I’ve found, that in my 34 years experience on this revolving rock, that the best (read: only) way to experience Texas is through song. Personal politics aside (for now), Marty Robbins’ tenderly told ballad of haunting devastation, albeit now 55 years old, still manages to jerk a hidden tear or two from this sappy, heavyhearted lover of Western ballads.
Little more screams unquestionable masculinity than a gunfighter, dressed in black, poised and ready to maim a potential opponent, while he stands endlessly noble over a flamboyant (and there’s nothing wrong with that) sea of hot pink. Displayed on my vinyl-papered bedroom wall for years, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs successfully manages to steer that sturdy steed along the fine line between sensitivity and unchallenged storytelling. I know that for a lot of people, Western really isn’t their ideal choice for a hog-killin’ time, and believe me, I used to lasso that sentiment myself, but given the song’s history, coupled with the beautifully told ballad of lost love, I’ve concluded that, at least for me, El Paso is a legitimate cry from an otherwise worthless state.