If you just want to listen to the song, here it is. Goes well with fishing, shower singing, car rides, summertime, karaoking.
DD: I want to start our new project of ‘you’ve got to listen to this song’ with a tune from a band that is criminally underrated. Everything that Lynyrd Skynyrd wishes they were exists in the Marshall Tucker Band. Now, I don’t know if I’d qualify myself as a super fan of the band (how much of an artists’ material do you need to know to be considered a fan?) but I know a good handful of their songs and own one of the records which qualifies me to write a blog on one of their songs.
The song is “Bob Away My Blues” and John, you need to listen to this song right now.
The smooth intro eases you into the mood TMTB is trying to put you in, in order to properly get the meaning of the song and then takes you for a nice easy ride with a nice little lesson in the end. It’s a tight 2 minutes and 51 seconds which makes it even more necessary that people listen to this song.
John, unlike the character in the song, you’re not a country boy who grew up in the suburbs but can you relate to the singer’s plight?
JS: If I had one song to explain your taste in music to some random person, I think this would be the song. Maybe I am saying that just because I just listened to it for like the 12tth time. It has everything that you enjoy:
(1) a whammy-barred, beach guitar intro that belongs on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack(2) a simple drum groove that sounds similar to the Oldies great “Green Onions”(3) Horns
So far, with this description, it could either be the Marshall Tucker Band or the band at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance on Back to the Future.
(4) The vocalist sounds a lot like Rufus Wainwright to me. (5) lyrics for the first 1:30 that would pair well with Lonesome Dove.
In short, I enjoyed this and it makes me want to explore MTB some more. EVERYONE knows “Can’t You See.” Even if 99% of the people who “know it” have no idea it is the Marshall Tucker Band…everyone has heard that song.
DD: I can’t explain why but reading your response and attaching “Bob Away My Blues” to my name as the best way to describe my musical interest welled me up with pride. While I was reading it I found myself wishing you were saying it out loud in front of Rob Gordon and his cronies standing inside Championship Vinyl so all the music nerds could hear.
That’s a good musical breakdown of the song and then your Lonesome Dove point is just *chef’s kiss.*I don’t care about lyrics until I care about lyrics and then I really care about lyrics and TMTB nails it in this song with the story they’re telling. I don’t care how this makes me sound but when I hear this song I can’t help but think that it speaks to the human condition and our longing to be back in nature, in paradise. I personally don’t want to go fishing all day but I wouldn’t mind picking some peaches and I think the song nails the peacefulness and the joy that comes with being out in the environment and enjoying all that it offers. Even a have a good ‘waller in the hay’ which I’m sure is very similar to a ‘roll in the hay.’
So let me be Stuart Smalley and ask you, how do the lyrics make you feel?
JS: They make me feel like I’m good enough and I’m smart enough. For real though – they make me feel happy and relaxed. Especially the part with the Maxwell coffee can. His happy place is with the Maxwell House coffee can and cane pole. As we get older, these are the types of songs and lyrics that resonate more now than they would have 20 years ago. We all start to relate to these types of stories as we get older….and we all can relate to finding that happy place with our respective equivalent of a Maxwell House coffee can.
DD: Yes, we’re getting old for sure. And there really is something about him mentioning Maxwell House that fits the narrative so well. It’s a very euphonious word in the first place but it’s also something so specific that you can tell these memories are palpable for the singer and easy to recall. The best kind of random memories are that way.
I also have always been intrigued by the relationship the singer has with his father. He obviously holds his dad in high regard since he attributes ‘old age’ as the only thing that could ‘whip my pa’ which is about as solid a record as one could have. He respects his dad so much that he takes his advice to ‘move to the city, make a little money, you might be the first one in the family to ever die with a smile’ but the advice turns into more of a lesson learned. So many songs tug on those heartstrings of parental advice but here in Bob Away my Blues we have both a reverence for a parental figure while also admitting that parents aren’t perfect. A lesson we could learn as parents and also how we should treat our own.
TMTB is a rare band for me whose big hits didn’t attract me to their music but now that I know their deeper cuts I really like their hits. I really think for years I had them pegged as another version of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
So if you’re going to check out one more song of theirs, check this one out. I hope the long instrumental doesn’t scare you away.
JS: I like this song (In My Own Way), a lot. I like it better than “Bob Away…” And I loved the instrumental. In this song, I can really hear the influence on modern singer/songwriter types. I am guessing that as I venture into more Marshall Tucker, I will find the same throughout their discography – is that still a thing?
DD: I know it is because when I look up albums by a band on Wikipedia they list them as their discography. But surely those days will be ending soon.
If you’re going to listen to one album of theirs to start off, I suggest their self-titled first album.
Glad you liked the song. Now, onto your ‘must listen to’ song of the week.