Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Song #94: "El Paso"--Marty Robbins (1959)

Eisenhower was well into his second term as President, the Braves were still in Milwaukee, and Perry Mason was in his third season of making Hamilton Burger look back on CBS.

(Did You Know?--The executive producer of "Perry Mason", Gail Patrick Jackson, saw William Talman, the actor who played Burger, in a 1953 movie and wanted him from the start of casting the show. Raymond Burr came in and read for Burger's part. Jackson told him to lose weight and read for the lead role. The rest is history.)

That's a brief snapshot of late 1959 when Marty Robbins released the album "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs". From it came his signature song, which I discovered in the early 1970's.

There was plenty of country music sounding out through the parsonage way back when in my early years in Beaverdam. The radio was either on WXGI or WRVA most of the time (or WFLS-FM in Fredericksburg for Baltimore Orioles baseball), so, when it was on 950 on the dial, Pop The Storekeeper and Johnny Gee from Tennessee gave us the best in, well, I'll say it, real country music. Today's stuff doesn't compare. Period.

On the record player, Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton (whom we heard from earlier in the countdown) and a large greatest hits collection that included unforgettable tunes that didn't make our list like "Waterloo" from Stonewall Jackson and "May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" from Little Jimmy Dickens.

Out of all of that comes the story of cowboy who arrives in El Paso, Texas, finds the love of his life, sees another man cozy up to her, makes the challenge, kills him in cold blood, runs from the scene, can't take it anymore in exile, and loses his life just to get "one little kiss" before his demise comes.

Here's El Paso. I have to go now. Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel a deep burning pain in my side.  :)

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