Walk Outside the Lines, circa 1993, was the band's second release on the Cabin Fever label. It is the Tucker Boys most commercial release, in a country sense, of any of their albums. Recorded in Nashville, it was produced by Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks and engineered by longtime collaborator Billy Sherrill, with assistance from Rusty Milner. While Walk Outside the Lines lacks the trademark Tucker jams that we're accustomed to, it symbolizes the maturation and growth of the band, particularly by Tim, Rusty and Stuart Swanlund.
- R standing: Tim Lawter, Paul Thompson, Ron Radofrd, Gary Guzzardo, and Rusty
Seated L - R: Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks
The CD gets a
jump-start from the beginning with "Walk Outside the Lines," a tune
co-written by Garth Brooks and Charley Stefl. Released as both a single
and video, it received considerable airplay on country radio stations and video
channels. The video, which is still plays occasionally on Dance Ranch,
features the boys and a chorus of line dancers. The song is an infectious
ditty about the frustration of suburban life, traffic jams, and the need to kick
your heels every once in awhile. With Doug's upbeat vocals centered around
a fiddle, it's hard not to cut the rug to this song.
Tim Lawter's paean to
his father, "Daddy's Eyes," slows down the tempo considerably.
It is a reflective song about a child dealing with the realization that his
father is aging, and is both somber and poignant.
"If That Isn't
Love" is a simple song that questions the definition of love. Co-written by
Doug and Tim, this song features a dobro and an ending riff reminiscent of
"Virginia" on Searchin' For A Rainbow. A gem from the CD
is "Down We Go," which was also released as a single and video on
country formats, about an imperiled relationship and the hardships associated
with its demise. The video, filmed in black and white, catches the mood
The theme turns more
optimistic with "She's Waiting," which deals with the frustrations of
a woman whose love interest fails to meet her needs. Jerry's sax and a guitar
solo at he interlude seem to empathize with the lady's frustration.
is a soulful and upbeat song about the yearning for a romance from days gone by.
"Daddy Never Knew," a funky tune that features a slide guitar, tells
the story about a son confronting the tribulations of love and the misgivings of
his father's advice.
The next two songs
were both penned by Rusty. The first finds the storyteller acknowledging
that, while he fondly recalls the good times of a love-gone-wrong, he'll also be
"Alright Without You." The next is about a man confronting the
doubts he has in his relationship, yet not wanting to be "The First One to
Say Goodbye." Both songs, considering their themes, are unusually
optimistic and feature Jerry's classic sax work.
The CD closes out with
the standout cut "Lost in Time." Written by Doug and Rusty, it
is a painful look back at a young man whose "number was called" for
the Vietnam War and the desolation he faces upon his return. Guitar solos
and Doug's strong vocal performance drive home the anger and frustration that
torments this veteran.
This release marks an
evolution for the band, particularly in the songwriting of Tim and Rusty.
It also indicates that they will be a vital force for years to come, offering
innovative and relevant material, rather than merely capitalizing on the success
of their past.
Walk Outside the Lines is a solid Marshall Tucker Band release, featuring heart-felt lyrics, fine musicianship and incredible vocals from Doug Gray. Had it been released by a major record label with the financing to market it appropriately, I believe this CD would have catapulted the band to the forefront of country music.
RETURN TO MAIN PAGE