What's in the Marshall Tucker Band's vaults?
By Peter Lindblad
Love Songs is the new compilation from the Marshall Tucker Band, and you can pretty much guess by the title what's on it: that would be the choicest love songs of the iconoclastic Southern-rock band's deep catalog.
Going back through the Marshall Tucker Band past works, it's funny how many romantic tracks this group of rugged, yearning-for-the-days-of-the-Old-West cowboys has recorded. Of course, a lot of them are not exactly the kind of love songs that bring lovebirds together in warm embraces and cause babies to be made.
Often, Toy Caldwell, as well as the rest of the songwriters in the Marshall Tucker Band, explored themes of frustrations and disconnectedness that can cause the best marriage to crumble. There are songs about affairs and lovers leaving because they just can't take whatever has gone wrong in their relationship.
And we'll get into all that in the story on the Marshall Tucker Band that will appear in the April 24 print issue of Goldmine. But for now, how about a little news from the Marshall Tucker Band camp, courtesy of Goldmine reader Steve Lambley.
Lambley was one of three of the Goldmine faithful who submitted questions for Gray in response to an e-newsletter query we sent out this week. In it, we asked readers to throw some questions our way that we could ask the soulful singer of MTB, and Lambley had a good one.
He asked, "Are there any outtakes or unused material in the Capricorn vault not yet used from the Toy and Tommy (Caldwell) era?"
Gray, conducting our interview on Thursday from the side of a road in South Carolina, answered, "There certainly are. And some of it [is] not yet ready or presentable to people and the public. And if I'm not happy with it ... and I was there during the beginning, if I'm not happy with it, we're not going to put it out yet. If we can get to the point where we can make it a little bit better, technology wise ... and I think we're pretty close to it. But we've got hundreds and hundreds of hours of stuff from the Toy and Tommy era, and plus, we've got stuff that's just around, you know. We've got videos that are around [from] people ... and so we've kind of stayed in touch with people who say, "Oh, I'm sending you this. I'm sending you that." And me being the pack rat that I was, I collect all that stuff. Yeah, we've got control over most of 'em. We only got about 1 percent that's still out there that would even be worthy of us putting 'em out to people that would appreciate them."
That's probably not the answer we all want to hear, but it does give a glimmer of hope that there could be a gold rush of unreleased Marshall Tucker Band material that's could flood the market and crush us — in a good way — with that wonderful country-tinged blend of jazz and blues and rock the MTB is known for — not to mention that soaring, amazing guitar interplay between Toy and George McCorkle.
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