We’ve recently gone through and started categorizing all of the old vinyl records that were in rotation at the Chicken throughout the 70’s and 80’s. It’s a treasure trove of such great music. Putting one of the records on and closing your eyes, you can almost transport yourself back to 1979 Dixie Chicken with bottles clinking, dominoes being slammed onto tables, and robust laughter from across the room.
That brings us to the record we’ve chosen to listen to today, Marshall Tucker Band’s 1977 Carolina Dreams. The blend of country, southern rock, and blues really characterizes Dixie Chicken music of the time. It was truly what “Progressive Country” stood for in those days. It was music that the hillbillies and the hippies could both latch on to and enjoy. The album cover was so worn, not only does it have the classic Dixie Chicken sticker to keep it together, the entire back cover has peeled away.
As you can see below, “Fly Like An Eagle” was one of those songs marked as a must-play at the Chicken. It’s not hard to hear why when you listen to it, with its infectious melody and upbeat attitude.
The album’s standout track, “Heard It In A Love Song” is an iconic Southern rock anthem, known for its catchy chorus and heartfelt lyrics, which resonate with anyone who has experienced the bittersweet feeling of love and leaving. It’s since been covered by local bands for decades and was recorded by Mark Chesnutt for his 2006 self-titled album.
The expressive lead guitar work, the opening horns, and Gray’s emotive singing on “I Should Have Never Started Lovin’ You” show the balance that the band was able to do hard southern rock to Mississippi blues, and make it all sound natural.
“Desert Skies” is another that showcases the range of the Marshall Tucker Band. Their country music skills or on full display with fiddle, steel guitar and imagery of life as a cowboy on the open range. Even with all of that, you still get a killer horn solo that makes it undeniably authentic to what the band was known for.
Carolina Dreams as a whole album takes the listener on a journey through the landscapes of the American South, with each track offering a unique perspective and emotional depth. The combination of lyrical storytelling, remarkable instrumentals, and Doug Gray’s passionate vocals cements this album as a quintessential piece of Dixie Chicken Music history. Each song adds its own layer to the rich tapestry of Southern rock, making this record a timeless classic that continues to resonate with music enthusiasts.