ALBANY -- Almost a half-century into a career that started, humbly enough, in Spartanburg, S.C., the Marshall Tucker Band proved to a sellout crowd at the Albany Municipal Auditorium last week that they still have the musical chops that propelled the Southern rockers to fame in the 1970s.
Led by original member and lead vocalist Doug Gray, backed by drummer B.B. Borden, multi-instrumentalist -- flute, in particular -- Marcus James Henderson, bassist Tony Black, and guitarists Chris Hicks and Rick Willis, Marshall Tucker took Albany music fans on a nostalgic ride down that dust-covered trail on their Through Hell & High Water ... And Back tour stop.
The band, dubbed "those Tucker Boys" by Charlie Daniels in his classic "The South's Gonna Do It Again," took the appreciative Albany audience through 11 songs from the its expansive catalog -- two of which, "Dog Eat Dog World" and "Midnight Promises," were recorded solo by Hicks and band founder Toy Caldwell, respectively. Classics like "Fire on the Mountain," "Take the Highway" -- on which Henderson played an extensive flute intro -- "Can't You See" and the monster hit "Heard It in a Love Song" drew rave responses from the audience.
Gray formed Marshall Tucker in the '60s with frontman/guitarist Toy Caldwell and his younger brother, bassist Tommy Caldwell, and George McCorkle, and the band's unique blend of rock, country and jazz was instrumental in the early '70s rise of the Southern rock sound that ruled the rock music airwaves. Tommy Caldwell died from injuries he sustained in a car accident in 1980, and Toy Caldwell, who was wounded in Vietnam, died in 1993.
Charlie Daniels, whose band will play at the same venue in November, paid tribute to Toy Caldwell at a show in Albany years ago, putting down his famous fiddle in favor of a guitar Caldwell had given him during CDB's rendition of "Fire on the Mountain."
Members of the happy Albany crowd noted that, while being "taken back about 45 years" by the band brought on waves of nostalgia, the one-of-a-kind music of Marshall Tucker was as ageless as the songs themselves.
SET LIST FROM THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND'S "THROUGH HELL & HIGH WATER ... AND BACK" TOUR PERFORMANCE AT THE ALBANY MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM
Dog Eat Dog World
Fire on the Mountain
Take the Highway
Asking Too Much of You
Good Ole Hurtin' Song
Bob Away My Blues
Can't You See
Heard It In a Love Song
I'll Be Loving You