A New Life

A New Life

Though South Carolina’s Marshall Tucker Band helped define the very idea of Southern rock, theirs was actually beautifully disparate and rich with elements of country, gospel, R&B, jazz and blues. Real desire fills the songs—whether it’s longing for a good “Southern woman” or to “see a gray squirrel climbing an oak tree” in their home state's countryside. (The soaring warm tenor of singer Doug Gray certainly didn’t hurt things.) The fiddle-enhanced road metaphor of “24 Hours at a Time” details a man’s unstoppable love for a woman, and the soulful title song tells of a guy who finds redemption after a four-year prison stint served for shooting a man in Denver. Both are really amped-up folk tunes of homesickness, the latter song lifted by producer Paul Hornsby’s piano. This great 1973 album (the band's second) was led by the hugely underrated guitarist/songwriter Toy Caldwell, a guy whose rich, textured sound and thumb-picking style worked as well on big rock ’n’ roll stages as it did on back porches in the rural South.

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