Top Artists – Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, et al. – Greatest C&W Hits Vol 4 – Reviewed in 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

WOW! (Or should that be OMG?) This Columbia 360 original pressing has AMAZING DEMO DISC sound on many of its twelve tracks, tracks by some of the biggest names in country at the time. To hear Jimmy Dean sing Big Bad John or Marty Robbins’ do Devil Woman with this kind of Tubey Magical, tonally correct, rich, sweet, spacious sound is nothing less than a THRILL. The Analog sound of this pressing makes a mockery of even the most advanced digital playback systems, including the ones that haven’t been invented yet. I’d love to play this for Neil Young so he can see what he’s up against! Good Luck, Neil, you’re going to need it.

The sound on both sides is White Hot, practically faultless I might even go so far as to say.

The first three tracks on side one are AGAIG — As Good As It Gets! After that I stopped playing side one; the next three may be as good, may not be, but what I heard on those first three was clearly WHITE HOT STAMPER SOUND! (more…)

Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs – Our Shootout Winner from 2014

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO SUPERB TRIPLE PLUS SIDES, with the kind of ’50’s 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 as if no one can even remaster a recording like this anymore, if our direct experience with scores of such albums counts as any sort of evidence.

Steve Hoffman is the guy that can get the closest in this regard, but the difference between The Real Thing and even the best of his Remasters is not the slightest bit hard to hear.

A Shocking Finding

We recently noted that the red label Columbia reissues of most of their catalog leave much to be desired. Here is an excerpt from a listing for The Byrds’ Greatest Hits.

One might assume that the later label copies would be the ones that would most likely have been cut with lower distortion equipment, the way the later Kind of Blues are cut so much cleaner than the earlier ones.

On The Byrds’ albums this is almost never the right approach. The Tubey Magic of the earlier pressings is absolutely crucial to the sound of these albums. It is the sine qua non of Classic 60’s Rock sound. Without it you might as well be playing a CD.

It turns out that some copies of Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs on the later red label can actually sound amazingly Tubey Magical, especially on side two. In fact we heard a red label side two that was even more rich than the best 360s.

Since the person listening to the record has no idea what the actual label is of the record being evaluated — which is about as close an approximation of the Scientific Method as we can manage around here — it was very surprising to hear such glorious Tubey Magical Richness and Sweetness come from such an unexpected source.

A good reason not to avoid later pressings and reissues absent any evidence of their inferiority.

And a good reason to judge your records by playing them whenever possible. (more…)

Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs

More Marty Robbins

More Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs

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  • With Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this Six-Eye Columbia pressing was one of the better sounding from our most recent shootout
  • This copy is amazingly clear and open, superior to most in that regard, with fairly smooth and rich vocals to boot 
  • Is the original Six Eye stereo the only way to go on this record? We discuss the subject in detail below
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The single most influential album of Western songs in post-World War II American music. The longevity of the album’s appeal is a result of Marty Robbins’ love of the repertory at hand and the mix of his youthful dynamism and prodigious talent…”

Two excellent Double Plus (A++) sides, with the kind of ’50’s 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. (more…)