Discussion:
The Number Ones: Marty Robbins’ “El Paso”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-22 21:39:17 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Marty Robbins – “El Paso”
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks

At nearly five minutes, Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” is the Infinite Jest of early chart-toppers. “El Paso” isn’t a dynamic song, exactly; it doesn’t swell with instrumentation as it goes along or build to some towering musical crescendo. Robbins just needs that time to tell his story, about a gunfighter so jealously in love that he commits murder and so blindly needy that he rides to his own certain death to see his loved one last time. It’s a classic Western story, and Robbins tells it with the patience, the weight, and the eye for detail of a great filmmaker.

Robbins, a World War II veteran and canon-level country star who also became a NASCAR driver in the early days of the sport, wrote “El Paso” himself. So Robbins is to blame, then, for the way he draws Felina, the song’s “Mexican girl,” as some sort of scheming witch (“blacker than night were the eyes of Felina, wicked and evil while casting a spell”) when all she does wrong is have a drink with some guy. But Robbins isn’t singing as himself. His narrator is a guy who’s driven into a murderous rage by the mere sight of this girl with another guy. And Robbins gets credit for some great writing, like the head-spinning moment when his narrator turns into a murderer: “Just for a moment, I stood there in silence / Shocked by the foul, evil deed I had done / Many thoughts raced through my head as I stood there / I had but one chance, and that was to run.” And Robbins is also solely responsible for the moment when we realize we’re listening to the story of a dead man. It’s an iconic story, vivid and wide in scope, and it’s pretty amazing that he was able to squeeze it into less than five minutes.

The storytelling in “El Paso” is so powerful that it’s easy to overlook what a masterful piece of music it is. Robbins sings over a simple Western shuffle, but the Spanish guitars that wind through it give it all these tiny melodies, these little accents that set it even further apart. And the way Robbins sings it is quietly stunning, too. Robbins has a warm presence to his voice, and he keeps it calm and reserved throughout. Every once in a while, though, he lets passion and desperation creep in: “Wild as the West Texas wiiiiiiiind!” It’s just a hell of a performance, a straight-up country classic that continues to bewitch.

GRADE: 9/10
SavoyBG
2018-11-23 00:39:52 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
The storytelling in “El Paso” is so powerful that it’s easy to overlook what a masterful piece of music it is.
Not to us who don't pay attention to the story, although I don't agree about it being masterful. I may know better than this guy since I was not distracted by the story.
Bob Roman
2018-11-23 18:15:14 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bob Roman
The storytelling in “El Paso” is so powerful that it’s easy to overlook
what a masterful piece of music it is.
Not to us who don't pay attention to the story, although I don't agree
about it being masterful. I may know better than this guy since I was not
distracted by the story.
Consider poor Marty Robbins. He had no choice but to pay attention to the story. He must not not have been able to focus in on the music at all.

--
BR
SavoyBG
2018-11-23 18:41:27 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bob Roman
The storytelling in “El Paso” is so powerful that it’s easy to overlook
what a masterful piece of music it is.
Not to us who don't pay attention to the story, although I don't agree
about it being masterful. I may know better than this guy since I was not
distracted by the story.
Consider poor Marty Robbins. He had no choice but to pay attention to the story. He must not not have been able to focus in on the music at all.
He likely did not play guitar on the record. Many times they would bring in another guitarist or pianist so the vocalist could just worry about singing. Like the Everly Brothers did not play on any of their Cadence sides. They brought in Chet Atkins and others to play.
Roger Ford
2018-11-23 19:05:17 UTC
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The storytelling in =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D is so powerful that it=
=E2=80=99s easy to overlook
what a masterful piece of music it is.
Not to us who don't pay attention to the story, although I don't agree =
about it being masterful. I may know better than this guy since I was n=
ot
distracted by the story.
Consider poor Marty Robbins. He had no choice but to pay attention to the=
story. He must not not have been able to focus in on the music at all.
He likely did not play guitar on the record. Many times they would bring in=
another guitarist or pianist so the vocalist could just worry about singin=
g. Like the Everly Brothers did not play on any of their Cadence sides. The=
y brought in Chet Atkins and others to play.
I believe it's Grady Martin on guitar on "El Paso"

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Bob Roman
2018-11-23 19:23:51 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Bob Roman
Post by SavoyBG
Not to us who don't pay attention to the story, although I don't agree
about it being masterful. I may know better than this guy since I was
not distracted by the story.
Consider poor Marty Robbins. He had no choice but to pay attention to
the story. He must not not have been able to focus in on the music at
all.
He likely did not play guitar on the record. Many times they would bring
in another guitarist or pianist so the vocalist could just worry about
singing. Like the Everly Brothers did not play on any of their Cadence
sides. They brought in Chet Atkins and others to play.
Lets ask Jim.
Hey Jim, what say you? Do you have trouble keeping track of the music when you pay attention to what the words mean?

--
BR
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-23 00:43:08 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Marty Robbins ­ ³El Paso²
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
At nearly five minutes, Marty Robbins¹ ³El Paso² is the Infinite Jest of
early chart-toppers. ³El Paso² isn¹t a dynamic song, exactly; it doesn¹t
swell with instrumentation as it goes along or build to some towering musical
crescendo. Robbins just needs that time to tell his story, about a gunfighter
so jealously in love that he commits murder and so blindly needy that he
rides to his own certain death to see his loved one last time. It¹s a classic
Western story, and Robbins tells it with the patience, the weight, and the
eye for detail of a great filmmaker.
Robbins, a World War II veteran and canon-level country star who also became
a NASCAR driver in the early days of the sport, wrote ³El Paso² himself. So
Robbins is to blame, then, for the way he draws Felina, the song¹s ³Mexican
girl,² as some sort of scheming witch (³blacker than night were the eyes of
Felina, wicked and evil while casting a spell²) when all she does wrong is
have a drink with some guy. But Robbins isn¹t singing as himself. His
narrator is a guy who¹s driven into a murderous rage by the mere sight of
this girl with another guy. And Robbins gets credit for some great writing,
like the head-spinning moment when his narrator turns into a murderer: ³Just
for a moment, I stood there in silence / Shocked by the foul, evil deed I had
done / Many thoughts raced through my head as I stood there / I had but one
chance, and that was to run.² And Robbins is also solely responsible for the
moment when we realize we¹re listening to the story of a dead man. It¹s an
iconic story, vivid and wide in scope, and it¹s pretty amazing that he was
able to squeeze it into less than five minutes.
The storytelling in ³El Paso² is so powerful that it¹s easy to overlook what
a masterful piece of music it is. Robbins sings over a simple Western
shuffle, but the Spanish guitars that wind through it give it all these tiny
melodies, these little accents that set it even further apart. And the way
Robbins sings it is quietly stunning, too. Robbins has a warm presence to his
voice, and he keeps it calm and reserved throughout. Every once in a while,
though, he lets passion and desperation creep in: ³Wild as the West Texas
wiiiiiiiind!² It¹s just a hell of a performance, a straight-up country
classic that continues to bewitch.
GRADE: 9/10
Suppose this means he's going to love "Tell Laura I Love Her."
--
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_________
Remove xx's from address to reply
SavoyBG
2018-11-23 01:10:25 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Suppose this means he's going to love "Tell Laura I Love Her."
We won't find out, it was not number one.
Roger Ford
2018-11-23 07:12:17 UTC
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2018 18:43:08 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Marty Robbins ­ ³El Paso²
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
At nearly five minutes, Marty Robbins¹ ³El Paso² is the Infinite Jest of
early chart-toppers. ³El Paso² isn¹t a dynamic song, exactly; it doesn¹t
swell with instrumentation as it goes along or build to some towering musical
crescendo. Robbins just needs that time to tell his story, about a gunfighter
so jealously in love that he commits murder and so blindly needy that he
rides to his own certain death to see his loved one last time. It¹s a classic
Western story, and Robbins tells it with the patience, the weight, and the
eye for detail of a great filmmaker.
Robbins, a World War II veteran and canon-level country star who also became
a NASCAR driver in the early days of the sport, wrote ³El Paso² himself. So
Robbins is to blame, then, for the way he draws Felina, the song¹s ³Mexican
girl,² as some sort of scheming witch (³blacker than night were the eyes of
Felina, wicked and evil while casting a spell²) when all she does wrong is
have a drink with some guy. But Robbins isn¹t singing as himself. His
narrator is a guy who¹s driven into a murderous rage by the mere sight of
this girl with another guy. And Robbins gets credit for some great writing,
like the head-spinning moment when his narrator turns into a murderer: ³Just
for a moment, I stood there in silence / Shocked by the foul, evil deed I had
done / Many thoughts raced through my head as I stood there / I had but one
chance, and that was to run.² And Robbins is also solely responsible for the
moment when we realize we¹re listening to the story of a dead man. It¹s an
iconic story, vivid and wide in scope, and it¹s pretty amazing that he was
able to squeeze it into less than five minutes.
The storytelling in ³El Paso² is so powerful that it¹s easy to overlook what
a masterful piece of music it is. Robbins sings over a simple Western
shuffle, but the Spanish guitars that wind through it give it all these tiny
melodies, these little accents that set it even further apart. And the way
Robbins sings it is quietly stunning, too. Robbins has a warm presence to his
voice, and he keeps it calm and reserved throughout. Every once in a while,
though, he lets passion and desperation creep in: ³Wild as the West Texas
wiiiiiiiind!² It¹s just a hell of a performance, a straight-up country
classic that continues to bewitch.
GRADE: 9/10
Suppose this means he's going to love "Tell Laura I Love Her."
That wasn't a #1 hit unless you lived here in the UK where it got to
the top spot in a local cover version by Ricky Valance

I *KNOW* you're just dying to hear it so here 'tis



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Roger Ford
2018-11-23 07:08:02 UTC
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2018 13:39:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Marty Robbins =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
At nearly five minutes, Marty Robbins=E2=80=99 =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D is=
the Infinite Jest of early chart-toppers. =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D isn=E2=
=80=99t a dynamic song, exactly; it doesn=E2=80=99t swell with instrumentat=
ion as it goes along or build to some towering musical crescendo. Robbins j=
ust needs that time to tell his story, about a gunfighter so jealously in l=
ove that he commits murder and so blindly needy that he rides to his own ce=
rtain death to see his loved one last time. It=E2=80=99s a classic Western =
story, and Robbins tells it with the patience, the weight, and the eye for =
detail of a great filmmaker.
Robbins, a World War II veteran and canon-level country star who also becam=
e a NASCAR driver in the early days of the sport, wrote =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=
=80=9D himself. So Robbins is to blame, then, for the way he draws Felina, =
the song=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CMexican girl,=E2=80=9D as some sort of scheming=
witch (=E2=80=9Cblacker than night were the eyes of Felina, wicked and evi=
l while casting a spell=E2=80=9D) when all she does wrong is have a drink w=
ith some guy. But Robbins isn=E2=80=99t singing as himself. His narrator is=
a guy who=E2=80=99s driven into a murderous rage by the mere sight of this=
girl with another guy. And Robbins gets credit for some great writing, lik=
e the head-spinning moment when his narrator turns into a murderer: =E2=80=
=9CJust for a moment, I stood there in silence / Shocked by the foul, evil =
deed I had done / Many thoughts raced through my head as I stood there / I =
had but one chance, and that was to run.=E2=80=9D And Robbins is also solel=
y responsible for the moment when we realize we=E2=80=99re listening to the=
story of a dead man. It=E2=80=99s an iconic story, vivid and wide in scope=
, and it=E2=80=99s pretty amazing that he was able to squeeze it into less =
than five minutes.
The storytelling in =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D is so powerful that it=E2=80=
=99s easy to overlook what a masterful piece of music it is. Robbins sings =
over a simple Western shuffle, but the Spanish guitars that wind through it=
give it all these tiny melodies, these little accents that set it even fur=
ther apart. And the way Robbins sings it is quietly stunning, too. Robbins =
has a warm presence to his voice, and he keeps it calm and reserved through=
out. Every once in a while, though, he lets passion and desperation creep i=
n: =E2=80=9CWild as the West Texas wiiiiiiiind!=E2=80=9D It=E2=80=99s just =
a hell of a performance, a straight-up country classic that continues to be=
witch.
GRADE: 9/10
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single it marked his departure from
a long run of more "pop" material mostly backed by the Ray Conniff
Orchestra that had begun way back in 1957 with his "A White Sport
Coat" hit.

It did fairly well here in the UK too reaching #19 on the NME chart in
1960 in a 6 week run.

Here's how it sits on my list of 1959 favorites

15. Love Potion # 9 Clovers
16. Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
17. Broken Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan
18. Handy Man Jimmy Jones
19. I Know It's Hard But It's Fair "5" Royales
20. El Paso Marty Robbins
21. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Fats Domino
22. Fannie Mae Buster Brown
23. Shout Isley Brothers
24. Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
25. Dead Man's Stroll Revels



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SavoyBG
2018-11-23 14:45:47 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single it marked his departure from
a long run of more "pop" material mostly backed by the Ray Conniff
Orchestra that had begun way back in 1957 with his "A White Sport
Coat" hit.
It did fairly well here in the UK too reaching #19 on the NME chart in
1960 in a 6 week run.
Here's how it sits on my list of 1959 favorites
15. Love Potion # 9 Clovers
16. Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
17. Broken Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan
18. Handy Man Jimmy Jones
19. I Know It's Hard But It's Fair "5" Royales
20. El Paso Marty Robbins
21. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Fats Domino
22. Fannie Mae Buster Brown
23. Shout Isley Brothers
24. Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
25. Dead Man's Stroll Revels
I only give it a 6 and it does not make my 1959 list. It does not make my top 10 Marty Robbins sides. I much prefer his rockabilly stuff. "El Paso" is big with the laymen, not with us record collectors.
Roger Ford
2018-11-23 15:07:09 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single it marked his departure from
a long run of more "pop" material mostly backed by the Ray Conniff
Orchestra that had begun way back in 1957 with his "A White Sport
Coat" hit.
It did fairly well here in the UK too reaching #19 on the NME chart in
1960 in a 6 week run.
Here's how it sits on my list of 1959 favorites
15. Love Potion # 9 Clovers
16. Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
17. Broken Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan
18. Handy Man Jimmy Jones
19. I Know It's Hard But It's Fair "5" Royales
20. El Paso Marty Robbins
21. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Fats Domino
22. Fannie Mae Buster Brown
23. Shout Isley Brothers
24. Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
25. Dead Man's Stroll Revels
I only give it a 6 and it does not make my 1959 list. It does not make my top 10 Marty Robbins sides. I much prefer his rockabilly stuff. "El Paso" is big with the laymen, not with us record collectors.
Even if it really counted for anything that last bit would not be true
since "El Paso" is demonstrably big with one record collector (who
probably has more of that rockabilly stuff than most including an
original copy of the very rare 1956 10" Robbins LP) and who is the
only record collector I really care about

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SavoyBG
2018-11-23 15:19:23 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single it marked his departure from
a long run of more "pop" material mostly backed by the Ray Conniff
Orchestra that had begun way back in 1957 with his "A White Sport
Coat" hit.
It did fairly well here in the UK too reaching #19 on the NME chart in
1960 in a 6 week run.
Here's how it sits on my list of 1959 favorites
15. Love Potion # 9 Clovers
16. Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
17. Broken Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan
18. Handy Man Jimmy Jones
19. I Know It's Hard But It's Fair "5" Royales
20. El Paso Marty Robbins
21. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Fats Domino
22. Fannie Mae Buster Brown
23. Shout Isley Brothers
24. Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
25. Dead Man's Stroll Revels
I only give it a 6 and it does not make my 1959 list. It does not make my top 10 Marty Robbins sides. I much prefer his rockabilly stuff. "El Paso" is big with the laymen, not with us record collectors.
Even if it really counted for anything that last bit would not be true
since "El Paso" is demonstrably big with one record collector (who
probably has more of that rockabilly stuff than most including an
original copy of the very rare 1956 10" Robbins LP) and who is the
only record collector I really care about
One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch.
Roger Ford
2018-11-23 15:40:17 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
Post by SavoyBG
Post by Roger Ford
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single it marked his departure from
a long run of more "pop" material mostly backed by the Ray Conniff
Orchestra that had begun way back in 1957 with his "A White Sport
Coat" hit.
It did fairly well here in the UK too reaching #19 on the NME chart in
1960 in a 6 week run.
Here's how it sits on my list of 1959 favorites
15. Love Potion # 9 Clovers
16. Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
17. Broken Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan
18. Handy Man Jimmy Jones
19. I Know It's Hard But It's Fair "5" Royales
20. El Paso Marty Robbins
21. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Fats Domino
22. Fannie Mae Buster Brown
23. Shout Isley Brothers
24. Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
25. Dead Man's Stroll Revels
I only give it a 6 and it does not make my 1959 list. It does not make my top 10 Marty Robbins sides. I much prefer his rockabilly stuff. "El Paso" is big with the laymen, not with us record collectors.
Even if it really counted for anything that last bit would not be true
since "El Paso" is demonstrably big with one record collector (who
probably has more of that rockabilly stuff than most including an
original copy of the very rare 1956 10" Robbins LP) and who is the
only record collector I really care about
One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch.
Yawn!!!!

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Roger Ford
2018-11-24 13:18:40 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Thu, 22 Nov 2018 13:39:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Marty Robbins =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
One of my favorite C&W records ever and certainly my all-time favorite
Marty Robbins number. It was the standout track on his then-current
"Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs" LP and when it was (despite its
length) released by Columbia as a single
Here is the "bloody butcher" job that Columbia did on the song to
bring it to an "acceptable" length and was specially pressed up as a
45rpm for radio station use only



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Roger Ford
2018-11-24 17:07:13 UTC
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2018 13:39:17 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Marty Robbins =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CEl Paso=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: January 2, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
Here's how it did in the 1959 Singles Battle

R1 Robbins 22
Jesse Belvin - Guess Who 6

2 Robbins 21
Spaniels - These Three Words 3

3 Robbins 21
Sandy Nelson - Teen Beat 7

4 Robbins 17
Ricky Nelson - It's Late 13

5 Robbins 5
Drifters - There Goes My Baby 26

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