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Volume 7071

Room One
(Continued in Room 2)

Marty Robbins (Martin David Robinson) (1925.09.26-1982.12.08) born in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, was an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, and racing driver. He was one of the most popular and successful country and western singers of all time for most of his near four-decade career, Robbins often topped the country music charts, and several of his songs also had crossover success as pop hits.

    Among his warmer memories of his childhood, Robbins recalled having listened to stories of the American West told by his maternal grandfather, Texas Bob Heckle, who was a local medicine man. At 17, Robbins left his troubled home to serve in the United States Navy as an LCT coxswain during World War II. He was stationed in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. To pass the time during the war, he learned to play the guitar, started writing songs, and came to love Hawaiian music.

    Although by 1960 Robbins' output was largely country music, he had toured with Elvis Presley in 1955 and his initial hits like "Singing the Blues", "Knee Deep in the Blues", "The Story of My Life", "She Was Only Seventeen", and "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation" were generally regarded as more pop/teen idol material than his many hits from 1960 onwards ("El Paso" etc.).

When Robbins was recording his 1961 hit "Don't Worry", session guitarist Grady Martin accidentally created the electric guitar "fuzz" effect his six-string bass was run through a faulty channel in a mixing console. Robbins decided to keep it in the final version and it became a major hit #1 hit on the pop and country charts. The fuzz guitar sound soon became a staple effect with countless rock bands.

Robbins was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. Marty appeared in a long line of TV shows, documentaries and feature films. For his contribution to the recording industry, Robbins has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6666 Hollywood Boulevard.

Marty Robbins married Marizona "Mari" Baldwin on September 27, 1948. They had two children, Ronny and Janet, and were married for 34 years until his death at age 57 in Nashville. Marty had a long history of heart problems and was the recipient of the first triple bypass heart operation in the world.

I became a Marty Robbins fan after seeing his many TV performances on The Country Show back in the mid-50s. Then, during the early days of rock 'n' roll radio, he was had a series of major cross-over hits including "Singing the Blues" and "White Sport Coat"

I saw Marty in person shortly after his "El Paso" became a blockbuster hit. He and the band appeared in Oak River Dance Gardens -- not far from my hometown, Strathclair, MB. His lead guitarist was sick and Marty played lead and piano all night. . . much of the time sitting on the edge of the stage chatting with us between songs.

I still have the reel-to-reel tapes I recorded of the all-night Ralph Emery radio shows from WSM Nashville. Marty would guest on the show and sing phone-in requests for hours while accompanying himself on piano and guitar.

Sue-On and I saw Marty perform many times through the years -- most notably on the Grand Ole Opry at the original Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. For the Opry performances he would come on for the last segment at 11:30 pm, often after racing over at the raceway -- and would always run overtime past midnight while the folks over at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop would delay their live broadcast waiting for him to finish. A great entertainer.

Through the years Sue-On and I have performed many of Marty's songs on stage and TV -- across Canada, US and England: Singing the Blues ~ A White Sport Coat ~ Don't Worry ~ Devil Woman ~ You Gave Me A Mountain . . . and many others that he has made popular. 


Roots and Wings
Gig Notes from +50 Years On Stage


ERBzine 7059
Willcox: Intro/Contents
ERBzine 7060
2. Goodie Bag
ERBzine 7061
3. Journey and Arrival
ERBzine 7062
4. Exploring Willcox
ERBzine 7063
5. Huckster Room 
ERBzine 7064
6. Presentations
ERBzine 7065
7. Exploring Willcox II
ERBzine 7066
8. Fort Grant I
ERBzine 7067
9. Fort Grant II
ERBzine 7068
10. Fort Grant III
ERBzine 7069
11. Wind Up
ERBzine 7070: 
12. Rex Allen Museum
ERBzine 7071_7071a
13. Marty Robbins Museum
ERBzine 7072: 
14. Chiricahua Museum
ERBzine 7073
15. Billy the Kid
ERBzine 7081
16. Willcox History I
ERBzine 7082
17. Willcox History II
ERBzine 7083
18. Willcox History III
ERBzine 7084
19. Meet Kathy Klump
ERBzine 3469
20. ERB at Fort Grant
ERBzine Arizona
ERB in Wild West

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