Marty Robbins is best remembered for being one of the most popular country artists of all time. During his career, beginning in 1952 and lasting until his untimely death at the age of 57 during 1982, he placed over 90 singles and 30 albums on The United States Country Charts. Fourteen of his singles reached number one and fourteen of his albums cracked the top 10.
He also crossed over onto the pop charts on a number of occasions. Songs such as his number one hit “El Paso,” plus “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation),” “Singing The Blues,” “Don’t Worry,” and “Big Iron” all became big hits on the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles Chart. His series of Gunfighter Ballad albums also crossed over onto the pop album charts.
He was also a successful driver on the NASCAR circuit in his spare time. He participated in 35 races including the 1973 Daytona 500.
Rockin’ Rollin’ Robbins takes his music in a different direction. It does not contain any of his biggest hits, but instead concentrates upon his rockabilly oriented material, issued between 1953-1958. It was a well thought out release as it presents material that is usually ignored. My only real complaint is I wish the songs had been presented in chronological order.
“It’s A Long Long Ride” is the oldest track having been recorded September 19, 1953. Johnny Gamble’s fiddle may place the song in the country style, but it is a raw effort that comes close to early rock ‘n’ roll.
A number of classic early rock tunes were covered by Robbins. Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right” and Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” (spelled wrong on the album and his original release} are rockabilly personified. He had a top 30 hit with his version of “Singing The Blues,” but Guy Mitchell would top the singles charts for 10 weeks with his pop version. I have always preferred Robbins take on the song. He also rocks out on the classic “Long Tall Sally.”
He also proved he could write good songs during this early period of his career. Tunes such as “Mister Teardrop,” “Respectfully Miss Brooks,” “Pretty Mama,” “Pain And Misery,” and “Mean Mama Blues” are all nice to have available.
Rockin’ Rollin’ Robbins would make an excellent addition to the collection of any Marty Robbins fan. While he would quickly go in a pop direction and then on to a long country career, which would lead to his induction into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, at this point he was producing music that helped to shape early rock ‘n’ roll. The album not only contains 19 tracks of good music, but is a nice look at the history and evolution of fifties music.
Article first published as Music Review: Marty Robbins – Rockin’ Rollin’ Robbins on Blogcritics.