Marty Robbins

Essential Gunfighter Ballads & More

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Primo Records is a compilation label from the Czech Republic; they assemble solid collections of big name American roots artists primarily from the genres of country, blues, soul, and rhythm & blues, and sell them for budget prices. This set presents Marty Robbins signature Gunfighter Ballads album from 1959 with its chart-topping hit “El Paso,” and packages it with most of his singles from the '50s, going as far back as 1953 with “I’ll Go on Alone,” which hit the number one spot, and its follow-up, “Crying Cause I Love You.” His historically significant covers of Hank Williams' “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Kaw-Liga” are here, as are some of his rockabilly and rock & roll hits including “White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation,” and his readings of Chuck Berry's “Maybelline" and Little Richard Penniman's “Long Tall Sally.” In all, there are 40 cuts that run the range of Robbins' wildly diverse gift for interpretive song inside and outside of the country tradition, given his knack for nailing hit after hit with his singles during the period. Given the price, this is preferable to many other compilations that rely too heavily on the gunfighter songs and/or ballads he recorded after 1959. Certainly, Robbins had many hits in the '60s and even into the ‘70s, but these '50s sides are inarguably among the best in his catalog.

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