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Marty Robbins: Today/Don't Let Me Touch You

Track List

>Early Morning Sunshine
>Late Great Lover
>I'm Not Blaming You
>Another Day Has Gone By
>Thanks, But No Thanks, Thanks to You
>Quiet Shadows
>Too Many Places
>You Say It's Over
>Put a Little Rainbow in Your Pocket
>Seventeen Years
>Chair, The
>Don't Let Me Touch You
>There's No More You and Me
>To Get to You
>Way I Loved You Best, The
>Try a Little Tenderness
>Return to Me
>Harbor Lights
>More Than Anything, I Miss You
>Tree in the Meadow, A
>Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Album Notes

Morello's 2016 two-fer combines two Marty Robbins albums from the '70s: 1971's Today and 1977's Don't Let Me Touch You. Separated by seven years, these two records aren't necessarily ideally matched, yet they both showcase Robbins' easy touch. Produced by Robbins himself, Today doesn't contain a hint of the macho swagger suggested by the cover photo of the singer in full NASCAR regalia, but that's not to say that it's an album bound together by syrup. "The Chair," a song that peaked at seven on Billboard's Country Singles chart, is overheated death-row melodrama told from the perspective of the executed prisoner, while "Late Great Lover" and "Thanks, But No Thanks, Thanks to You" are pieces of hardwood Texas honky tonk where all the grit and grain have been sanded away. Elsewhere, there's a heavy hint of folk borrowed from Glen Campbell -- "Early Morning Sunshine," the other Top Ten hit here (it topped out at nine), is an exquisite piece of twinkling early-'70s AM-prog, while "Quiet Shadows" could've fit onto an inquisitive record by an MOR singer -- that meshes well with the bent toward ballads. Ultimately, these different strands combine to form a record that's meant for early mornings: it provides quiet comfort. Billy Sherrill, the king of CBS country in the '70s, produced Don't Let Me Touch You in 1977, and his fondness for majestic string arrangements is a nice fit for a crooner as skilled as Robbins. Sherrill helps bring out Marty's old-fashioned side, having him record a clutch of standards from the Great American Songbook -- "Try a Little Tenderness," "Harbor Lights," and "Return to Me" anchor the middle of the album, with the latter reaching six on Billboard's Country Singles chart, the same position achieved by the title track -- and the whole enterprise carries the unmistakable air of an easy listening crossover. Hints of harder country are apparent -- there's a stride piano and a little steel guitar, a subdued Western gait to a tempo -- but this is quiet, subdued music. If anything, Robbins is responsible for the suggestions of soft rock modernity here: he wrote "The Way I Loved You Best," "More Than Anything I Miss You," and "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow," each existing at the horizon line where buttoned-up tradition meets the colorful fads of today. It's enough to give Don't Let Me Touch You a slight lift out of its appealing somnolence. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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