Marty Robbins

Don't Let Me Touch You

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Billy Sherrill, the king of CBS country in the '70s, produced Don't Let Me Touch You in 1977, and his fondness for majestic string arrangements is a nice fit for a crooner as skilled as Marty Robbins. Sherrill helps bring out Marty's old-fashioned side, having him record a clutch of standards from the Great American Songbook -- "Try a Little Tenderness," "Harbor Lights," and "Return to Me" anchor the middle of the album, with the latter reaching six on Billboard's Country Singles chart, the same position achieved by the title track -- and the whole enterprise carries the unmistakable air of an easy listening crossover. Hints of harder country are apparent -- there's a stride piano and a little steel guitar, a subdued Western gait to a tempo -- but this is quiet, subdued music. If anything, Robbins is responsible for the suggestions of soft rock modernity here: he wrote "The Way I Loved You Best," "More Than Anything I Miss You," and "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow," each existing at the horizon line where buttoned-up tradition meets the colorful fads of today. It's enough to give Don't Let Me Touch You a slight lift out of its appealing somnolence.

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