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American Milestones


[ American Milestones | Willie, Johnny & Tammy ]
[ Merle & Marty ]

The text below is taken from a
Sony Music Nashville & Legacy Recordings press release.

Big City MERLE HAGGARD - Big City

Big City, from 1981, was Merle Haggard's 47th album, including Greatest Hits compilations. But it also marked his debut for Epic Records and featured among its ten tracks four new Haggard originals, plus another four which he co-wrote. Included are Haggard classics "Are The Good Times Really Over," "My Favorite Memory," a remake of his "You Don't Have Very Far To Go," and the title track. Recorded over a 48-hour period, Big City shows songwriter's songwriter Haggard (b. 1937) at his keenly observational, wide-ranging best. And whether offering a modern-day train song, a deeply felt, but understated love ballad or reflections on America's precarious state in the early-'80s, his lived-in baritone is as plainly honest as a day's work for a day's pay. Haggard is backed consummately by his crackerjack veteran band, the Strangers, who move easily from pure country to jazz-tinged Western Swing. Their personnel includes a pair of alumni from Bob Wills' legendary Texas Playboys, fiddler Jimmy Belkin and fiddler-mandolinist Tiny Moore. The finely wrought vocal harmonies are by singer/songwriter Leona Williams.

H I G H L I G H T S

  • Unreleased tracks: "Call Me" and "I Won't Give Up My Train" (a duet with Roger Miller)
  • Liner notes by Daniel Cooper
  • Additional updated notes from Merle Haggard
Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs

MARTY ROBBINS - Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs

Though he recorded a wide variety of material during a three-decade career that found 47 of his singles in the Country Top Ten (13 of which crossed over to Billboard's Pop chart), Marty Robbins (1925-1982) is still best known for his story-songs of the West. The landmark "concept" album Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs, from 1959, was his best-selling -- and one of his best -- LPs, spending 36 weeks on Billboard's Album chart and reaching number six. The record's success was in part due to the presence of Robbins' greatest hit, the Grammy-winning "El Paso," a romantic tale of a young cowboy's fatal attraction to a cantina temptress. Written by Robbins and sung impellingly with just the slightest catch in his crisp tenor-to-baritone voice, and punctuated by Grady Martin's genius flamenco touches on guitar, "El Paso" made it to the pinnacle of both the Pop and Country surveys. The album was produces by Nashville legend (and Robert Johnson producer) Don Law.

H I G H L I G H T S

  • Liner notes by Billy Altman
  • Additional tracks are previously released "The Hanging Tree," and "Saddle Tramp," plus the original, full-length version of "El Paso."


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