This Southern-fried country ballad was written by George McCorkle, guitarist for the Marshall Tucker Band. Set during the California gold rush, it tells the story of a family that sets out from their home in Carolina looking to strike it rich. The singer ends up getting shot dead, and his widow is left with a worthless claim.
When George McCorkle wrote this song, he knew Charlie Daniels was working on an album called Fire on the Mountain, and was hoping Daniels would record it. Daniels liked the song and helped out by playing fiddle on the track, but he decided not to record it as he felt it didn't fit in with the rest of his album, which was released in 1974.
Daniels was a frequent Marshall Tucker collaborator, having been "blown away" by their performance when he first saw them onstage.
This was the first song George McCorkle brought to the band. "It wasn't really a thought-out song," he said in an interview with Craig Cumberland. "Me and my brother came up with the intro to it. The two of us were just playin' acoustics and that little hook line just came up from me and him sitting around playing."
Toy Caldwell played steel guitar on this track, but according to McCorkle, he played it out of tune because he had just recently bought the instrument and didn't know how to tune it properly.
The flute on this song comes courtesy of the band's multi-instrumentalist Jerry Eubanks.
A common point of confusion is "Where's Marshall Tucker?" There is no actual such person in the band; they got the name off the key to the door to the warehouse they rented to practice in. Marshall Tucker was the person who had rented the warehouse before them and his name was still inscribed on the key. Just think, they could have named their band "Yale" or "Master Lock!"
This was The Marshall Tucker Band's second-highest hit, the highest being "Heard It In A Love Song." It was also one of their only two Top 40 hits.
Rd from Can.Toy Caldwell wrote a bulk of Marshal Tucker's material but this is definitely a George McCorkle song. Doug Gray delivers another outstanding vocal.
Kyle from Pacific NorthwestFire on the Mountain was actually written by George McCorkle. Doug Gray, however, sang the song.
Colton from Concord, CaThis is one of the best songs I've ever heard in my life. The Marshall Tucker Band is one my most favorite bands. I like pretty much every song I've ever heard by them, and they have very many. This song however since I first discovered them was an instant tear jerker for me. It's one of a very few songs that no matter how many times I hear it, still brings tears to my eyes. The story of a man that heads west with his family in search of a heavenly land of unlimited fortune, - only to end up toiling in the dirt before losing his life over the greed for a worthless gold claim - is the typical experience of the many people caught up in the many 19th century American gold rushes. I like to think it's about CA since I've grown up in gold country, but it is probably about an earlier gold rush closer to Carolina. The pioneers who tamed the west for America are rarely appreciated for the mammoth hardships they had to overcome to make it the way it is today. This song shows u a rare glimpse of the REAL "Wild West", an unforgiving lawless land ruled by greed and corruption, a place that often brought out man's evil side, but is a testament to our ability with hope to overcome anything. Most importantly this song allows us a powerful taste of some of the emotions they must have experienced.
Bill from Pensacola, Fl"The last verse of the song makes no sense. It talks about how the singer got killed. But if he's dead, how can he still be singing?" Joshua thats the beauty of songs and poetry, the story can escape boundaries and dimensions. The singer can be here one minute and on another plane next as the story goes along. a lot of folk songs do this. It tells the whole story. and is sung about later by someone else, but still from the first person perspective. Most of MTB songs tell a story.
Dan from Winthrop, MaMarshall Tucker was a blind piano tuner who rented the warehouse before the band.
Scott from Dahlonega, GaToy Caldwell wrote many great songs. But Im pretty sure bandmate George McCorkle wrote this one.
Abe Celik from Fairfield Glade, TnIts great living in the TN mountains.
Joshua from New Berlin, WiThe last verse of the song makes no sense. It talks about how the singer got killed. But if he's dead, how can he still be singing?