Friday, January 29, 2021

The Marshall Tucker Band - A New Life (1974 us, impressive southern country guitar jam rock, 2002 bonus track remaster)

Perhaps the only reason that New Life isn't quite as memorable as its self-titled predecessor is that the band's debut was just so startling when it appeared. By the time New Life was issued in 1974, to the band's credit, it seemed like the Marshall Tucker Band sound had always been a part of America's rock & roll scene. 

New Life is earthier than the first album, and country music is less layered over by the trappings of jam-band rock. "Blue Ridge Mountain Sky" is only eclipsed by Dickey Betts' "Ramblin' Man" as the ultimate road song from the period. Likewise, the pedal steel blues of "Too Stubborn" echo an earlier era altogether, as the ghost of Bob Wills comes into Toy Caldwell's songwriting.

The whining guitars and lilting woodwinds of the title track bring the jazzier elements in the band's sound to the fore and wind them seamlessly into a swirling, pastoral country music. The Muscle Shoals horns lend a hand on the Allman Brothers' Brothers and Sisters-influenced "Another Cruel Love," and guest Charlie Daniels' fiddle cooks up a bluegrass stew on "24 Hours at a Time." The sound is fantastically balanced and warm, and like its predecessor, this album has dated very well.
by Thom Jurek
1. A New Life - 6:43
2. Southern Woman - 7:53
3. Blue Ridge Mountain Sky - 3:39
4. Too Stubborn - 3:54
5. Another Cruel Love - 3:59
6. You Ain't Foolin' Me - 7:02
7. 24 Hours At A Time - 5:01
8. Fly Eagle Fly - 4:25
9. Another Cruel Love (Live) - 4:25
All songs by Toy Caldwell
Bonus Track 9

The Marshall Tucker Band 
*Toy Caldwell - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic, Steel Guitars
*Tommy Caldwell - Vocals, Bass Guitar
*George McCorkle - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Doug Gray - Vocals, Percussion
*Jerry Eubanks - Saxes, Flute, Vocals
*Paul Riddle - Drums
*Jai Johanny Johnson - Congas
*Paul Hornsby - Keyboards
*Charlie Daniels - Fiddle 
*Oscar Jackson - Tenor Saxophone
*Earl Ford - Horns
*Harold Williamsl - Horns
*Todd Logan - Horns

1974  The Marshall Tucker Band - Where We All Belong (2004 remaster with bonus track)
1975  Marshall Tucker Band - Searchin' For A Rainbow (2004 remaster and expanded)
1976  The Marshall Tucker Band - Long Hard Ride (2004 extra track remaster)