I was 12 years old and a seventh grader at Cleveland Junior High in Spartanburg in 1974. That's where I first smelled it. Pot. I thought somebody had set a locker on fire, but it was smoke coming from the boys room. I didn't dare smoke any myself, but it sure smelled good.
A New Life was released in early 1974, the Marshall Tucker Band's second album. I think I bought my copy at Sears on Church Street. (Sorry, you won't find Tower Records in Spartanburg.) This album, like its predecessor, portrayed our heroes as a hippies' band. This was before the days of the cowboy hats and western storytelling that the band would later parlay into commercial success. No, these boys made music for potheads. I mean, just look at the LP art. Faces and animal shapes in the clouds? Who's kidding who?
And hey, if those clouds on the cover don't tip you off, the multicolored clouds inside the gatefold should.
I remember a couple of kids at Clevelend Junior High who swore that this LP was the one to get high to, particularly the song "You Ain't Fooling Me". Everytime I listen to the break in that song - Toy on steel trading licks with Charlie Daniels on fiddle - I can imagine my old friends toking away and munching on chips, digging this album.
1974 was also about the time that I got my first Marshall Tucker Band t-shirt. We didn't have a lot of places in town that sold that kind of stuff, I actually bought mine at a glorified head shop on West Main Street in Spartanburg. I had my mom drive me there, and then I begged her not to come in the store with me -- I was afraid she would see the bongs for sale. Sears on the other hand, did not sell bongs. But Sears did sell alligator clips back near the TV antennas.
Got a 'New Life' recollection or dope smoker flashback? Sign my guestbook at the bottom of this page and tell Cousin Stanley all about it.
On those early Capricorn MTB LPs, the vocals weren't so prominent in the recordings. As a consequence, many fans developed their own unique lyrics to MTB songs (albeit unintentional). This month I'd like to share a few of my favorite mis-heard MTB lyrics.
1. "Purty Little Love Song"
A recording engineer friend of mine told me of his experience working on a remix for a MTB radio show. He says that until he did the recording session, he'd always thought the chorus of MTB's best selling 45 was "purty little lo-ove song"! To this day, I can't listen to "Heard It In A Love Song" without hearing "purty little love song".....
2. "I got his wife doin' 70 miles an hour - she's loaded, she's down in the floor"
The kids I knew in junior high in the 1970's used to play guitars on the school bus. Everyone attempted a rendition of the classic "24 Hours At A Time". Seems like everyone had a unique twist to this line, this one being of the more memorable interpretations. The line is actually "I got this White doin' 70 miles an hour, she's loaded, she's down to the floor". You know, like a truck... like Dave Dudley in "Six Days On The Road" - "I just passed a Jimmy and a White, I've been a-passin' everything in sight....."
3. "I'm gonna close my eyes and drink and let the cork bob away my blues"
I like this one! It's actually "dream", though, not "drink".
4. "I'm in love with that girl from that robust town"
Ah! A real puzzler here! The line comes from "Windy City Blues" on the "Long Hard Ride" LP. It's not "robust", its Roebuck. No not Sears & Roebuck, but Roebuck, SC.... a small community just a couple of miles south of Spartanburg.
5. "I'm gonna do a little chicken in a pig pen"
I remember getting into an argument with one of my guitar buddies over this one when I was 13 years old. Most everyone knows that the line is "chicken pickin", but in the days of vinyl and cheesy compact stereos, it wasn't so obvious. What my buddy thought this line meant, I'll never know -- I was afraid to ask.
Got your own favorite his-heard MTB lyric? Sign my guestbook and tell Cuz all about it......
Hello Tuckerites! Welcome to my side of the MTB world. Naw, I'm not THE Cousin Stanley, but I'm the one that shows up on MTB Chat from time to time.
I plan to use the space to ramble any way I see fit, just so long as there's at least a vague relavance to MTB. My qualifications? I grew up in Spartanburg, SC, diggin' the Tuckers and worshiping the ground that Toy Caldwell walked on. I remember the Marshall Tucker Band before they were 'MTB'.
Prior to 1977, the band was more commonly referred to by it's proper name, or 'Tucker', or even 'The Tuckers'. With the release of Carolina Dreams, a new band logo was unveiled to the world , with emphasis on the band's initials - M T B. After Carolina Dreams, folks always asked "Hey, have you checked out the latest MTB album?"
Yeah, the Carolina Dreams LP certainly gave us a snazzy logo. And apparently some graphic designer somewhere felt it was worthy of ripping off to create a logo for a Hawaiian tourist trap known as Maui Tropical Plantation. I suppose this just goes to show that nothing is truly sacred. I wonder if the Maui locals refer to the plantation as 'MTP'. And do they ask, "Hey, have you checked out the latest MTP tour?"
Now, I don't know much about law except for traffic violations and tax penalties, but I have a hunch that this is a case of copyright infringement. If I were Doug Gray, I'd have my attorney suing these guys for every banana and pineapple they have. And then I'd take over and turn the place into some sort of Mau i MTB Theater concept , or maybe an 'MTB Luau'. Well, maybe not.
The thing I really liked about Carolina Dreams was the mastering -- lotsa bottom end on the record. Tommy's bass never sounded better. (By the way, I think the vinyl sounds better than the CD reissue.) That record really had a good groove. Maui Tropical Plantation, however, has no groove at all.
See ya next month.