No... a drummer by the name of Ross Hannah, who originally played with the Rants, hung that on me. We used to play A LOT of frat parties and, I hate to say this, but he used to call me "Cool George with a K" and only my close friends ever called me that. Everybody in that band had nicknames, the road crew and everybody. I guess it's just part of that road thing. We got real bored of calling each other by our real names.
YOU WROTE A LOT OF SONGS WITH WESTERN THEMES - WAS IT SOMETHING YOU INTENTIONALLY DID?
I don't think so. I was always intrigued by story songs and it was always a challenge to write a complete story and get it in the structure of a song. I was very influenced by westerns, the early cowboys, in my childhood going to western movies. I think that's why I was influenced to write in that direction. Doug always got on me - I'm a wordy writer.
HOW'D YOU FEEL THE FRIST TIME YOU BROUGHT A SONG TO THE BAND?
“Fire on the Mountain” was the first. It wasn't really a thought out song. Me and my brother came up with the intro to it. The two of us were just playin' acoustics and that little hook line just came up from me and him sitting around playing. There's a funny story about that recording. Toy one day bought a steel guitar and all of a sudden decided he was a steel player - you gotta give that man credit, that's a complicated instrument - but he didn't know how to tune it... so it was out of tune when we recorded “Fire on the Mountain”..
AREN'T YOU GLAD IT DIDN'T WORK OUT FOR CHARLIE DANIELS?
(Laughs) Yeah, in the long run. As a matter of fact I wrote that song with him in mind. I knew he had an album by that name coming out so I’d hope top itch the song to him. He liked it, but said it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the album.
"SILVERADO" IS A GREAT STORY-SONG.
It was not a thought out song. I was riding down the road trying to come up with something for the record and Tom Dowd kept calling me wanting to know what I had. So I was riding around and looked at the dash and said there's my man right there. That was one of those ten-minute songs - once I had the idea of where I wanted to go. Sometimes it stews around in your head for a few weeks and then all of a sudden it just jumps out of your hands on to the page.
I think my whole life my biggest thing about writing songs is just being stupid and not getting out of the way of what came out. Toy was the best example of that. He always told me "don't worry about the way it flows or the way it comes out just get it down". There was a song; I think it was "Property Line", where he wrote "I leave my ax in the trees." I remember the first time I heard that I just wanted to smack him - I said, "how can you come up with such a line?" He just did it with great ability. He was a prolific writer. I've always had to work at it. In about 1978 he told me "you know, you ARE going to have to start writing more because it's killing me!"
WHEN ONE OF YOU BROUGHT A SONG TO THE BAND DID EVERBODY ADD THEIR OWN PARTS?
Yeah, someone would bring in their song and from that point on people played what they wanted to play. Everybody added their own parts. It's hard to tell a drummer or a bass player "play it like this." Because that's not what we were about.
"CAN'T YOU SEE" IS SUCH A GREAT SONG - I'VE HEARD IT DONE BY A LOT OF PEOPLE IN DIFFERNET WAYS AND IT ALWAYS WORKS. TO START OFF WITH SUCH A HIT SONG ON THE FIRST RECORD IS TOUGH, BUT THE BAND SEEMED TO BUILD MOMETNUM WITH EACH ALBUM.
That was definitely a career song for Toy. There was even a rap band that was trying to license it. I think "Can't You See" would work by any band any way. I always have thought the second album was not thought out. We didn't have time to prepare and put it in perspective. We were on the road and went straight into the studio and then back on the road again.
IT'S HAD TO BE HARD WITH ALL THE TRAVEL TRYING TO FIND CREATIVE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND WRITE A SONG AND THEN THERE'S THE PRESSURE OF THE RECORD COMPANY EXPECTING A NEW RECORD EVERY YEAR...
It's a difficult deal. You go into the studio and you have the pressure of having to come up with ten songs. You know life on the road is very unnatural.
DO YOU EVER MISS IT?
I miss the actual performing. Anyone that has ever experienced what I was fortunate enough to have experienced would have to miss it. I was very fortunate to get to experience that at one point in my life. I don’t miss living on the bus and being in different hotels but it's was just part of doing what you had to do. The actual playing is a very small part of it. When you finally did get on stage you just block the rest of the stuff out.
I THINK "A NEW LIFE" IS AN UNDERRATED ALBUM - THERE'S A LOT OF DIVERSITY ON IT.
"Southern Woman" was always a favorite of mine.
IT ALWAYS REMINDED ME OF THE SOUTHERN BELLES ON HEE HAW...
I can see we have some things in common (laughs).
"BLUE RIDGE MOUTAIN SKY" IS A GREAT SONG, TOO.
That's always been one of my favorite songs, too - that was some of Toy's most authentic writing. Some people would term it country, but it's not.
WELL WHAT IS TUCKER MUSIC?
I always have refused to put a label on it. It's just American music.
YOU WROTE SEVERAL SONGS WITH DOUG AND JERRY - WAS THAT A CONSCIOUS EFFORT?
No, that happened because we hung out together in hotel rooms during the day. I wrote some songs with Tommy. I only wrote one song with Toy - "Jimi". That was a lick I came up with that we played in the dressing room, then Toy added a few other things to it and we cut it.
"JIMI" WAS IN HONOR OF JIMI HENDRIX - WHO WERE YOUR MUSICAL INFLUNCES?
Me and Toy both were heavily influenced by Hendrix. I guess my early influence was B.B. King - that was a revelation in my life. That people could actually play guitar like that without playing notes that were written down and bend the strings. In my early childhood Bob Wills the McGuire Sisters, the Andrew sisters were what my parents listened to. I've always been a blues based musician and have always had a tremendous love for the blues. And even people like Chet Akins and the Ventures. Then I got into listening to the English things - and of course the Beatles were a big influence. Past that point it was Duane Allman.
I'M SURPISED YOU DIDN'T MENTION ELVIS - ESPECIALLY SINCE HE'S MENTIONED IN YOUR SONG "8:05"...
I don't think I was ever really influenced by Elvis. I really liked Elvis. Me and Mary even went over to Graceland to pay homage to him. I always respected him and have always thought he understood what he was doing. He was a gifted person. He died of the curse, it's sad. All those guys in the early rock days were incredible people. Carl Perkins. I got a chance to play with him one time. He influenced me as much as anybody.
I never really wanted to play like anybody else. I've never been good at copying other people's licks. I've taken things from other people and turned it into my own style of playing. We all do. If you really studied early Toy and listened to Leslie West of Mountain you would see a tremendous amount of influences there. I don't know if they both were influenced by the same people or not but they played a lot a like.
HOW DO YOU PLAY LEAD BULLWHIP?
(Laughs) Just set a microphone in the studio and hope you don't kill anybody or tear everything up. That was a conscious thought - I think Paul Hornsby sent somebody to get a bullwhip. We wanted it on "Long Hard Ride". So we set the studio up so I could swing that thing around and make it pop.
I remember one time Paul Hornsby said he wanted a banjo on a song and everybody looked around and asked if anyone knew how to play - and I said no but if you get one I bet I can. So we borrowed one and I locked myself in a room for two hours and came back out and set "push the button, let's go!"
MTB DIDN'T USE A BANJO VERY OFTEN BUT THE FEW TIMES THEY DID IT REALLY MADE THE SONG.
You know it's real weird you said that because they were effective pieces - they weren't out front or even meant to be out front. Even banjo players I know here in Nashville - world class banjo pickers - have even complimented me on that and I've said "boy if you knew about me and my banjo playin’ you wouldn't say that."
DO YOU PLAY BANJO NOW?
Oh no! I would never touch one of those, not in Nashville Tennessee! I play mandolin some and bass from time to time. I still consider myself a guitar player first. I used to consider myself an electric guitar player but within the last ten years I've become more of an acoustic player and am proud of it.
DID YOU PLAY THE ACOUSTIC PART ON "RUNNING LIKE THE WIND"?
I know I played the intro - I played 90% of the acoustic parts on all those records. Toy played some, but he didn't like to play the acoustic guitar much.
IT SEEMED, BEGINNING WITH DEDICATED, THE BAND RECORDED FEWER AND FEWER OF THEIR OWN SONGS - WAS THAT A CONSCIENTOUS DECISION?
No, that was the Warner A & R department. That was actually a turning point for the band. They were trying to dictate what we did and you can't do that. That band could not play other people's songs it wasn't what we did - we wrote our own songs and played out of the character that it was.
ON "DEDICATED" THERE WAS A FEW SONGS FROM OUTSIDE WRITERS AND IT SEEMED THE LABEL WAS TRYING TO MAKE YOU GUYS DO MORE POP ORIENTATED SONGS - AND ALOT OF "TUCKERIZED" WAS THAT WAY.
Yeah, there were a few. They were pushin' the Poco thought on us. Everybody in that band had their own musical views and that's what made it so good - and Warner was being very forceful about what they wanted. It was about that point that everyone in the band became very aware of their influence - some people thought it was good to do some pop music and others didn't. That was a splitting point for all of us. I never thought we needed material forced on us. We went through a lull were the material we wrote wasn't so great and we were all aware of that - but artists paint pictures they're not so proud of, too.
AND THEN ON THE LAST TWO RECORDS IT SEEMED THEY WANTED YOU GUYS TO SOUND COUNTRY...
You go through different phases of music just like you go through different phases with your children... you know, they grow up. Your attentiveness and dealing with them changes and it changes with music too. You mature and you go in different directions to try things, but Warner wasn't willing to let us do that.
IT'S LIKE WARNER WAS FORCING EVOLUTION ON THE BAND RATHER THAN LETTING IT HAPPEN NATURALLY.
Exactly - the band was not that kind of band. Look at the Allman Brothers when the music was forced on them, it wasn't right. Gregg Allman can be the greatest white blues singer that ever lived - and they should have let him do what he does.
YOU CAN'T SCREW WITH MUSICIANS AND THEIR ARTISTRY.
Well, you shouldn't actually. I know it's a business, but everybody doesn't have to sell triple-platinum to be happy.
IT ALMOST SEEMS LIKE THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS RUN BY SOCIALISTS. WE LIVE IN A CAPITALIST SOCIETY WHERE THE GOVERNMENT JUST LETS THE BUSINESSES RUN AND THEY KEEP THEIR HANDS OUT - THE MUSIC INDUSTRY SHOULD BE THE SAME WAY.
There's a real strange term they use... "artist". You shouldn't be messin' with people and their art. Am I an artist or am I told to be an artist? There's a lot of wonderful singers that can't get the time of day. The business accepts only what they want to accept.
THAT'S WHY I THINK YOU GUYS NEVER GOT AIRPLAY ON COUNTRY STATIONS - WHEN ALABAMA HIT THE COUNTRY CHARTS I THOUGHT IT WOULD OPEN THE DOOR FOR TUCKER.
We just didn't fit that bill. We didn't come to Nashville to work and weren't within the structure of the Nashville business thing. Heck, the only Grammy we got nominated for was a country instrumental.
DID THAT TAKE YOU BUY SURPRISE?
Boy did it! I keep that nomination plaque on my wall just to remind me.
DID YOU GO TO THE GRAMMY SHOW?
We sure did. Me and Doug went together in New York. We were playing the Fillmore East. I think before the show we presented some Grammies.
THAT HAD TO BE FUN?
I guess... it was like a blur. I had go and get a suit, go to the Grammy show, then rush out and get out of the suit and get dressed for our show and run out on stage at the Fillmore. That New York City pace - it's really hard to feel what's going on. You sit down and enjoy it for ten minutes going "all right" then you've got someone pullin' on your collar sayin' you gotta be here in five minutes and the driver's tellin' you it's time to go. Then you get to the hall and they say "time to play" and by the time you're through it's 2 or 3 in the morning and it's time to wind down and go home.
RUNNING LIKE THE WIND WAS, IT THINK, THE BEST ALBUM THE BAND RECORDED ON THE WARNER LABEL. IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING THAT THE BAND WAS ABOUT - WITH EVERYONE'S DIFFERENT MUSICAL INFLUENCES AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE MUSIC - JUST CAME TOGETHER ON THAT ALBUM.
I agree. That record and "Tenth." We always felt that sonically they actually captured the band. When Toy played the Stratocaster and I played acoustic that really set the pace for where we were at the time. There's a song called "Foolish Dreamin’" - that song gives the pace of where we were at the time. Then you go to "Last of the Singing Cowboys" which I still feel like that's the best song I've ever written. I don't know that it is but I feel like it is. We were playing in Saratoga and Stewart Levine and his family was there. After the show he stopped by my hotel room and asked me "well, what do you got" because we were cutting an album at the time. I said I got this weird song called "Last of the Singing Cowboys" so I played it for him on acoustic and he went berserk and said we've got to cut it. And well I've got to tell you straight out I her it with horns and he said "are you serious" and I said, "Man, I hear it with horns." And he said, "you got it." So we used Steve Madao and the LA section and flew them out to FLA and I just stayed out of it because I don't know anything about horns - and still to this day don't. I'm still in love with that song. And if you listen real carefully Jerry plays the flute note for note with the horn section - and that's different.
IT'S A REAL FAN FAVORITE.
That song came out of - I'm sitting here getting chills thinking about that song - because I looked at a lot of my friends that I was fortunate enough to be hanging around and I was thinking about what would happen when we got older, and that to me was a reality, about being on the top and what would happen when it was over. That's exactly what that song is about it's about the true reality of what possibly was gonna happen. It was way over my head. Quincy Jones, who was Stewart Levine’s' son-in-law heard that and said that's new age! Because if you listen to it here comes Tucker doing their own thing again - it was a three-piece rhythm section and a jazz horn section. It was just me and Paul and Tommy - all playin’ rhythm. That really captured the band - that and Running Like the Wind.
HOW DID YOU LIKE CUTTING THE VIDEO FOR SILVERADO?
It was a lot of fun to do. Of course since I wrote it they told me I had to play the bad guy. We'd never done any thing like that. We did it here in town and in Chimney Rock, North Carolina.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR MEMORIES WITH THE ORIGINAL BAND?
First, I have always applauded Doug for doing what his heart tells him to and his heart tells him to keep playing with Marshall Tucker. He's out there still chasing his dream and he's got my blessing. I've always stood behind him on that. Talking with you today is the first time I've talked about this in years. I don't discuss it that much.
I'm very, very proud of my time with the band. I cherish what I did. Those are wonderful memories. Musically I think we reached plateaus that are only dreamed of. We accomplished alot. Those guys... you can't change the feelings we had for each other. You spend that much time on the road with somebody and you become soul mates.
DID YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH TOY AND THE OTHERS?
Oh yeah. We'd talk every now and then and I played with him a few times. Once here in town. Then I played with him at the Volunteer Jam in 92 - we played "Can't You See". That was the last two times I saw him. I usually talk to Paul a couple of times a week. I may not see or speak with some of them for a long time but when I do it's just like old times. We created a real bond.
WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER YOU LEFT THE BAND?
In the mid-80's I left Spartanburg because I needed to get away. I moved down on the coast to Conway, South Carolina and played in some bands around Myrtle Beach. Mary and I stayed there for about 4 years then moved to Nashville.
DO YOU ENJOY LIFE IN NASHVILLE?
I'm having a real good time doing what I'm doing. It's a tremendous amount of freedom but it's a tremendous amount of work also. And I love the pressure. I like having success writing with people. I just had a cut come out on Warner Brothers done by a girl called Joannie Arms. I've had jazz cuts and European cuts. I don't want to jinx anything but I should have some things coming out this year - I always use the term it's not final 'til it's vinyl. Because I've had some things cut by artists but they don't make the record.
As a matter of fact I wrote a song about Toy called "The Journey Home" and a couple of country artists have cut it but the record companies won't put it out - it's too heavy. I might be having a title track coming out by a major artist. I've been putting my nose to the grindstone the past five years and have built about a 700-hundred song catalog. It's amazing because I've never considered myself very prolific. But I'm at a point in my life where I feel I have something to say. It may not be accepted, but it's honest. And I think Toy did the same thing - he had something to say.
I remember when he was in town working on his solo CD, he looked at me and said "I can't make this record in Nashville George, there's too many session players here. I gotta go to Memphis." Toy always held true to the honesty of his music and that's what you have to do. I also have our own publishing company. Mary runs it. She is my promoter, my wife, my fan, and my kicker-in-the-asser!
I HOPE SHE DOESN'T WEAR BOOTS!
No, she doesn't! When I first met her she didn't know alot about the early days of the Tucker band. I met her after the band broke up. When we met me I was mostly playing golf.
SO WHAT'S YOUR HANDICAP?
(Laughs) I don't want to get into that - it's pretty low. I don't want it printed; someone might take advantage of me. I can shoot in the 70's. I'm not great, but I can play. I've got some buddies, other musicians I go out with. We don't talk music - we just go out and play and have fun at it.
TELL ME ABOUT IT YOUR SOLO CD AMERICAN STREET...
We did it on an independent label. I'm just not willing to do that big label deal, because I'm just not really into doing something where everybody’s gonna tell me what to do. There's not alot of labels that will let you make your own record. So I just decided to do it independent - and between this point and that point if someone hears it and says they'd like to have it then we'll listen. But I want somebody to want to do it rather than me going and asking them. I don't want to have to apologize to anyone. I want to do what my heart tells me.
Maybe someone will hear my CD and cut something off it. That's what J.J. Cale used to do; release his CD and hope other artists liked what they heard. Skynyrd did (they cut Call Me The Breeze). Dickie did a couple of his songs. And Clapton did "Cocaine" - that was a pretty good haul!
I've been putting together songs for a couple years now. I write so much - I write for a living now - I write every day, really by appointment. It's a real different deal and what I've tried to do is just block that out for a while and write just for me. We did the pre-production on a 16-track digital hard-drive here at the house. Some of the stuff has turned out better than the studio work because it so honest.
It's real easy in Nashville to pay big money and go into the studio and get a slick-sounding record. But that's not my style of music. I've been playing some clubs, very few, and some college dates. And 90% of what I’m doing, and this would be hard for Tucker fans to believe, is that I do just a solo act, me and an acoustic guitar. It's something I've never tried before but I'm doing it now because of the acceptance of singer-songwriters.
I've never considered myself a great singer but I know how to translate the work I want to translate. I'm definitely not a young Doug Gray that's for sure (laughs). But that's OK. I'm comfortable with it. Sort of like Toy - we had the same thing in mind - we're not real slick we just have music we want to offer. I kind of run with a crowd of underground musicians. The bass player I used was 19, sometimes I use a 17 year-old drummer. The reason I do that is to get that fresh blood. The longer the hair and the more ear rings the better I like it. I like that offensive style of playing. That goes back to my roots, brother. The six of us in MTB had the same idea at first - it was the rebel in us. It's still, to this day, amazing; we'll have a party or I'll go to a party and people will ask me to sign MTB CDs.
DOES YOUR NEW CD HAVE ANY TUCKER TYPE SONGS?
Yeah, probably. We did a version of Fire on the Mountain. I've played that 100 different ways and you know the way I played it that I really like is with my friend, who's a world class banjo player. You know I wrote that with an Appalachian thought in mind so I took it back home where it belongs. And some of the other stuff, I'm a heady writer - I write stuff I think people need to hear.
So some of the stuff I've been writing could probably be done easy by the Tucker band. One song I wrote with a friend is a tribute to Toy - I couldn't actually finish it because it just kept killing me to write it, so one day I went to a good friend of mine and said here's the chorus and everything, just help me finish it. We talked about going to Toy's funeral and it's called "The Journey Home." It's a very inspiring song, it's a tribute to Toy and it's the only way I could do it. I sent Abbie a copy of it and she was real happy it. She was glad somebody wrote something like that.
I'd like to give a special thanks to George for taking the time to talk with me for this interview. It was definitely a trip down memory land. I'd also like to thank his wife, Mary, for making it possible. They both are first class people!
The Songs of George McCorkle:
Searchin for a Rainbow, 1975: Fire on the Mountain
Long Hard Ride, 1976: Windy City Blues (with Doug and Jerry) and Holdin' On to You
Carolina Dreams, 1977: I Should Have Never Started Loving You (with Doug and Tommy) and Life in a Song (with Jerry)
Together Forever, 1978: Dream Lover (with Jerry) and Everybody Needs Somebody (with Doug and Jerry)
Running Like the Wind, 1979: Last of the Singing Cowboys and My Best Friend
Tenth, 1980: Gospel Singin' Man Foolish Dreamin' (with Doug), Disillusion: (with Jerry) and Jimi (with Toy)
Dedicated, 1981: Silverado and Tonight's the Night
Tuckerized, 1982: Sweet Elaine
Just Us, 1983: 8:05 (with Franklin Wilkie) and Paradise (with Doug)
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