The first thoughts that cross your mind when you think about The Marshall Tucker Band might not necessarily be thoughts of love songs. After all, these two fisted hombres have come to be known for rootin’ tootin’ cowboy songs, songs about cattle drives and hard living, life on the road and cheap whiskey. But there has always been a romantic side to the boys from South Carolina, beginning in the early seventies with primary songwriter Toy Caldwell, who penned the classic “Heard it in a Love Song,” which is the lead off track on their newest compilation, Love Songs. Toy looked at love from all sides, including the point of view of a man breaking up witha girl and all the heartache of “Can’t You See.” The 45 version is included here to give the mushy stuff some honest balance, I suppose.
Thirteen songs from a 35 year plus career highlight the loving side of the band. Songs like Toy’s “Too Stubborn” flow nicely alongside “Love I Gave to You,” a late ‘90’s track from Face Down in The Blues and “I Love You That Way,” a beautiful song written by the late George McCorkle and sung by Chris Hicks and Gabrielle Gray that was featured on the band’s very latest release.
A couple of my old favorites are included, both penned by Toy Caldwell, “Virginia,” a love song he wrote based on his mother and father, and “In My Own Way,” the epitome of blue collar love. “Try One More Time” is absolutely beautiful, with singer Doug Gray in top form,
Two great Rusty Milner songs are featured, “Love Will” from the excellent 1990 Southern Spirit record, and “Let Me Come Home” from 1992’s Still Smokin.' Both are excellent.
The secret to a good compilation record is choosing the right songs and arranging them in the perfect listening order. Ron Rainey did a great job with this collection, making an excellent Valentine’s Day gift for any true blue Southern Rock lover.
-Michael Buffalo Smith