The Marshall Tucker Band: Chris Hicks (vocals, guitar); Dave Muse (mandolin, woodwinds, horns, keyboards, background vocals); Tim Heatherly (bass guitar, background vocals); Doug Gray (background vocals); Barry "B.B. Queen" Borden, Stuart Swanlund.
Personnel: Chris Hicks (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, background vocals); Stuart Swanlund (vocals, guitar, electric guitar); Jimmy Hall (vocals, harmonica); Doug Gray (vocals, percussion); David Muse (mandolin, flute, woodwinds, tenor saxophone, horns, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals); Billy Sandlin (fiddle); Paul Hornsby (piano, electric piano, organ); Clay Cook (piano, background vocals); Barry "B.B. Queen" Borden (drums); Keith Glenn (cowbells); Tony "Ray" Heatherly (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Clay Cook, Jimmy Hall, Paul Hornsby, Billy Sandlin, James Tuck Tucker.
Audio Mixers: Doug Gray; Buddy Strong.
Recording information: Dragon's Head Studio, FL; Muscadine Studio, Macon, GA; Southeastern Sound, Greenville, SC.
Author: Doug Gray.
The core of the Marshall Tucker Band's sound had historically been Toy Caldwell's guitar and Doug Gray's voice. The band has been through many permutations and Caldwell has since passed on, but Gray and a core of members, including horn boss David Muse (formerly of Firefall) and guitarist Stuart Swanlund, have been carrying the torch for a while now. With second lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Hicks, bassist Tony Heatherly, and drummer B.B. Borden, Marshall Tucker is in its fourth decade as a recording and touring entity. What's amazing is that the unit consistently comes up with compelling new material and hits the charts once in a while. In other words, this is not some jive revivalist move to make some quick cash before fading into oblivion. Beyond the Horizon offers 12 new tracks that rely heavily on the open Southern groove that was at the heart of the Tuckers' mature sound. Elements of soul, blues, and jazz blend seamlessly in the tracks "Ride of Your Life," Caldwell's "Texas on My Mind," the slippery Americana of "Into Your Eyes," and the swampy "King of the Delta Blues," which evokes memories of "Can't You See" in both chord structure and guitar attack. The band can still really rock it up when it wants to as well, as evidenced by the smoking strut in "Set You Free," the rootsy country of "Angel (With a Honky Tonk Heart)," and "The Rain." Marshall Tucker was always more musically adventurous than any of their rowdier peers. Besides the Allmans, they were the only other band of the "Southern rock" ilk that could play with as much texture, style, and sheer aplomb. Beyond the Horizon is a worthy installment in the band's continued history. ~ Thom Jurek