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Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

305 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, October 19, 1999
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Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs + Greatest Hits by Johnny Horton + Marty Robbins - All-Time Greatest Hits
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

We've sold a ton of Marty's legendary 1959 concept album about the Old West on expensive import, but now it's out domestically with the rare B-sides The Hanging Tree; Saddle Tramp , and the long version of El Paso joining such classics as Big Iron and Billy the Kid !

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A lonely Westerner in Nashville, Marty Robbins salved his soul by cutting an album (in one afternoon) of mostly self-composed cowboy ballads. One of them was a four-and-a-half-minute epic, "El Paso," that broke every rule of Top 40 programming to become a No. 1 pop and country hit in 1960. Robbins was arguably the most surefooted and accomplished singer in all country music, and that was never more obvious than on these Western ballads performed to often breathtaking perfection with a very small group and a vocal trio. Other titles include "Big Iron" (also a Top 30 hit), "Running Gun," and Western classics like "Cool Water," "Billy the Kid," and "The Strawberry Roan." Three extra tracks flesh out the 1999 release, including "Saddle Tramp" (the B-side of "Big Iron") and "The Hanging Tree" (title song from the 1959 Gary Cooper Western). --Colin Escott

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000296J9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on May 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First I'd like to say I absolutely despise most of the swabby, commercial garbage played on most so-called Country and Western stations today. Have a singer whine and sing through his nose, throw in a little fiddle and some stupid lyrics and presto: instant country music which is rarely more than pop music with a twang.Those who want to hear what real country/western is all about have only a few contemporary artists like Junior Brown or Dwight Yoakam to listen to or they have to go back to the old masters.Marty Robbins is a western native who put the "western" in C&W music and his album "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs" is the vehicle with which he accomplishes that.Any one who loves the west can't help being moved by the collection of timeless classics on this album. Frankly, though its a great song, I am tired of El Paso.There are many equally good songs here. The listener will conjure images of the frontier days with the fantastic Big Iron, His Master's Call and the Hanging Tree. Anyone who has experienced the wide expanses of the intermountain west will appreciate A Hundred and Sixty Acres, Little Green Valley and Cool Water. That those are my favorites doesn't diminish the others.There is little quite like the smooth, rich, manly vocal style of Robbins or the tight play of his band. In the general style, only Gordon Lightfoot is his vocal equal.If you buy only one C&W album in your life, this should be the one for it is the standard against which all others should be measured.
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Kelly L. Norman VINE VOICE on August 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My dad loved Marty Robbins. I have so many memories of summer nights listening to the stereo playing "Big Iron" or "El Paso" and dad singing along, or actually, talking along, announcing each verse before it came up, sitting in the front yard under a blanket of stars.

Both dad and Marty Robbins are gone now. I never thought of collecting Robbins' albums much until recently, when I became irked at myself for not remembering the lyrics to El Paso. I bought this CD and everything just flooded back. All of these songs are great. "Cool Water", "Billy the Kid"...It was so easy, as a kid, to take Robbins for granted. But now I realize his was a very strong voice. The backup vocals and musicianship, as well as the lonesome-sounding, echoing production, make for a perfect country-western sound.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Brasington on August 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Believe me, along with selected CDs by Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed, Patsy Cline, Steve Earle, Hank Williams Sr., and Willie Nelson, this perfect album by Marty Robbins belongs in the CD collections of any self-respecting rock fan. I normally listen to death metal, hardcore punk, and that ilk, but I still have to have my fix of Mr. Robbins.

The cowboy ballads included here are sparse, narrative-driven masterpieces. The only place music like this comes from is the soul. If it's true that Robbins recorded this in one afternoon, then that afternoon has got to be one of the most amazing dates in music history.

The cowboy songs on this disc, although not all written by Robbins, denote a singular vision. There is a romantic aspect to the music in its appreciation of nature, individualism, and especially in its heroic idealization of simple little vignettes about horse-riders of all types. This album is 100% cohesive even with the extra tracks tacked-on the end.

I strongly recommend this CD (even more than the 2-CD Essential Marty Robbins, which is also great, but not as focused) for any lover of music or collector of songs. Regardless of your musical leanings, this will find a worthy place in your collection.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Helen Shields on December 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Marty is truly an authentic cowboy singer. When you listen to these songs of the old west, you can actually SEE what he's singing about and he makes you feel the emotion of the song. As a born Arizonan, he grew up with stories of the old west that his grandfather, Texas Bob Heckle, would tell him. Can you believe that Columbia Records, at first, was reluctant to have him release a 'cowboy' album, telling him that his 'voice wasn't right for cowboy songs'......wrong! Marty possessed a beautiful voice and was 'at home' in any genre of music, but his western 'stories in song' were just magnificent. Just give a listen to MAN WALKS AMONG US, THIS PEACEFUL SOD, THE RED HILLS OF UTAH, JOHNNY FEDAVO, BILLY VENERO....hear this extraordinary voice take you back to the days of the cowboy. I promise you, you WILL feel the sand in your eyes and smell the smoke of the 45. He makes it that real. If I could recommend any one singer when it comes to cowboy songs, it is MARTY ROBBINS....he brought the cowboy to life. This album is one of his finest and most sought after collections.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John on June 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I grew up listening to this album on vinyl. Many a night I went to bed with the words to "Big Iron" and "Hanging Tree" running through my mind. Marty Robbins had THE voice for western ballads and this album stands out in my mind as the definitive Western Ballad collection. It makes you close your eyes and imagine yourself on the prairie, sitting around a campfire, and listening to him sing.
I still have this album on vinyl but no longer have a player so I am ordering this CD. I've never gotten tired of his music and I doubt I ever will.
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