Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Forgotten Song: Marty Robbins' El Paso

I know why I thought of this old song. It's March. And every year since 1978, it is this month when I think of my mother in clear, wistful terms. As a young child, I recall her moving across the apartment she lived in singing right along with balladeer Marty Robbins whenever this song would drift out of the radio. The memorable number brings to mind how she'd grab me up to dance with her, and how I'd gaze up to look at her in return (and in awe) as we'd meander about that small room that made up a home to her. As my wife reminds me every so often about my nostalgia gene, I know exactly who I inherited the trait from. When she heard the song, I could tell that part of my mother would be instantly transported back to her place of birth... back to Texas. The Tejano roots of the melody, and it's tale of star-crossed lovers, gave it a haunting quality to my mother then... and to her son now.

The rest of this post has been updated and moved over to my current blog, found here.


  1. Very nice!
    I'll be humming that melody today for sure.

  2. Nice post. I'm very familiar with this song, in fact I'm very familiar with most of Marty Robbins' stuff. He was/is a big favourite of my father's, and I can recall many a happy summer day spent riding with him in the car all over Ireland as a kid (he was a scrap dealer and travelled continuously) with this song playing on the tape deck.
    I don't know if you're aware of this but American country music was, and continues to be, enormously popular in Ireland (the similarities between Irish trad music and Bluegrass may have something to do with it?). Especially in rural areas, American country is probably the most popular around.

  3. I did not know this, Colin. But, it does make sense now that you mention it. Given this country's history and expansion, many immigrants lead the way westward. And they would have brought their traditions and music with them. Director John Ford covered some of the Irish contributions in frontier and cavalry life in his Westerns. The similarities in the types of music you mention are likely due to the fact they're rooted in the same culture that gave birth to them. Thank you very much, my friend, for sharing this here. It gives us another item we have in common.

  4. Michael, that's a perfectly lovely nostalgia gene you've got there. You made my eyes water and I could just see a pretty young Latina swooping her adored son into her arms to dance and sing about the wicked Feleena and the doomed narrator. Thank you for sharing that memory.

    And that song is pure western noir, right there.

  5. You are very kind, Naomi. The song does have that noirish quality, doesn't it? Thank you very much.