Charlie DanielsOde to a Friend
There was a whole lot of cowboy in this son of the south.
He had the greatest respect for the west
He liked horses and saddles and rifles and such
But he loved that old guitar the best
He played differently from anyone I'd ever known
Cause he did it all with his thumb
He could play as tender as a virgin's kiss
Or blast it all to kingdom come
He wrote strong lusty songs in his own special way
About whiskey and women and love
About big trucks and ramblers and hillbilly bands
And that blue ridge mountain sky up above
He wrote about rainbows and highways and eagles
And good men who stood brave and tall
He wrote about old men and heroes and outlaws
And jukeboxes, barrooms and brawls
He wrote about you and he wrote about me
A message to all common men
And he really liked you - and you could tell if he did
You had a shore enough friend
He went through the hell they call Vietnam
Knew the frustration that war could bring
But he served his country and did it proud
Ol' Toy was a damn good Marine
He buried two brothers back, in seventy-nine
It would have destroyed lesser men
But he shed few tears and picked up his guitar
And took to the highway again
I was out on the road way up in New York
When I first got the word you'd gone on
And though that guitar has been silenced forever
It's still hard to believe that you're gone.
But some nights when me and the boys feel like jamming
We'll burn into old "Can't You See"
And if I'm picking hot it ain't hard to imagine
That you're standing there next to me
I miss you old friend
There's a piece of my heart
That will never belong to anybody but you
- Charlie Daniels -
©1993 By Charlie Daniels. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
2012 Soap Box Archives
The other morning I was listening to some vintage Marshall Tucker and it dawned on me all over again just what a great band they were.
This combination of musicians, their individual talents and contributions, made the MTB one of the most unique, energetic, inventive and fun to listen to bands to ever come down the pike.
You could pick Toy Caldwell's guitar sound and style out of a hundred different players all playing the same tune. Toy played with no picks and could move his thumb at a blurring speed, the thick sounding notes spilling out of his overloaded amplifier in wild profusion, overpowering and awesome.
You couldn't put a label on Toy's style. He covered it all from country to jazz and did it in his very own way.
He could also put a hurting on a pedal steel guitar.
The rhythm section stayed stretched to the limit and pedal to the metal and you'd think Paul Riddle's drum set was going to fly apart at any second with Tommy Caldwell's thumb powered bass licks breathing down his neck like a runaway turbo diesel engine.
I don't think the general public ever realized what a huge part of the Tucker sound George McCorkle's driving electric rhythm guitar was. George played with total abandon, string busting, pick breaking, straight ahead, always pushing, filling his corner of the rhythm section with open chord energy and together they were just plain old dynamite.
Not sure how many people know this, but George wrote the song "Fire On The Mountain" when he learned that The CDB was working on an album of that name with the hope of it being the title track, but the album was already finished at that point, so Tucker recorded it and it became one of their biggest hits.
And over the top of this bone crunching juggernaut Jerry Eubank's flute floated like a fresh breeze, a nice surprise, a unique counterpoint, signature riffs, now following, now leading, standing out, blending in.
I have always considered Doug Gray to be the best all around singer in any of the southern bands. Doug could belt out a rocker, express a tender ballad and put country feeling in a country song. He had range and quality and put his all into every note.
In the seventies CDB traveled constantly with Tucker and we'd end the show with both bands on stage doing what Toy called a "Watermelon Jam", and I wish we could have recorded them because they were really special.
Toy, Tommy and George are all gone now but they left a legacy of sound and energy that will stand the test of time and a hundred years from now will still be uniquely Marshall Tucker.
Toy's wife, Abbie, gave me one of Toy's Gibson 335 guitars and it's one of my most treasured possessions. I've played it, but I could never make it sound the way Toy made it sound.
But then, nobody else could either.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, and for our country.
God bless America
©Copyright The Charlie Daniels Band