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Discover: Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins

Like most, my introduction to Marty Robbins happened the old fashioned way. Listening to Houston’s Country Legends 97.1, somewhere between staples by Waylon, Willie, and George, you will always hear Robbins’ 1959 hit El Paso. The first single released off Robbins’ 5th studio album, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, El Paso would catapult Robbins’ career and become a beloved country and western classic. It earned Robbins a Grammy in 1961 for Best Country and Western Recording, and in turn made Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs Robbins’ highest charting album, moving more than a million units to date. Consequently, when most people think of Marty Robbins, myself included, they think of his romantic caricatures of a wild west filled with cowboys, cantinas, and señoritas.

When we stumbled upon I Walk Alone in the dollar bin at our favorite record store, I was a bit taken aback by the cover. Marty Robbins was not dressed as a cowboy in black wielding a six shooter, he was sitting at a piano looking decidedly uncountry. I Walk Alone is Marty Robbins over a decade into his career finding his own place in country music. These simple and heartfelt songs, some of them originally performed by Leon Payne, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Dickey Lee, feature Robbins on piano for the first time on record. The title track, written by Herbert Wilson in 1943, was previously associated with country legend Eddy Arnold who first recorded the song in 1945.

I walk alone was released by Columbia Records in 1968 and would be Robbins’ thirteenth number one country single. Following its success Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, David Houston, and Willie Nelson would all record I Walk Alone for 1969 releases.

You can easily pick up a copy of I Walk Alone for just a few bucks. While it may not be quintessential Marty Robbins, it certainly is a fine place to start.

※ photograph by dc

Design Curiosities: Awesome Tapes From Africa

Awesome Tapes

Brian Shimkovitz started Awesome Tapes From Africa as a way of spreading found African analog recordings in our digitally saturated music world. I highly recommend checking out the music…and the covers.

Brian is one smart guy, you can read more about Awesome Tapes From Africa here.

Good Goods: Endless Rain Record

endlessrainrecord

We are avid white noise users in this house, all digital except for when we get an actual rainstorm. This record would be a great substitute for that, but I can see us totally forgetting to turn it off. It’s beautifully designed and features an endless side, and a 10-minute track side. The loop is meant to evolve over time becoming worn and scratched. The endless rain record was designed by Kouichi Okamoto, made by Kyouei Design, and available at Ode to Things.

Discover: Elis Regina

Elis Regina

I first heard Elis Regina on an adorable illustrated short called Omelette by Madeline Sharafian. The bouncy tune Aguas de Marco, one of her most popular tracks, was the perfect backing for the sweet pup comforting it’s owner with a meal.

I have a great love for Bossa Nova, but my knowledge of artists is lacking. Regina was well known in her day, in fact, she was Brazil’s greatest pop vocalist until her untimely death. While I was researching Elis I discovered that the self-titled album, the one this track is on, is not quite Bossa Nova after all, it’s música popular brasileira. My not so discerning ear can’t quite tell the difference, but it definitely has samba undertones.

I found the record in Toronto at a place called Cosmos Records. The shop owner, Aki, saw me flipping through Regina’s records and put the album on the turntable before I had the chance to ask him if they had it. When I asked him for Bossa Nova recommendations, he kindly made me a long list of artists I should try. Nice guy, and great shop. Check it out if you’re in town.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite tracks from the album on Spotify, you can have a listen here.

※ photograph by dc

Discover

discovertitle01

I generally shy away from blogs that have music content, which makes little sense. Music is a huge part of our everyday life around here, and singing is a huge love of mine even though Steven is the only one who will ever hear it. I’ve discovered great music from some of my favorite bloggers, when I actually give it a chance. I guess I prefer to discover music naturally or by happenstance. I’ve always relied heavily on the company I keep to supply me with new up to date music. Call it lazy, but it has always worked out in my favor (they all have such wonderful taste). I also love spending time flipping through vinyl at the record store and picking up an album based on the cover and a brief listen on the turntable in the store. I’ve found many beautiful albums this way that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Buying vinyl may seem a little arbitrary and hipster, but to us there are a plethora of reasons that brought us here. The most predominant, in a world of digital, it means something to us to have a tangible piece of music. It brings an ambience to our weekend mornings that is unattainable by streaming music on our laptops.

We’ve been playing with the idea of bringing a music article to Design Curiosities for some time now, but I’ve always been a little hesitant. We aren’t exactly authorities on music, but if you’ll give us a chance you might find something you love as much as we do. It won’t always be original, but it will be something new we’ve discovered or something that is such an integral part of our life that we wanted to share with you. ※ photograph by dc