Where We All Belong
The Marshall Tucker Band
(CD Shout! Factory)
(Review of Vinyl)
MTB singer Doug Gray says that this is his favorite MTB album, and I can see why. Released in 1974 on Capricorn Records as a two LP set, one studio album, one live, this is the perfect Marshall Tucker Band record.
Side one kicks off with what would go on to become one of Toy Caldwell's most recognizable guitar licks, the intro riff to "This Ol' Cowboy." Written and sung on record by Toy, the song would later be performed in concert by Gray. A Top 40 hit for the band, the song remains a Tuckerhead favorite. Next comes "Low Down Ways," another great Toy composition that leads into "In My Own Way," a classic country song featuring some of Toy's excellent pedal steel guitar. Paul Hornsby contributes some fine keyboard work on this track and several others, adding to his already impressive job as producer.
Side two begins with "How Can I Slow Down," and moves on into one of their 1970's concert staples, "Where a Country Boy Belongs." The studio version is enhanced by a guest appearance by Elvin Bishop, burning up some slide guitar. And speaking of guests, brother Charlie Daniels is all over this record, both in the studio and on the live sides, "sawing that fiddle and makin' it hot."
"Now She's Gone" is the only track on the studio record not written by Toy. Well, not entirely by Toy anyway. It was co-written by brother Tommy Caldwell. Singer Doug Gray outdoes himself on the closing track, "Try One More Time," a bluesy country tune that drips with soul.
Side three is the first of the live sides, recorded at The Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. The set begins with the intense "Rambin,'" which rocks with the intensity of a California earthquake, and moves straight on into the thirteen-minute-plus live rendition of "24 Hours at a Time," featuring solos from everyone in the band, including Charlie Daniels. Tommy's bass solo will live forever, and most Tucker fans as well as most fans of good southern music can hum the notes of that solo is you asked them to.
"Everyday I Have the Blues," the classic B.B. King tune written by Peter Chapman, burns through the start of side four, with Toy displaying some of the hottest blues guitar licks ever etched into vinyl. The side concludes with a rocking version of "Take the Highway," the long time concert opener, and a perineal favorite.
With cover art by Jim Campbell, drawn from photos by George's brother Chuck McCorkle, Where We All Belong is nothing short of a classic rock and roll album. Excellent production and superior playing make this the definitive MTB album.
-Michael Buffalo Smith