- Stunning sound throughout for this original Columbia Six-Eye stereo LP; Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
- Transparency and Tubey Magic are critical to the sound of the arrangements and you will find both are abundant here
- Very quiet for an early Columbia Six-Eye pressing – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
- “Robbins’ originals are authored in an authentically vintage style, interspersed with public domain titles that are the real article…” – All Music
Two superb sides, with the kind of ’60s Tubey Magical Analog Sound that’s been lost to the world of recorded music for decades — decades I tell you! Nobody can manage to get a recording to sound like this anymore and it seems clear to us that no one can remaster a recording like this nowadays, if our direct experience with more than hundred such albums counts as evidence.
Albums such as this live and die by the quality of their vocal reproduction. On this record Mr. Marty Robbins himself will appear to be standing right in your listening room, along with the other other musicians playing on the sessions of course.
Live in Your Listening Room
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real person singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 58 years old), I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Copies with rich lower mids did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural ambience and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to pressings from and any era and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation. Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded so open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one or two clean original copies with which to do a shootout?
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
Streets Of Laredo
Song Of The Bandit
I’ve Got No Use For The Women
Little Joe The Wrangler
Ride, Cowboy, Ride
This Peaceful Sod
She Was Young And She Was Pretty
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
The follow-up to Marty Robbins’ 1959 hit album shows him on the cover looking for all the world like the reincarnation of actor William S. Hart, the greatest cowboy hero of the silent-screen era. In a sense, the repertory reflects the pose on the cover; it is similar to the earlier album, with the sound a little more stripped down in the vocal department and perhaps less romanticized than the earlier record.
Robbins’ originals are authored in an authentically vintage style, interspersed with public domain titles that are the real article, some established works by Bob Nolan of the Sons of the Pioneers, and a handful of new compositions (notably by Jim Glaser). There’s nothing as beautifully compelling as “Big Iron” or “El Paso,” but tracks like “Streets of Laredo,” “Song of the Bandit,” and “Little Joe, the Wrangler” are beguiling on a more subtle level. The album was a success, albeit not on the same level as its predecessor.