I was driving on a back road outside Allentown today. (You don’t have to get too far outside town before you run into farmland.)
And I saw this humble, possibly handmade sign.
Yes … early next week, a band that once logged eight Top 40 albums and two Top 40 singles will be performing at the Kempton Community Center.
Kempton is a village of fewer than 200 people, part of the thriving rock’n’roll hotbed that is Albany Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
And the Kempton Community Center, judging from its website, appears to be little more than a metal roof on poles.
(For that matter, the Marshall Tucker Band is not what it once was, with guitarist-singer Doug Gray the only remaining member from the group’s ’70s heyday.)
It seemed to me, as I drove through farmland listening to Chic, to be a classic glass-half-empty/glass-half-full question.
Is it sad or pitiable that these guys are still trucking the faded banner of the Marshall Tucker Band around to any out-of-the-way rural fairgrounds that can hold a couple hundred people?
Or, do these guys get to laugh at all us working stiffs simply because they play music for a living? If you have the right mindset, a metal roof on poles is a better place to work than an office or a warehouse, and a Les Paul is far superior to a laptop in the realm of work accessories.
I’m not a Marshall Tucker fan, and I won’t be going to Kempton, but I lean slightly toward giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Musicians play music, whether it’s cool or fashionable or successful or not. And if they can still draw people to come listen, they win, on the most fundamental of levels.
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This is pretty much the only Marshall Tucker tune I like; I encountered it on the radio once, and its Western swing caught my ear.
Maybe they’ll play it in Kempton … a long loose 10-minute version where everyone gets three solo choruses, and nobody in the audience much minds.