Marshall Tucker Band frontman Doug Gray ready to roll Capital One Hall in Tyson

The Marshall Tucker Band is celebrating its 50th anniversary of Southern Rock Gold. This Sunday’s holiday tour kicks off right at Capital One Hall in Tyson, Virginia.

Listen to our full conversation in my podcast “Beyond Glory”.

Jason Fraley of the WTOP preview of the Marshall Tucker Band at Capital One Hall (Part 1)

The Marshall Tucker Band is celebrating its 50th anniversary of Southern Rock Gold. The holiday tour begins this Sunday Capital One Hall in Tyson, Virginia.

“It’s a mix of everything old and new, as well as things we haven’t done in a long time,” WTOP vocalist Doug Gray said. “I never follow a set list, so when someone in the audience yells something, I have a chance to come up with lyrics, and the band says, ‘Hey, I know this song,’ and they’ll come in, too.”

Born in 1948 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Gray played with bassist Tommy Caldwell in a school band called The New Generation. It soon merged with another band, The Rants, featuring Tommy Toi Caldwell’s brother on guitar and Jerry Ubenks on saxophone, keyboards and flute. The new band is aptly named “Toy Factory”.

“We all went to the same high school, but one person,” Gray said. “Everyone said, ‘We need to go to the army,'” there was a war going on. The toy went first, I – second, Tommy – third.

After returning from Vietnam in 1972, the band evolved into the Marshall Tucker Band when Gray, Caldwell and Jubenks added George McCorl on rhythm guitar and Paul Riddle on drums.

You’ll notice that none of them are called Marshall Tucker – so where did the name come from?

“We said,‘ Why don’t we find a place to rehearse? ’” Gray said. “It was about 100 square feet, less than a hotel room. We started going there twice a week for about an hour and a half … we didn’t have a real name … we found a key to open the door to let us through. On the keys was a tag with the inscription “Marshal Tucker”. on it. Marshall Tucker is still alive, he was a blind piano tuner.

That’s right: the band was named after a blind pianist from South Carolina.

“He left Spartanburg to realize his dream of becoming a choir instructor in Columbia, South Carolina,” Gray said. “We kept in touch … he was never part of the band, but he liked that we didn’t tear up his name, didn’t throw the TV out the window … Everyone had to have it because he was perfect. He was so good at tuning the piano. “

In 1973, they signed with Capricorn Records to release their self-titled debut album with the lead single “Can’t You See”, which is now considered their most famous song.

“During the hot period of Muscle Shoals, we had real producers,” Gray said. “It’s one of three songs out of 330 songs that I didn’t sing… we all participated in the connection, but He came up with it, and when I heard him sing, I said,‘ My God! I can’t sing like that. ” My voice was a little smoother and his voice testified. That’s why they like certain films. “

On the other side of the album was the explosive song “Ramblin”, which accidentally appeared in the same year when The Allman Brothers released their hit “Ramblin Man”.

In 1974, they released two more albums, “A New Life” and “Where We All Belong”, but this was their fourth album “Searchin ‘for a Rainbow” (1975), which included their hit Top 40 “Fire on the Mountain” , ”Which included the late Charlie Daniels, who appeared to visit on the violin.

“Charlie played on our first four records,” Gray said. “It was also played by Rod McQueen, the guys from Tower of Power came and played on certain records. Everyone wanted to play with Marshall Tucker because we went to a new level. It was like a jazz band, everyone brought their own instrument and play what you brought and we made room for everyone ”.

Their fifth album, Long Hard Ride (1976), received the title track, followed by their sixth album, Carolina Dreams (1977), which featured Heard It in a Love Song. The song became their top hit when it peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“We had the song finished all year, except for my vocals,” Gray said. “It will be the weakest song on the record.” … I just put it off for a whole year. They said, “We’re getting ready for the release of the record, do you want this song to be there?” I said, “Wow, I’ll go and try again.” Within three weeks of its release, it became a song for teenagers! ”

Today, Gray is the only original member of the band to have more than 20 studio albums.

“Why did I think it would continue?” said Gray. “Once I joined the military, I realized that people love to be loved – and I knew I could sing to show that I cared … something that makes the Marshall Tucker Band think we can to live 50 years is the loyalty of our crowds ”.

Jason Fraley of the WTOP previews the Marshall Tucker Band at Capital One Hall (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation in my podcast “Beyond Glory”.

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