Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Marshall Tucker Band

In 1973, producer and musical entrepreneur Don Kirshner left ABC’s “In Concert” to begin his own syndicated TV show “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” The show aired during the middle of the week following the 11:00 news and provided prerecorded live concerts for 90 minutes. I remember watching the second episode of the show on October 2, 1973 with a number of my fellow students at Kentucky Christian College in the common room of Jones Hall.

This late week night addition to the TV offerings wreaked havoc with my college class taking routine. For my freshman year, my brother John “helped” me construct my schedule for my first year. He decided that I needed to take all of my classes in the morning starting with 7:30 am courses. His reasoning was that I could have the afternoon to myself. It was quite the struggle staying up and watching great shows like “Rock Concert.”

The October 2nd show was the second episode of the first season. The show consisted in part of a September 10, 1973 Macon, Georgia concert featuring the Allman Brothers, Wet Willie, and the Marshall Tucker Band. Other performances by Larry Graham, Martin Mull, and Todd Rundren rounded out the evening. While I had never heard of Wet Willie and Marshall Tucker before this show, one particular song caught my attention – “Can’t You See.” Here’s the live version from the show.

I loved this song and “Take the Highway.” Within a month, I bought the album from the DJ Record Shop in Grayson – one of only three local outlets that were selling records in the small city of 4,000. The others were Ralph’s and the Sundry Store. It was my first album I had purchased in Grayson. I had gotten to be pretty good friends with the owner as I had bought my first mandolin from him in September of that year.

The use of the flute on this song got me interested in learning the instrument which I was able to do in 1975 with the help of Patty Williams. I later bought my own in 1979 from Joe Dobbs at the Fret and Fiddle in West Huntington, WV. I get it out occasionally and I am well aware of my own limitations on this instrument.

I did get to use it on a recording in 1995; I played flute one of the cuts from Dr. Charles Polk’s “Just a Little Prayer” CD. I ran it through a digital delay to get a Tim Weisberg type effect. That’s the close as I have been to playing it in public.

In 1983, I had the chance to meet the band at Concord College during a concert appearance. They opened for the Greg Allman Band during that show.

Sitting/Kneeling: Doug Gray, Jim Owston of WCIR, & Toy Caldwell
Standing: Bob Spencer of WCIR, Concord Staffer, George McCorkle,
Paul Riddle, Ronnie Godfrey, Franklin Wilkie, Jerry Eubanks, & Concord Staffer.
Photo by Taunya L. Jones

Here’s a YouTube playlist of their entire debut album with the exception of the final cut, “AB’s Song” which is not currently available on YouTube.

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