Marty Robbins

Long Long Ago

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As Germany's Bear Family continued its extraordinary, prolific unearthing of the vast, varied Marty Robbins Columbia archive after his death, Nashville wasn't nearly as thorough in those years. Probably the most significant issue was this double-LP set of sessions from the 1960s, assembled by Chip Young in a hopscotch, almost random manner, freely mixing ten outtakes equally with ten commercial releases. Some of this material had been claimed first by Bear Family, other unreleased tracks soon found their ways into the Bear Family projects, and according to a Bear Family discography, some of the material marked "previously released" may indeed be new, too. While this is by no means an all-encompassing survey of the bewildering number of styles that Robbins was involved with in the 1960s, it is an amazingly even anthology in quality; it's hard to tell the outtakes from the commercial releases without a scorecard. The Robbins Western catalog gets the most interesting additions -- nine in all -- including "When the Work's All Done This Fall"; a fine, mellifluous, to-the-manner-born "Ghost Riders in the Sky"; "Night Time on the Desert"; a jumping "The Roving Gambler"; and Sons of the Pioneers-influenced tracks like "Wind" and "Chant of the Wanderer." Amidst the remainder, listeners will encounter some straightforward P.D. adaptations like the title track and Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer," and Robbins' own "To Be in Love With Her" amounts to a cocktail lounge tune of a Tin Pan Alley nature. À la Bear Family, Columbia also includes a few studio countoffs, take announcements, and studio chatter.

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