Marlin Greene started his career in the music business in the late 50s, when he released a number of teen-pop singles on a variety of labels. He was part of the Muscle Shoals music scene, and performed in bands (as both guitarist and trumpeter) with musicians who would would later go on work at Rick Hall's Fame Studios. When Quin Ivy set up his Norala Studio in 1965, Hall reccomended Greene when Ivy was looking for an engineer and A&R man. Ivy cut him in for 10% of his new venture, and Greene became his right-hand man in the studio. Shortly afterwards he married Jeanie Johnson, who had come to record as a solo artist at Norala (she soon settled into work as a backing singer).
Norala took off with the success of Percy Sledge (it was Greene who played the lead guitar on "When A Man Loves A Woman"), and Greene was kept busy as an engineer, producer, guitarist and songwriter. For most of his songwriting he partnered with guitarist Eddie Hinton, and their compositions were recorded by Sledge and many other R&B artists at Norala. In 1969 he and Hinton both migrated from Norala to the newly-opened Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where he continued to work as a producer and musician, though he often returned for Norala for Percy Sledge sessions.
In 1972 he recorded a solo album at Muscle Shoals Sound with help from all his musician friends, including Hinton, guitarist Wayne Perkins (whom he co-wrote two of the songs with), pianist Chuck Leavell and the studio's rhythm section (and owners) David Hood, Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins. Considering his background in soul music, Tiptoe Past The Dragon was something notably different, with a mellow, acoustic-based folk-rock sound.