by Julian Spivey
The Marshall Tucker Band and Confederate Railroad had the folks at the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock rocking and rolling with great Southern rock and country music on Sunday night (Oct. 16).
Confederate Railroad who had a string of country charting hits in the early ‘90s opened up the show at 7 p.m. performing what could be summed up as their greatest hits.
The highlight of their set was when the group played their highest charting hit “Queen of Memphis,” which made it to number two on the country chart in 1992. The group also performed their first hit “Jesus and Mama,” which went to number four in 1992.
Confederate Railroad lead singer Danny Shirley has a very raspy voice which works well on faster, upbeat songs like “Queen of Memphis” and “Elvis and Andy,” but it’s almost completely shot on slower songs, which is unfortunate because many of the group’s best songs are indeed slower.
This proved to be bothersome on tunes like “When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back” and “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind.”
The group also performed some of their singles like “She Never Cried,” “Bill’s Laundromat, Bar and Grill” and “White Trash with Money,” but their surprise of a Waylon Jennings medley including “Lonesome, On’ry & Mean,” “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and “Good Hearted Woman” proved to be a highlight.
Confederate Railroad ended their set with their tacky and tasteless hit “Trashy Women,” which despite its horridness, proved to be a fan-favorite getting the majority of the crowd on their feet dancing along.
After a quick stage change, the Marshall Tucker Band, one of Southern rock’s most notable and greatest bands, took the stage.
Marshall Tucker Band kicked off their set with one of their greatest hits, “This Ol’ Cowboy,” from their 1974 album “Where We All Belong.” The song, that turned into a jam session like many of their other performances during the hour and a half set, featured great flute playing from Marcus James Henderson, who always proved handy on keyboards and with the saxophone throughout the show.
Vocalist Doug Gray, the group’s only remaining original member, actually gave lead vocals to many others in the band throughout the night as he seemed content just to bang along on his tambourine.
The highlights of the Marshall Tucker Band set where “Fire on the Mountain,” from their 1975 album “Searchin’ for a Rainbow,” and “Take the Highway” and “Can’t You See,” maybe their most recognizable hit, from their 1973 self-titled debut album.
The best performance of the night by the band was their finale of their greatest song, and personally a top 20 all time rock song for me, “Heard It In a Love Song,” from 1977, which featured Gray on vocals and a killer flute solo from Henderson.