Carolina Christmas [sound recording]

From Jackie Cantwell
Carolina Christmas [sound recording] / The Marshall Tucker Band     
You may know the Marshall Tucker Band from their 70’s hits such as “Heard it in a Love Song” and ”Fire on the Mountain.” They’re known for Southern rock, with R&B, blues and country influences.  You probably don’t know they recorded a Christmas album.  There are standards such as “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” sung by Chris Hicks and Doug Gray respectively. On “Christmas in Carolina,” there’s a fantastic saxophone solo by David Muse.  A beautiful rendition of “I’ll be home for Christmas” is sung by Gabrielle Gray Leopard (Doug’s daughter), with acoustic guitar by Clay Cook (Doug’s nephew). “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” features a saxophone solo by Jerry Eubanks. “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” is a jazzed up version with lead vocals by Clay Cook. “Jingle Bells” features lead vocals by Doug Gray (who also did the arrangement) and a chorus of family members. Nothing says a redneck Christmas like time in the county lockup.  And in this case, it’s Spartanburg, SC for a DWI on the track “Christmas in Custody,” written and sung by Barry “B.B.” Borden. Borden also plays drums on this track. (You kind of have to wonder who the intended audience was for this disc).  There is a bluesy version of “Merry Christmas Baby” with lead guitar by Stuart Swanlund. “Snowfall in Georgia” features David Muse on flute, which reminds me of all the classic tunes by this band. “Leave the Christmas Lights On” has a country feel, owing to the lead vocals of Doug Gray and Chris Hicks. The album concludes with a sober reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Doug Gray. There are also some well-researched liner notes by Barry Alfonso. Although it’s a bit of a motley collection, I’ll give it an A- for putting me in the Christmas mood in June!

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