Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants ace who just won the World Series MVP award with an historic performance, allowing but a single run in 21 innings, earning two wins and the spectacular save that secured his club's third title in five years, begins his outings with a song by The Marshall Tucker Band.

The Hickory, N.C. native wasn't born until 1989, 14 years after "Fire On The Mountain" was released, but the song must have the comforting ring of home for the calm, deliberate and typically untouchable pitcher. Not to mention the lyrics, "Took my family from my Carolina home, had dreams about the West and started to roam," must seem eerily familiar.

Part of the Southern Rock canon, The Marshall Tucker Band began in 1972, roughly equal parts Allman Brothers, Canned Heat, America and The Band. And before Bumgarner, perhaps the most famous fan they could claim was President Jimmy Carter, who had the band play at his 1977 inauguration.

The group is now led by founding member Doug Gray, the singer who's stuck through the band's more than 40 years and 5,000-some shows. Founding brothers Toy (the band's main songwriter) and Tommy Caldwell (bass) both passed away tragically young.


Any fan of the bluesy, countrified rock that characterized the great Southern bands of the 1970s probably already has The Marshall Tucker Band's classic 1973 self-titled debut or the 1977 Platinum-selling "Carolina Dreams." For the uninitiated or anyone looking to round out a collection, the 2011 Shout Factory "Greatest Hits" is the best bet.


"Can't You See," 1973. The band's first—and signature hit—features Jerry Eubanks on flute and has long since reached the status of country-rock standard, with covers by The Charlie Daniels Band, Waylon Jennings, Alabama and the Zac Brown Band.

"Heard It In A Love Song," 1977. The highest charting single by the band, this ode to the open road, country-music radio and sad good-byes reached No. 14.

"Virginia," 1975. There's a bit of slow-burn soul, courtesy of Eubanks on sax, that makes this lovelorn song one of the band's best unheralded moments.

"Fire on the Mountain," 1975. Henceforth to be known as "Fire on the Pitching Mound."

The Marshall Tucker band performs with Pegi Young and The Survivors at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. $25 - $34. 740-1000;

Joshua Levine,

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