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Marty After Midnight
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  • It's arguable that no country singer ever came closer to straight jazz than Robbins. Released in 1962, this album of mostly jazz standards is somewhat of an anomaly in his catalog, jazz being one of the few styles he would dabble in but never fully embrace. It is part of his remarkably diverse late-'50s/early-'60s period, in which he recorded Hawaiian music, cowboy songs, honky tonk, and pop covers, all within a five-year span. Robbins was known to dive headlong into a style, and that's certainly true here -- there's not a shred of country anywhere on this album, save for an ever-present Nashville chorus and a slightly rockabilly version of "On the Sunny Side of the Street." It's not nearly as interesting, though, as Ray Price's Night Life, which utilizes the same smoky setting to better effect, and Robbins' take on these songs isn't distinctive enough to be memorable, which is perhaps the reason that most latter-day compilations have chosen to ignore this album. ~ Jim Smith
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