Classic Rock Corner

Marshall Tucker Band Singer: "This Ain't A Jerk-Off Contest"

While they were often tagged strictly as "Southern Rockers" after starting out in the early '70s, the Marshall Tucker Band also freely incorporated blues, jazz, country, and other sounds into their music. They had a flute player, for chrissakes!

Led by guitarist and chief songwriter Toy Caldwell, the group's classic six-man lineup scored a string of hits including "Take the Highway," "Fire on the Mountain," "Heard It in a Love Song," "Searchin' for a Rainbow," "This Ol' Cowboy," and "Can't You See."

When Toy's bassist brother Tommy died in 1980 from injuries sustained in a car wreck, the band soldiered on before splitting up in 1983. With Toy's blessing, singer Doug Gray and flute/sax player Jerry Eubanks resurrected the group five years later, continuing the MTB's "long hard ride" on stage and in the studio. A new greatest-hits compilation has just been released, along with Soul of the South, a Gray solo effort.

Rocks Off spoke with the affable vocalist and torch-bearer from his home in Spartanburg, S.C., where the band started, about Toy's legacy, souvenir women's panties, and the real Marshall Tucker.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero