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Marty Robbins

All Around Cowboy – 2000 (DCC)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins could sing more styles well than anyone else in country music history. His versatility may have left him underappreciated, since anyone can find some Marty Robbins records in a style they strongly dislike. Of course, anyone should also be able to find Marty Robbins records they love. Released on Columbia in 1979, this represented a return to the Western motif that had served Robbins well for years, but was only a minor part of his work in the late '70's. Robbins had been dipping increasingly into pop and novelty songs. The album was not a big commercial success, and this is its first issue on CD.

The album is a treat for fans of this side of Robbins. The two hit singles, "Buenos Dios Argentina" and the title track, are in the same lazy plains spirit as a more traditional track included here, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," but with mariachi style horns added. There are gunfighter ballads as well. "Pride and the Badge" and "The Ballad Of A Small Man" are worthy companions to Robbins' earlier classics, but "San Angelo" just seems a poor copy of "El Paso." Robbins was still singing as well as ever, and there's plenty here to enjoy.