Like many of us, my parents were responsible for my earliest musical tastes. I am fairly fortunate to have a father who had a fairly eclectic taste in music. The music that played in our home and on trips consisted of everything from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Paul Simon, from Willie Nelson to The Moody Blues. One singer that my father adored from his childhood was none other than the the classic American singer, Marty Robbins and the album he loved the most is today’s Stand Out Album, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs.
Why This Album?
I know every word of this album by heart. It is one that is seared into my very soul and I am thankful for it. There is something unique and real about Robbins and this album really showcases his talent. The man is a music legend, recording over 50 albums, 13 compilations and 100 singles, he also had 17 number one songs on the Billboard Hot country Songs.
While I can’t say I am a fan of modern country, there is something to be said for the classic singers of yesteryear. With this album, Marty Robbins captured the romanticized world of the Old West in only twelve songs, each song a story in itself. He presented every aspect of the old west from working on a ranch (A Hundred and Sixty Acres) to the dangers of hunting a wanted man (Big Iron) and he did so in a voice that just keeps you listening.
Anyone who takes the time to really listen to this album for it’s stories and ballads, will find something that takes them to a time when the west was wild and the cattle ran free. It invokes visions of classic John Wayne and Alan Ladd films coupled with the dusty trail of a cattle drive through the vast open plains in Texas. It brings you into the small one horse towns being tracked down by lawmen or facing the gallows and lamenting your pain. It is an amazing work of art and Marty manages to present each unique story like only he can.
This is an album that brings back fond memories for me when I was a kid. I remember listening to this album on a regular basis and enjoying each and every song. It was one my dad would play on the weekend with the front door open letting sunlight in as he nursed a glass of iced tea. I sometimes like spin this album when I need a moment of nostalgia or just something simple from my past. It never fails to make me smile.
You’ve probably heard this one before but the obvious choice is El Paso but I recommend the extended version that is on the CD as the final track. It clocks in about 20 seconds longer but adds a little more to the story.
My favorite track overall is the opening one, Big Iron. It tells the story of a stranger who is on the hunt for a vile outlaw. No one thinks this man can take the notorious Texas Red and he shows them what he is made of. It plays out like a classic Clint Eastwood film and the visuals it presents are just plain cool.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This is an album that I would be surprised if it ever went out of print. It is a masterpiece and one that everyone should listen to at least once. If you claim to appreciate music then you really need to experience the stories of Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. You can grab a copy here for around $12. Of course there is also Spotify.
Late to the Game 8/28/2018
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