Marty Robbins

Ruby Ann: Rockin' Rollin' Robbins, Vol. 3

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Although the vast bulk of Marty Robbins' rockabilly sides were made in a concentrated period in the mid-'50s, the impulse to rock resurfaced now and then in the 1960s -- and he did some of his best rock & roll work then in fits and starts. Vol. 3 of the Rockin' Rollin' Robbins series gathers ten tracks released on singles and two alternate takes -- and yes, the best of them do rock in a smooth, Nashville manner. Side one contains most of the gold -- "No Signs of Loneliness Here," the insistent hit single "Ruby Ann," "While You're Dancing," and maybe the best one of all, "Teenager's Dad," where Robbins does an extraordinary job of swinging with a cool, easygoing command of the groove. The unreleased alternate take of "Ruby Ann," made two months after the authorized take, is also pretty good, but the vocal lacks the sure, rhythmic feeling of the released version. Side two leads off with "Cap and Gown" and "Last Night About This Time," a 1959 single that sounds like a hangover from the Ray Conniff sessions (Vol. 2 of the RRR series), reeking of prom time in the suburbs. Alas, Bear Family cheats on the last four tracks, for these are just standard country ballads and honky-tonkers of the period; guess they ran out of rockers in the vaults. But if you can locate this impeccably pressed import, grab it for the great stuff on side one.

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