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In The Studio with The Marshall Tucker Band

Posted: Jan 28, 2007 To some folks, hanging out in the recording studio for two days would be just plain boring and tedious. For me it’s more fun than watching the Super Bowl with four of my buddies and a keg of cold beer. I love to watch the magic that takes place in the recording studio, and I especially love it when that magic is being created by my friends and one of my all-time favorite groups, The Marshall Tucker Band.

I have been writing about Marshall Tucker for thirty years now. My first piece on them was in 1977 following the summer Homecoming concert held at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. I have followed them since the very beginning, before they took the name Marshall Tucker, when Toy Caldwell and company were playing at Uncle Sam’s and The Ruins in Spartanburg. I’d better be quiet now, I’m telling my age.

The band was in town this weekend recording what will become their new studio record for Shout! Factory, and boy howdy, is it going to be a good record. (That is, “CD” to the kids in the crowd.)

On Friday, they were working on a song written by James Copeland called “Cold Steel.” It has a real MTB feel, similar to “Silverado,” except with its own unique story. I sat and watched Chris Hicks add some guitar parts, while talking to all of my other buddies, including MTB founding father Doug Gray, guitarist Stuart Swanlund and soundman Keith.

They are recording at Southeastern Sound Studio, with the project being engineered by Buddy Strong, who runs the place. Buddy is a helluva a guitar player himself, and was a member of the early 1980’s band Garfeel Ruff on Capitol Records. Buddy knows music.

During a break I said my hellos to drummer B.B. Borden and bassist Pat Elwood. Also in the studio was a new friend of mine, Dave Peck, a videographer and Southern rock archivist from Macon who videotaped my show in Macon a few weeks ago. Dave is a great guy and his videos of live shows are most excellent.

Another great track that is coming together is “An Old Cowboy Song.” It’s another song that captures that old school Marshall Tucker vibe.

I returned on Sunday to observe some more studio magic. Doug’s daughter Gabrielle dropped by for a while and ran over the words to a song she will be singing with her Dad. It’s a beautiful country song and sure-fire hit co-written by founding Tucker member George McCorkle, who actually contributes a lot to the upcoming release. The song is called “I Love You That Way,” and it is amazing.

Former MTB drummer David “Ace” Allen came in to lay down drum tracks for the tune, with Hicks playing acoustic and Elwood on bass. Mark my words; this is a hit waiting to happen.

I was talking with the guys on break and reminiscing about the days in the late seventies and early eighties when Stuart and Ace were in a band called Lightnin’ West, while Elwood was in one called Dallas Alice. Ah, the good ol’ days. I had to wonder if they ever dreamed that in the future they would play with Tucker. Rock and roll dreams come true, huh?

I spoke with some of the band about the upcoming Volunteer Jam Tour that will put them back on the road with The Charlie Daniels band and The Outlaws, and it seems everyone is very excited about those shows, as well as the many other concerts that are always on the board for the band.

As I headed out, Doug Gray reminded me that he wants me to sing some on the new album, and I told him I’d be honored. If it pans out, you that read my blog here at SWAMPLAND.COM will be the first to know. I’ll be bouncing off of these cyber-walls and singing “Take The Highway” at the top of my lungs. The dream never dies, baby.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.

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Scarlett says...

I love MTB! You are so lucky to hang out with all these stars! Can you get me in?

musicman55 says...

Hey Brother;
Sounds like a the ultimate way to spend a weekend to me.Doug and the boys have played such a huge part in the southern rock movement and gave so many so much .Can't wait for the new cd and the Vol jam tour this summer keep on rocking from your northern brother

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