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Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs

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Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs is an album released by Marty Robbins on the Columbia Records label in September 1959, peaking at #6 on the U.S. pop albums chart. It was recorded on April 7, 1959, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA in 1965.[1] It is perhaps best known for Robbins' most successful single, "El Paso", a major hit on both the country and pop music charts. It reached #1 in both charts at the start of 1960 and won the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording the following year. In 2017, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."[2]

Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1959 (LP)
1999 (CD)
RecordedApril 7, 1959
Length35:25 (1959 LP)
44:44 (1999 CD)
ProducerDon Law
Marty Robbins chronology
Marty's Greatest Hits
Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs



Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Rolling StonePositive [4]

AllMusic gave the album four-and-a-half stars, calling it "the single most influential album of Western songs in post-World War II American music".[5] It is included in every revision of the list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6]

Years after the album's release, members of the Western Writers of America chose six of its songs as being among the Top 100 Western Songs of all time. Three of them were written by Robbins: "El Paso", "Big Iron", and "The Master's Call". Three were written and previously recorded by others: "Cool Water", "Billy the Kid", and "The Strawberry Roan".[7]

In 1999 the album was reissued for compact disc on the Legacy Records label with the tracks resequenced and with three bonus tracks, including the full length version of "El Paso". It was part of Sony's American Milestones reissue series for classic country and western albums including, among others, At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash and Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson.

Track listingEdit

Side oneEdit

1."Big Iron"Marty Robbins3:56
2."Cool Water"Bob Nolan3:09
3."Billy the Kid"traditional2:19
4."A Hundred and Sixty Acres"David Kapp1:40
5."They're Hanging Me Tonight"James Low, Art Wolpert3:05
6."The Strawberry Roan"Curley Fletcher3:25

Side twoEdit

1."El Paso"Marty Robbins4:19
2."In The Valley"Marty Robbins1:48
3."The Master's Call"Marty Robbins3:05
4."Running Gun"Tompall Glaser, Jim Glaser2:10
5."The Little Green Valley"Carson Robison2:26
6."Utah Carol"traditional3:13

1999 reissue track listingEdit

1."Big Iron"Marty Robbins3:56
2."A Hundred and Sixty Acres"David Kapp1:40
3."They're Hanging Me Tonight"James Low, Art Wolpert3:05
4."Cool Water"Bob Nolan3:09
5."Billy the Kid"traditional2:19
6."Utah Carol"traditional3:13
7."The Strawberry Roan"Curley Fletcher3:25
8."The Master's Call"Marty Robbins3:05
9."Running Gun"Tompall Glaser, Jim Glaser2:10
10."El Paso"Marty Robbins4:19
11."In The Valley"Marty Robbins1:48
12."The Little Green Valley"Carson Robison2:26
13."The Hanging Tree"Jerry Livingston, Mack David2:50
14."Saddle Tramp"Marty Robbins2:03
15."El Paso" (full length version)Marty Robbins4:38



  1. ^ RIAA Gold and Platinum database retrieved 30 July 2014
  2. ^ "National Recording Registry Picks Are "Over the Rainbow"". Library of Congress. March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Eder, Bruce. Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs at AllMusic. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Dubro, Alec (20 September 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  5. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs review". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  6. ^ "1001 Series". 1001 Series. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  7. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.