Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TOP STORY >> Marshall Tucker will rock

Leader staff writer

Can’t you see the Marshall Tucker Band performing live at the annual Patriotic Spectacular on Sunday at the Jacksonville High School football field?

Event coordinator Angie Mitchell certainly could and didn’t hesitate to book the iconic 1970s Southern rock band when she had the chance using funding from the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

The band will top off an evening of family fun, fireworks, singing, re-enactments and a salute to military heroes.

The event is free and gates open at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Mitchell said a number of things came together to bring Marshall Tucker to Jacksonville. “We had been talking to country singer Candy Coburn, who performed last year for us and is coming back this year. We told her it would be great to have a band, a familiar group,” Mitchell explained.

Coburn gave Mitchell a list of possible bands. “Marshall Tucker was on top of the list and (was) a group Candy had opened for a number of times. Her agency helped us get them. Plus, what helped is that the band had to come through this way to a concert they have booked in Austin, Texas,” Mitchell said.

The event coordinator said the band’s people have been wonderful to work with “and have helped us a lot as this is the first time we’ve brought in such a big name, although Candy is getting more and more popular too,” Mitchell said.

The Marshall Tucker Band formed in the early 1970s in South Carolina.

Many members of the original group have died. But founding member and lead singer Doug Gray continues the tradition. Even though some of the band members are new, the sound is pure Marshall Tucker.

By the way, the group picked up its name from a key chain they found during a rehearsal that belonged to a piano tuner.

Gray’s group includes slide guitarist Stuart Swanlund, who joined the band in 1989; drummer B.B. Borden, a former member of both Mother’s Finest and the Outlaws; Marcus Henderson of Macon, Ga., who plays flute, saxophone and keyboards in addition to lead and background vocals; Pat Elwood on bass guitar, and Rick Willis on lead guitar and vocals, both of Spartanburg S.C., who are disciples of the Caldwell brothers, original members of the band.

In 1972, the Marshall Tucker Band signed with Capricorn Records, the same label that guided the Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie and others to national fame.

Tucker opened shows for the Allman Brothers in 1973, and the following year, they began to headline their own shows across America. They toured constantly playing arenas, stadiums, theaters, fairs and festivals.

The group has gone on to record hit singles like “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Fire on the Mountain,” “Can’t You See” and “Take the Highway.”

The band earned seven gold and three platinum albums while they were on the Capricorn Records label.

During the 90s, Marshall Tucker scored four hit singles on Billboard’s country chart and one on Billboard’s gospel chart. Their music has also been featured in numerous movies and television shows.

The band, with its blend of rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, country and gospel, has influenced major country acts like Alabama, the Kentucky Headhunters, Confederate Railroad and Travis Tritt.

The Gloryland Pastors Choir of North Little Rock will open the Patriotic Spectacular by performing the national anthem.

Country singer Coburn will perform at 7 p.m. The concert will be followed by an appreciation ceremony for military men and women.

At 8:15 p.m., the Marshall Tucker Band will take the stage. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

The high school football field, known as Jan Crow Stadium, is at 2400 Linda Lane. Those attending may bring lawn chairs or blankets.

In case of rain, the event, minus the Marshall Tucker Band performance, will be held at First Baptist Church, 401 N. First St.

The fireworks show will still be held at the JHS football field, rain or shine.

The school’s booster club will sell concessions.

So, can’t you see yourself at this once-a-year celebration saluting family, fun, faith and heroes?