Marshall Tucker Band – Fire On The Mountain

And there’s fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there

This morning there will be 3 southern rock songs. Two well-known and one of my favorite album cuts. I live in the south…so I don’t know if it is a self-conscious thing with me but I don’t feature much southern rock. When some of my classmates were listening to Lynyrd Skynrd, Marshall Tucker, and The Allman Brothers…my feet were stuck firmly in the UK in the 1960’s…and really they never left…I just expanded some.

Now, I see music fans that really get into this music in Germany, UK, and all over the world. It’s made me appreciate what was in my own backyard.

This song sounds older than what it is…The chorus is catchy and is southern as you can get. Since I live in the south I have been bombarded with Southern Rock but I’ve been listening to it recently and have started to enjoy more of it.

This country-rock 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 song peaked at #38 in the Billboard 100 and #81 in Canada in 1975.

Many say that Toy Caldwell was the soul of that band. He was a Marine in the 60s and served in Vietnam. After getting injured he was able to go home and started to play music with his high school friends. Toy and his brother helped start Marshall Tucker.

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.

Toy stayed with Marshall Tucker until he left in 1984. Contributing to him leaving was the fact that his brother… co-founder of the band and bass guitarist Tommy Caldwell, was killed at age 30 in an automobile accident on April 28, 1980. Toy’s other brother Tim Caldwell, who on March 28, 1980, one month prior to Tommy’s death, was killed at age 25 in a collision in South Carolina.

Gregg Allman: When we wanted to get away from our old ladies, we’d head on down to Grant’s Lounge, which was a great place to hang out. We saw a lot of bands, including Marshall Tucker, or Mother Tucker, as we called them. Toy Caldwell was a good friend of mine, but I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the rest of them. Toy Caldwell was Marshall Tucker—he made that band what it was.

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.


Fire On The Mountains

Took my family away from our Carolina home
Had dreams about the west and started to roam
Six long months on a dust covered trail
They say heaven’s at the end
But so far it’s been hell

And there’s fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there

We were digging and shifting from five to five
Selling everything we found just to stay alive
Gold flowed free like the whiskey in the bars
Sinning was the big thin Lord
And Satan was the star

And there’s fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there

Dance hall girls were the evening treat
Empty cartridges and blood lined the gutters of the street
Men were shot down for the sake of fun
Or just to hear the noise of their 44 guns

And there’s fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there

Now my widow, she weeps by my grave
Tears flow free for her man she couldn’t save
Shot down in cold blood by a gun that carried fame
All for a useless and no good worthless claim

And there’s fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there

Fire on the mountain
Lightening in the air
Gold in them hills and it’s waiting for me there
Waiting for me there

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Marshall Tucker Band – Fire On The Mountain”

  1. Nice backstory about your roots in music which is awesome. I thought the Pretenders were hit hard by tragedy early on but these guys man that’s rough.
    Allman tells it like it is doesn’t he? ouch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea Allman doesn’t beat around the bush.

      Thanks Deke…yea I was “southerned out” as a kid but I’m listening to it again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What comes around goes around or the more things change the more they stay the same to quote two bands. ( Ratt and Cinderella) lol


  2. Nice tune!

    Well, the times they are a-changin’ – had you played that song to me 10 years ago or so, I might have replied ‘I don’t listen to hillbilly music!’ My taste has definitely evolved since then!😀

    I primarily know Marshall Tucker Band for “Can’t You See”, which I dig, and always assumed that tune was their big hit.

    Well, I guess there’s yet another band I should explore!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was the same way! I thought people thought I had to like this music just because of where I lived and I rebelled against it.

      I’ve come to realize there is a lot of British rock in there because of the influence and just to enjoy it. Also many more influences that I like.

      I didn’t want to be a stereotypical southern person but then I thought… that is crazy… just enjoy the music and be happy.

      I went as far as changing my accent lol…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! See, that’s the difference between you and me.

        I wouldn’t mind sounding more American when talking but simply have not been able to get rid of my German accent – especially when I get tired! I suppose after having lived in this country for good since 1997, it’s safe to assume that won’t change!😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Be proud of it Christian.

        People say I sound like I’m from Oklahoma…So I guess I succeeded but I didn’t know Oklahoma people sounded different.

        I didn’t want to sound like: Ya’ll Come Back Now Ya Hear?
        That kind of stuff. I was really self conscious about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Southern rock? I’d say “Southern Country”. But… I like it. Pretty catchy and I do like slide guitars. Don’t know that I’ve heard this one before… obviously wasn’t as big in Canada as in the states.
    My HS years were similar to yours in that local content seemed to rule. For me, that meant people were obsessed with Rush and Triumph. I didn’t care much for either, although as years go by since school I’ve come to like Rush a whole lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea it has that country/folkish feel to it. The chorus is pretty catchy.

      I saw Triumph open up for someone…that guitar player is incredible. Yes local content was pushed hard…Charlie Daniels and like I said before…Bob Seger and the Eagles were adopted by the south.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea it’s rooted in that also. It’s a fascinating song. The Grateful Dead has their own Fire On The Mountain that I like on Shakedown Street I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No they are not as known…Skynyrd has more popular album cuts like “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe” and others… Marshall Tucker was known more for their singles…at least here. Toy Caldwell was awesome. I agree…The Allmans were a different animal than the rest.


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