Personnel: Marty Robbins (vocals, guitar); Thomas Grady Martin, Jack H. Prett
(guitar); Bob Moore (bass); Louis Dunn (drums); The Glaser Brothers (background vocals).
Producer: Don Law.
Reissue producer: Al Quaglieri.
Recorded at Bradley Film & Recording, Nashville, Tennessee on April 7, 1959.
Includes liner notes by Billy Altman.
Digitally remastered by Joseph M. Palmaccio (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
This is part of Legacy's American Milestones series.
Country singer Marty Robbins recorded many different kinds of music in his career, from rock & roll to Hawaiian love songs, but it's with this collection (particularly with the hit song "El Paso") that he is most remembered. This beautifully remastered 1960 album is a combination of traditional songs and Robbins' originals, all with themes of life in the Old West, or story-songs with a Western setting. This is not country music per se--there's no twang or pedal steel guitar to be heard--but clean-picked acoustic guitars (with elements of American and Mexican folk music throughout), soft drums, a chorus of close harmony, and the suave, mellow, distinctive voice of Marty Robbins. The songs are about work, love, travel, death, the beauty of the American West, and living life on your own terms--and paying the price for it. In some ways, Marty Robbins was the Nat "King" Cole of country music--that voice could take you out of your reality into another.
Rolling Stone (9/20/70, p.35) - "...Robbins has a beautiful voice and these are great songs...there simply aren't any rock singers capable of such precise melodic balladry as Marty Robbins..."
Q (11/96, p.162) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...He sang bloodsoaked ballads of the Wild West...with a manly sincerity that could make cattle obedient and hard-bitten outlaws take up Bible studies."
Dirty Linen (2-3/00, pp.63,65) - "...may cause one to wax nostalgic and remember the national obsession with cowboys, outlaws, and western movies..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/00, p.118) - "...a concept album about the American West and contains Robbins' signature song 'El Paso'....a fine example of how Robbins' rural-Arizona upbringing gave his choice of career a deep authenticity....life-affirming stuff."