Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
Culled from a wide variety of sources and over 20 years of history, Shout! Factory and The Country Music Hall of Fame have struck gold once again with their Legendary Performances series and a definitive look back at the career of Marty Robbins. Beginning with a performance of “Knee Deep in the Blues” from 1957 and ending with “All Around Cowboy” from 1979, this DVD features 15 of Marty’s biggest hits and showcases his ability to handle cowboy ballads, country & western, pop, and even play the blues.
I have to admit to knowing very little about Marty Robbins prior to watching this disc, but I definitely walked away with a newfound respect. Sure, I’d heard the big hits like “El Paso” and “Singing the Blues,” but that barely scratches the surface of the man’s range. Even in the early days, he was quite a showman, a talent that served him well as he adapted his amazing voice to fit a variety of styles of music and even host his own television show in the late ‘60s. Several performances featured on this disc were taken from that very show.
Did I mention the voice? Like butter. Like butter wrapped in silk and dipped in honey. My god, this man must’ve driven the women crazy back in the day.
Beyond the performances, there’s a fairly in-depth interview with Marty that must’ve been done just before his death in 1982 in which he discusses his long career, his relationship with the fans, and the type of music he performed. As I stated earlier, though he was known primarily as a singer of country & western music, he regularly crossed over into the pop charts and was known for his eclectic style, even touching on an array of world music. Versatility was the name of this man’s game, and he impressed me with not only his musical ability, but also his knowledge and kindness. He actually struck me as being a very genuine guy.
The thing I really like about this Legendary Performances series is watching the musical and clothing styles change as well as the television production values. A lot of these rare performances could easily be lost to the sands of time if not for the fine folks at The Country Music Hall of Fame. I don’t consider these discs to be simply entertainment; I honestly consider them to be a history lesson. There’s a lot to be learned about the history of music, television and performance. There’s a certain sense of dignity and class to this era of music. While the clothing may be out of style, the songs are timeless.
The list of performances includes:
1) Knee Deep in the Blues (1957)
2) The Same Two Lips (1957)
3) Nothing But Sweet Lies (1959)
4) Singing The Blues (1958)
5) The Story of My Life (1959)
6) El Paso (1965)
7) Devil Woman (1969)
8) Begging To You (1969)
9) My Woman, My Woman, My Wife (1970)
10) Ribbon of Darkness (1976)
11) Among My Souvenirs (1976)
12) A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation) (1977)
13) Don’t Worry (1977)
14) El Paso City (1978)
15) All Around Cowboy (1979)