I remember coming home from school one day, I was 9. Mom had the radio
playing and being a normal nine year old, I wasn't really paying
attention. My grandmother had just taught me how to do embroidery and I
was practicing so I'd show an improvement the next time I saw her.
A song started playing over the radio, I do remember the D.J mentioning
it was an 'oldie'. The song was
'LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME ALONE'
and I remember feeling so lonely listening to that song. At nine, you just
don't have that sort of feeling of being lost. I remember just laying
the needlework down on my lap and listening to the radio. When the song
ended, I went back to my stitching, still with that feeling of lonliness.
I forgot about it until a couple of days later when I heard another song
over the radio, and it had to be the same voice for again, there was a
lonlieness and a haunting in it, like his heart was going to break.
The song was SING ME SOMETHING SENTIMENTAL
and again, I failed to get the name of the singer but now I was hooked and wanted
to hear more.
Up until then, I didn't have that much interest in music
although I did enjoy sitting at the radio sometimes with my parents
listening to the Opry, mostly people like Wilma and Stoney Cooper, the
Fruit Jar Drinkers and Uncle Dave Macon. It wasn't really the type of
music a nine year old could really get into. Dolls and expanding on my
embroidery stitching were more interesting. But with these two songs,
I found myself turning on the radio in hopes of hearing 'the voice' again.
The third time I heard it, they played DON'T LET ME HANG AROUND
this time, I caught the name of the singer,MARTY ROBBINS.
I still had my birthday money saved that my grandmother had given me
and for the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted to spend it on, a
MARTY ROBBINS record, only I had never
bought a record before didn't know where to buy one. My older sister
told me that the local five and dime sold them so the following
Saturday I went with my mom and I
purchased my very first record...it
wasn't one of the two I had heard but it was by Marty,
the song, MAYBELLINE.
I started buying any record that had his name on it, as well as an
ocassional 'other artist' record. Then in 1960, he came out with
DON'T WORRY. I was fourteen and had no idea what it was like
to feel the pain of a relelationship or love gone bad, but that song
made me cry, even though I didn't know why except I felt like he was
hurting. For a singer to bring on this kind of emotion to a young,
innocent 14 year old, just from hearing a song, a lot of feeling had
to go into that song. I had no money at that time but I had to get
that record just to hear it over and over, a habit that sometimes got
on my dad's nerves, as well as everyone of my sister's and one brother
(six in all at that time). My mother was in the hospital about two
miles away but I remember walking all the way just to ask her if I
could have a dollar (the 45's then cost 98 cents and 2 cents tax) to
buy that record. I bought it on my way home and still have that precise record.
In all my years, there has never been another singer to touch my heart and soul
with their music the way that Martin did, then and even now, almost two
decades since his passing. I believe that he deserved a lot more
recognition than he received then and now, he left behind a musical legacy
rich, warm and beautiful, to the extent that it should never be
forgotten. His songs still send chills through me and I know that
without a doubt, that no other singer or entertainer will ever tap into
the very soul of a song the way he could.