Made up of four Lps (Just A Little Sentimental, Marty After Midnight, Portrait Of Marty and Devil Woman) plus eleven songs from singles this collection offers much for fans of the Country Music favourite (and true legend). While I have always preferred his country steeped story songs and hugely evocative western ballads (Gunfighter Ballads Vol 1 and 2), and always struggled with his more sophisticated fare of easy listening there is no denying even with the collection rich in popular old chestnuts dating back to the 1930s and 1940s.
Here you have two albums of the latter and two of the music to which I am drawn, and with his voice arguably at its peak Robbins can be heard in all his glory not only on the legendary “Devil Woman” but such other western gems as “Dusty Winds”, “Ghost Train” and “The Wine Flowed Freely” (all written by Marty’s piano player, Joe Babcock”) plus “Abilene Rose” (James B. Hosale), and the likes of Robbins’ own compositions “Jimmy Martinez”, “The Bend in The River”, “Lolean” and with barroom piano and an old tyme gospel feel “Sometimes I’m Tempted”. When he sings the likes of those listen Robbins is in a class of his own.
As noted the music is varied, and with a bunch of standards in “Unchained Melody”, “Too Young”, “Misty” and “Sunny Side Of The Street” plus “Pennies From Heaven” Marty Robbins sure had an eclectic taste. One only needs to hear him perform “No One Will Ever Know” (Mel Foree, Fred Rose), “Ain’t Life A Crying Shame” (Tony Senn, Harry McDowell) and it still leaves complete with country twang the terrific “Ruby Ann” (Lee Emerson Bellamy) as Marty shows a clean pair of heels.
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