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'Can't You See?' The Marshall Tucker Band Pioneered '70s Southern Rock

Music | July 30, 2018

The Marshall Tucker Band with a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in a promotion for Ronrico Rum in 1981; Toy Caldwell on stage on September 4, 1976 at Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: beaterblog.com; Tom Hill/WireImage via Getty.

With hits "Can't You See" and "Heard It In A Love Song," The Marshall Tucker Band became one of the leading acts in the Southern rock scene of the '70s, along with the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. With the late Ty Caldwell handling chief songwriting and lead guitar duties, the Marshall Tucker Band was memorable for its use of flute in many signature tunes.

Emerging in 1972 from Spartanburg, South Carolina, The Marshall Tucker Band (containing no members actually named Marshall Tucker) was known for a brand of music that incorporated blues, country and jazz, making for a unique and eclectic sound. "Can't You See," off the group's self-titled debut, is an anthem of Southern rock.

The Marshall Tucker Band's Place In Rock History

Source: Amazon.com

The Marshall Tucker Band never did much damage on the pop chart -- "Heard It In A Love Song" was the group's biggest single, peaking at #14 in 1977, and the group's fourth album, Searchin' For A Rainbow, topped out at #15 in 1975. But the act has been a mainstay of classic rock radio, and is considered key to a musical storyline that begins with hillbilly jams, includes rock and outlaw country, and flourished with Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, and Molly Hatchet. As one of the consistent draws in the genre, Marshall Tucker Band is considered by many listeners to be deserving of a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

The group has been eligible for this distinction for years now and many pleas have been made for their induction. At the moment, they are not included in the exclusive club, but fans are holding out hope that one day they will get that distinction they so deserve. The fact of the matter is that there are very few Southern rock bands on the rolls of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but The Marshall Tucker Band is certainly deserving and may well be the next one in line.    

Toy Caldwell Was The Leader Of The Original Lineup

The iconic band was in its heyday in the '70s with the original line up of Toy Caldwell (lead guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter), Doug Gray (lead vocalist), Jerry Eubanks (keyboard player, saxophone player and flautist), George McCorkle (rhythm guitarist), Paul Riddle (drummer) and Tommy Caldwell (bassist). Surprisingly and impressively, The Marshall Tucker band was signed with Capricorn, a big record label, the year they formed the group.

Toy Caldwell's songwriting and Jerry Eubanks' contributions on flute and saxophone established Marshall Tucker Band's distinctive Southern Rock formula.

There Was A Marshall Tucker, But He Wasn’t A Member Of The Band

It is interesting to note that the band’s name is somewhat curious in that no one in the band was ever named Marshall Tucker. Marshall Tucker was actually a blind piano tuner. One of the original band members had found a key ring with his name on it in a place they had been using for their rehearsals. Without a formal name, that seemed as good as any and that is how The Marshall Tucker Band got its name. Tucker, reportedly, was just fine with the group using his name as long as they treated it with integrity.

Doug Gray Is The Only Remaining Member Of The Original Lineup

Of the original lineup, Doug Gray is the lone remainder. Tommy Caldwell, Toy Caldwell and George McCorkle have all passed away. Paul Riddle and Jerry Eubanks have since retired.

Over the course of their career, The Marshall Tucker Band has produced 5 gold and 4 platinum albums.

The band has released 23 studio albums, 4 live albums and 11 compilation albums throughout its successful career.  Additionally, The Marshall Tucker Band has released 28 singles including some all-time favorites like "Can’t You See," "Heard it in a Love Song," "Dream Lover," "Long Hard Ride," "Silverado" and "Still Holdin’ On."

When the group first emerged in the early '70s, music videos weren’t even on our radar yet. This talented group was somewhat of an American staple in Southern rock and roll and has stood the test of time; ultimately making it to the era of the MTV music video scene and beyond; having made seven music videos to date.

Throughout the years the band has forged on with various lineups but has always managed to keep the momentum going. The Marshall Tucker Band’s current lineup includes Doug Gray, Marcus James Henderson, Chris Hicks, Rick Willis, Tony Black and B.B. Borden.   

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.