Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins (Relentless Nashville)
Although Don McLean is best known for one of history's biggest pop hits, "American Pie," he's long had an appreciation for country, in particular the work of the late Marty Robbins.
On this entertaining tribute, Don takes on a dozen Marty oldies, and the result is a fresh look at some country classics. "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" begins as an elegant pop ballad before kicking into an edgy country blues. The epic "El Paso" is slowed down a bit and "Devil Woman" is given a jaunty Caribbean feel, while the emotional "You Gave Me A Mountain" hews close to Marty's dramatic version.
Also included are a few tunes associated with Marty that the late country legend didn't write. These include "Among My Souvenirs," a '20s pop standard he took to No. 1 in 1976, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's perky, introspective "The Story Of My Life." Oddly, Don also throws in Hank Williams' much-recorded "Kaw Liga" - which was never a hit for Marty.
Don's warm voice is well-suited to the songs, and his affection for the subject is obvious. Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins should appeal to the baby boomers devoted to Don, as well as to country fans who will enjoy hearing the work of a true icon so well interpreted.
- Mark Marymont