Live on Long Island: 4-18-80

The Marshall Tucker Band

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Live on Long Island: 4-18-80 Review

by Jeff Tamarkin

Live on Long Island: 04-18-80 is a significant addition to the Marshall Tucker Band catalog for two reasons: first, the two-CD set marks the only full-length concert by the classic lineup to be released on CD. Second, and more importantly, it was the last concert played by this original lineup. Just ten days after they packed up their gear and left the stage of the Nassau Coliseum (for some reason, the venue is never mentioned in the package), bassist Tommy Caldwell was killed in a car accident, effectively ending the band's strong run. In their prime, spanning roughly 1973 to this spring 1980 concert, Marshall Tucker ranked consistently among the top five bands in the Southern rock genre, alongside the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a few others. Like those bands, they proffered a muscular brand of guitar-based, countrified blues-rock, heavy on the jamming but never skimping on melodicism, rhythmic dexterity, and honest-to-goodness soul. The MTB rocked with the best of the era's proto-jam bands, and that they were still able to pack a room in the Northeast with enthusiastic fans at this late stage was no small accomplishment. At the show, Tucker faithfully delivered what those fans came for. By "Cattle Drive," a new song at the time and the fourth in their set, they're head-on into it, lead guitarist Toy Caldwell spilling out flashy, jazzy licks in a steamy jam that indicated possible new directions. That, of course, was not to happen, so fortunately the album does double duty as a greatest-hits collection as well -- the signature MTB tunes are all accounted for: "Fire on the Mountain," "Last of the Singing Cowboys," "Take the Highway," "Can't You See," and the rest. As both a keepsake and for its musical merits, Live on Long Island: 04-18-80 should be treasured by fans of the original Marshall Tucker Band.

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