Marshall Tucker Band still ramblin’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Halitosis may have changed music history. It definitely altered Doug Gray’s life.
“My mother was the first one [when I was] seven years old, she said, [mimicking high voice], ‘You have such a pretty voice.’ And then she’d make me go take piano lessons with this lady that had bad breath, so I never followed the piano lesson thing,” Gray said and laughed.
But he kept singing — and still is the voice of The Marshall Tucker Band.
“God had to give me a special gift, and it was to be able to translate some emotion through my words,” the lead singer said of his distinctive Southern voice.
Since the band’s debut in 1973, Gray has added feeling to some classics, including “Can’t You See,” “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Fire on the Mountain” and “Take the Highway.”
“Toy Caldwell wrote some songs that will be around for the rest of our lives,” Gray said during a phone interview from his home in Spartanburg, S.C., noting tracks penned by the guitarist continue to surface in movies and on TV shows.
Gray is the only original member of the band remaining. Three have passed away — Toy Caldwell, his brother and bassist Tommy Caldwell, and guitarist George McCorkle. Drummer Paul Riddle left in 1983, and keyboardist and flute player Jerry Eubanks retired in 1996.
“I’m very passionate about this music. I’m not going to just let it go away because we’ve lost those guys. We started out with this kind of passion, and I still feel it,” Gray said.
The Marshall Tucker Band — Gray, bass player Pat Elwood, guitarist Rick Willis, drummer B.B. Borden, and keyboardist, flute and sax player Marcus Henderson — will play at 9 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Northwest Ohio Rib-Off at the Lucas County Fairgrounds in Maumee. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 day of show. VIP tickets for $15 are available at Stranahan Theater. Gates open at 4 p.m.
“People come to see us primarily because we created a great or a sad memory for them, and they played one of our songs at their brother’s wedding, or they buried their cousin to one of our songs called ‘Ride in Peace,’ ” he said.
“I try to create a memory with every song that we do, so the same as we used to do years ago. And we do. We still sell a ton of records, but now they’re downloads.”
That may be changing, thanks to fans’ requests.
“People were bringing album covers up and saying sign this, saying I wish my record still sounded good, I would play it on my turntable,” Gray said. “We already had the greatest hits CD just come out [in 2011], and I said let’s do a vinyl as well.
“But I said if we do it, let’s do it not as a novelty just to throw it out there, let’s do it as a real piece of work like we used to do,” he said. “Because of the success of this vinyl, we’re coming out with the first and second albums again re-released on better vinyl, the album covers will be the same — everything will look just like it was when they come out years ago. It was a demand.”
The new albums are due out in November and will come with digital downloads.