Marty Robbins

Under Western Skies

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Four CDs covering Marty Robbins' complete Western recordings, 99 songs in all from 1958 until 1979. As a concept, Under Western Skies is cohesive and enjoyable, largely because Robbins' music, regardless of the particular year in which it was recorded, is unified thematically. It's also a superb showcase for Robbins' voice, one of the most versatile in country & western -- he was equally adept at rock & roll, traditional country, or Western ballads dating back 100 years or more, but he had a way of extending the latter genre's melodic beauty and lyricism without ever seeming repetitive. Thus, it wasn't just that Robbins was covering this repertory, but that he was doing it in ways that, as a solo artist of his era, were just about definitive. Disc One contains songs from Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs and parts of the follow-up record, More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. Disc Two is devoted to songs from Return of the Gunfighter and the rest of More Gunfighter Ballads, filled out with songs that only appeared previously in 1984 on a Bear Family vinyl release. By the mid-'60s, Robbins' voice was even better, richer and more confident on this material, and Disc Three reflects this. Disc Four extends up through 1979, and it's something of a tribute to Robbins' success with this repertory that precious little was left in the vaults for Bear Family or anyone else to unearth and issue for the first time. The accompanying booklet is 60 pages long, and while it does seem as though the essay is not as well organized as it might have been, it's interesting overall, highlighted with excellent photographs and accompanied by lyrics to each of the songs and a full sessionography.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:58
2 1:55
3 2:18
4 3:45
5 3:27
6 2:20
7 1:45
8 2:52
9 8:21
10 1:33
11 2:02
12 2:22
13 4:00
14 5:02
15 2:38
16 2:02
17 2:48
18 2:28
19 2:38
20 2:16
21 3:01
22 2:54
23 2:41
25 2:38
26 3:22
blue highlight denotes track pick