I grew up in the late 50s and 60s listening to the country music of that era. I stuck with country music through the 70s. I made it into the 80s but, by the late 80s, country music as I knew and loved was headed in a direction that, with a few exceptions, I wasn’t interested going. So I didn’t. (Get off my lawn.)
The old west gunfighter and trail ballads, drinking songs, and revenge songs had an influence on me that was, and still is, every bit as strong as the impact Louis L’Amour’s books left with me. My lifelong interest, perhaps fascination bordering on obsession, with everything old west—truth, legends, and myths alike—have roots in those old cowboy and country songs.
I’m inviting you to read along with me this year as I post one or two nostalgic-for-me country ballads on the first Wednesday of each month. I will share a snippet of trivia about each song along with a YouTube video.
Each month, I will include a link back to the previous month’s article as reference to those songs. The common thread that runs among the songs I’ve chosen for this musical memory lane excursion is tragic lost love.
Because the first two songs are so closely related, it would be unfitting of me to post them in separate months—El Paso and Feleena by the master of the old west ballad, Marty Robbins.
El Paso hit the radio airwaves in the fall of 1959. Marty Robbins wrote and recorded it. As a single, it was the A side. Running Gun was the B side. El Paso was an instant hit, a chart cross-over song, and earned Marty Robbins a Grammy in 1961.
Robbins recorded a prequel to El Paso in 1966—Feleena. Coming in at eight minutes long, it didn’t get the airtime it deserved.
Feleena by Marty Robbins: https://youtu.be/gj0IyyB3RTk
Until next time,
Writing through history one romance upon a time