The Marshall Tucker Band


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In April 1999, Marshall Tucker bandleader Doug Gray's mother was killed in a two-car automobile accident just weeks before the release of the spiritual album Gospel. Part of the sad irony is that one of the many great songs on Gospel is "Momma Don't Cry Anymore," a song co-written by Gray as a tribute to his father, who passed away a few years ago. Throughout the 12-song set, Gray performs some of his finest from-the-heart vocals to date. Every song on Gospel is a treat, especially to someone who was raised in the Southern Baptist church, and grew up listening to and playing old gospel songs himself. It is obvious even on the first listen that there is a higher power at work, helping the music flow. Gray, Tim Lawter and Rusty Milner are to be commended for their finest production efforts yet, bringing a major studio sound to CD from their small, self-owned home studio in Spartanburg. The addition of Ronald Radford's steel guitar, plus some amazing work from Milner, Lawter and Steve Poole (who plays both piano and organ), and the absolute brilliance of Dave Muse on sax and flute, helps give this entire album the feeling of vintage Marshall Tucker Band. Gray sings "Eye Is on the Sparrow" with his daughter Gabrielle; also included is "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," a regular feature of their '70s shows. Tim Lawter closes out the set by singing "Beauty of Life," a tune written by Milner. The song holds the perfect message to close out this recording: "It's not too late to say I'm sorry, It's not too late to say I want to change." In 1991, the group recorded an excellent album called Southern Spirit; with Gospel, they have tapped into the real Southern spirit.

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