Paul LeMoine | Country Classics

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Country Classics

by Paul LeMoine

Some very nicely updated versions of a few of Classic Country music’s best-loved songs done in an Adult-contemporary countryish folk rocky kind of sound with nice vocals
Genre: Country: Alt-Country
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Devil Woman
3:32 $0.50
2. He'll Have to Go
3:00 $0.50
3. Ring of Fire
2:32 album only
4. North to Alaska
3:33 album only
5. I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You
3:08 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Paul LeMoine’s ‘Country Classic’s’ Allows us an Accessible and unique way of enjoying one of Country Music’s most Classic, and beloved songs. When asked, Lemoine said that this was one of his Mom’s favorite songs, and, he had just gotten some new recording equipment, so he decided that he’d do this first song for her. This a walk down memory Lane.

More about the original artist's

Martin David Robinson was born 26 September 1925, near Glendale, Arizona, USA, d. 8 December 1982, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Robbins later maintained that his father hated him and that his early childhood was unhappy. Reports indicate that John Robinson (originally a Polish immigrant named Mazinski) suffered from a drink problem that led to him abusing his family before eventually leaving his wife, Emma, to cope alone with their seven children plus the two from her previous marriage. At one time they lived in a tent in the desert, but in 1937 his parents divorced and Emma and the children moved to a shack in Glendale, where she took in laundry to support the family. In his early teens, Marty spent some time with an elder brother breaking wild horses on a ranch near Phoenix. Consequently his education suffered; he attended high school in Glendale but never graduated, and by the early 40s he was becoming involved in a life of petty crime.

He left home to live the life of a hobo until he joined the US Navy in May 1943. It was during his three years in the service, where he saw action in the Pacific, that he learned to play the guitar and first started songwriting and singing. He also acquired a love of Hawaiian music that would surface several times during his career. After discharge in February 1946, he returned to Glendale, where he tried many jobs before starting to sing around the clubs and on local radio under the names of either Martin or Jack Robinson (his mother strongly disapproved of him singing in clubs and he used the name ‘Jack’ to try to prevent her finding out). By 1950, he had built a local reputation and was regularly appearing on KTYL Mesa and on both radio and in his own television show, Western Caravan, on KPHO Phoenix. He married Marizona Baldwin on 27 September 1948, a marriage that lasted until Marty’s death. A son, Ronald Carson Robinson, was born in 1949 and 10 years later, their daughter Janet was born (Ronald eventually became a singer, performing both as Ronnie Robbins and as Marty Robbins Jnr.).

Through the assistance of Little Jimmy Dickens, and by now known as Marty Robbins, he was signed by Columbia Records, for whom he first recorded in November 1951. In December 1952, ‘I’ll Go On Alone’ became his first US country hit. It charted for 18 weeks, two of which were spent at number 1 (Marty wrote the song because initially his wife disliked his showbusiness life). He moved to Nashville in January 1953 and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Early in his career, he acquired the nickname of ‘Mr Teardrop’ and later wrote and recorded a song with that title. In 1955, his career, which by the end of 1954 appeared somewhat becalmed, received a welcome boost with the success of his recordings of rockabilly numbers, ‘That’s All Right’ (originally written and recorded by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup in 1947 but more recently a hit for Elvis Presley) and ‘Maybellene’ both became Top 10 country hits.

He had always realized that it would be advantageous to record in differing styles and accordingly his recordings varied from country to pop, from Hawaiian to gospel, and even some with his own guitar providing the sole accompaniment. In 1956, he achieved another country number 1 with his version of Melvin Endsley’s ‘Singing The Blues’. The song also made number 17 in the US pop charts, where Guy Mitchell’s version was number 1. The following year, Marty turned Endsley’s song ‘Knee Deep In The Blues’ into a number 3 country hit but again lost out in the pop charts to Mitchell, who had immediately covered Robbins’ recording. Somewhat frustrated, Robbins made his next recordings in New York with Ray Conniff and his orchestra and during 1957/8, with what may be best termed teenage love songs, he registered three more country number 1s with his own song, ‘A White Sports Coat (And A Pink Carnation)’ (a million-seller), the Hal David - Burt Bacharach song, ‘The Story Of My Life’ and ‘Stairway Of Love’. The first two were also major US pop hits for him (in the UK, the former was a hit for the King Brothers and Terry Dene, while Michael Holliday had Top 3 successes with the latter two).

During the late 50s, he formed a talent and booking agency and launched his own record label. Robbins had always had a love of the Old West. He always considered the cowboy state of Arizona to be his home (his maternal grandfather had once been a Texas Ranger), and in the late 50s he appeared in three B-movie Westerns, Raiders Of Old California, Badge Of Marshal Brennan and Buffalo Gun. The first two were straight acting roles but the latter co-starred Webb Pierce and Carl Smith and included several songs. It was also at this time that he began to record the material that would see release on albums such as his now legendary Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs (he actually recorded the whole album in one day). In 1959, he wrote and charted the title track of the film The Hanging Tree, which starred Gary Cooper, before his classic ‘El Paso’ became a number 1 country and pop hit. It gave him a second million-seller and was also the first country music song to be awarded a Grammy. The success of this song established Robbins once and for all and songs such as ‘Big Iron’ and ‘Running Gun’ became firm favourites with audiences the world over.

During the 60s, he registered 31 US country hits, 13 of which also found success in the pop charts. The country number 1s included ‘Don’t Worry’ (which has the distinction of being the first song to include the ‘fuzz’ sound on the recording: a fuse had blown in the control room channel carrying Grady Martin’s lead guitar, with the result that it sounded fuzzy - Robbins liked the effect and left it in), ‘Devil Woman’ (a UK Top 5 pop hit for him), ‘Ruby Ann’, ‘Ribbon Of Darkness’, ‘Tonight Carmen’ and ‘I Walk Alone’. In 1964, Robbins supported Barry Goldwater in his bid for President and also wrote ‘Ain’t I Right’ and ‘My Own Native Land’, two protest songs against communism and anti-American war protesters. He felt the first would be a hit but Columbia, fearing racial repercussions, would not let him release them. However, his guitarist and backing vocalist Bobby Sykes’ recordings of the songs were released on the Sims label. He used the pseudonym Johnny Freedom, but sounded so much like his boss that for years many people have believed the recordings were by Robbins himself (Robbins’ own recordings were later released by Bear Family on the album Pieces Of Your Heart).

In 1969, Frankie Laine enjoyed a pop hit with Robbins’ semi-autobiographical song ‘You Gave Me A Mountain’, while Johnny Bush released a country version. Surprisingly, Robbins’ own recording was never released as a single. He also had a great interest in stock-car racing and during the 60s he began driving at the Nashville Speedway, an occupation that later saw him fortunate to survive several serious crashes. During the 60s, he also filmed a television series called The Drifter, appeared in eight films, including Hell On Wheels, The Nashville Story, Ballad Of A Gunfighter, Road To Nashville and From Nashville With Music, and wrote a Western novel, The Small Man. In August 1969, he suffered a heart attack on his tour bus near Cleveland and in January 1970 he underwent bypass surgery. He soon returned to his punishing schedules and in April he was starring in Las Vegas. The same year his moving ballad ‘My Woman, My Woman, My Wife’ became his second Grammy winner and the Academy Of Country Music voted him The Man of the Decade (originally, it had been intended that Frankie Laine should have the song but Robbins’ wife told him to keep it for himself). He left Columbia for Decca Records in 1972 but returned in December 1975 and immediately registered two number 1 country hits with ‘El Paso City’ (a look back at his previous hit) and the old pop ballad ‘Among My Souvenirs’. He had previously returned to El Paso with the nine-minute long ‘Feleena (From El Paso)’. During the 70s, he had a further 30 country hits, made film appearances in Country Music, Guns Of A Stranger, Country Hits and Atoka as well as starring in his network television series Marty Robbins Spotlight.

His songwriting talents saw him elected to the Nashville Songwriters’ International Hall Of Fame in 1975. His extensive touring schedules included crowd-pleasing appearances at the 1975 and 1976 Wembley Festivals in London. He continued with these punishing schedules into the 80s but was again hospitalized following a second heart attack in January 1981. He returned to London for the April 1982 Festival, before making a tour in Canada. ‘Some Memories Just Won’t Die’ became his biggest hit since 1978 and on 11 October 1982 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville. He toured on the west coast but in Cincinnati, on 1 December 1982, he played what turned out to be his last concert. The following day he suffered his third heart attack. He underwent major surgery but died of cardiac arrest on 8 December and was buried in Nashville three days later. A few days after his funeral, his recording of ‘Honky Tonk Man’, the title track of a Clint Eastwood film in which he had made a cameo appearance, entered the charts, eventually peaking at number 10. A quiet and withdrawn man offstage, Robbins possessed an onstage ability to communicate with and hold his audience, and his clever use of in-jokes, asides and sheer personality made him one of the finest entertainers to grace any genre of music. His tally of 94 Billboard country chart hits places him in eighth position in the list of most-charted country artists. He charted at least one song every year from 1952 (when he first recorded) to 1983 and during this period he also registered 31 pop hits.

Born April 30,1925 in Los Angeles, California, Horton was raised in Tyler, Texas, where his sharecropping family settled in search of work. He learned the guitar from his mother and, owing to his athletic prowess, won scholarships at Baylor University and later the University of Seattle. For a time he worked in the fishing industry but began his singing career on KXLA Pasadena in 1950, quickly acquiring the nickname of ‘The Singing Fisherman’. He recorded for Cormac in 1951 and then became the first artist on Fabor Robinson’s Abbott label. In 1952 he moved to Mercury Records but was soon in conflict with the company about the choice of songs. He married Hank Williams’ widow, Billie Jean, in September 1953, who encouraged him to better himself. With Tillman Franks as his manager, Horton moved to Columbia Records, and their co-written ‘Honky Tonk Man’ marked his debut in the US country charts. Horton recorded ‘Honky Tonk Man’ the day after Elvis Presley recorded ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and Presley’s bass player, Bill Black, was on the session. The song was successfully revived by Dwight Yoakam in 1986, while George Jones revived another song recorded that day, ‘I’m A One Woman Man’, in 1989. Other fine examples of Horton’s rockabilly talents are ‘All Grown Up’ and the hard-hitting ‘Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor’.

In 1959, Horton switched direction and concentrated on story songs, often with an historical basis, and had his first US country number 1 with a Tillman Franks song, ‘When It’s Springtime In Alaska’. This was followed by his version of Jimmie Driftwood’s ‘The Battle Of New Orleans’, which became a number 1 pop and country hit in the USA. Lonnie Donegan’s ‘Battle Of New Orleans’ made number 2 in the UK, but Horton’s number 16 was respectable, especially in view of the fact that his version was banned by the BBC for referring to ‘the bloody British’. Horton’s next record was another historical song, ‘Johnny Reb’, backed with the up-tempo novelty, ‘Sal’s Got A Sugar Lip’. Told simply to cover Horton’s latest record, Donegan mistakenly covered ‘Sal’s Got A Sugar Lip’ - and still managed to have a hit! Horton’s ‘Sink The Bismarck’, inspired by the film, made number 3 in the US charts, while he sang the title song of the John Wayne film North To Alaska and took it to number 4 in the USA and number 23 in the UK. It also topped the US country charts for five weeks.

On 5 November 1960, Horton died on the way to hospital after a head-on collision with a pick-up truck near Milano, Texas. Tillman Franks received head and chest injuries that required hospital treatment and guitarist Tommy Tomlinson suffered a very serious leg injury which, because of his diabetes, failed to heal and a few months later the leg was amputated. He later played guitar for a time with Claude King but never really recovered from the crash (the driver of the other vehicle, James Evans Davis, aged 19, was discovered to be intoxicated and received a two year suspended sentence). Billie Jean (who later stated that before he left for the last time, Horton kissed her on exactly the same place on the same cheek that Hank Williams had kissed her when he set off for his final trip) became a country star’s widow for the second time in 10 years. Horton, who has been described as the last major star of The Louisiana Hayride, is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Bossier City, Louisiana. Much of his up-tempo material did not appeal to the traditionalists but somebody once wrote that ‘he was ten years older than most of the rockabillies but with his cowboy hat hiding a receding hairline, he more or less looked the part’. However, his ‘saga’ songs have certainly guaranteed that he is not forgotten.



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