One of the reasons Marty Robbins has always been one of my favorite 50s singers is all the sweet guitar solos that turn up on his records. I used to think he was a great guitar player, but nothing I’d ever seen on TV ever made him look that way. Turns out the guitar solos on those old Marty Robbins hits were played by session musician Grady Martin, who was a key member of the Nashville A Team, one of the best session bands of it’s time.
(“Ain’t I the Lucky One”)
In addition to his work with Marty Robbins, he played on “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, “Oh Pretty Woman” and “Saginaw, Michigan”. He also played some killer honky tonk solos on Johnny Horton singles in the 60s and on Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” in 1980.
I guess the regular appearances of Grady’s guitar on Marty’s singles are fine examples of somebody following the good advice I first heard from my father-in-law: Surround yourself with good people and you’ll do a good job. That’s why we are so thankful for all the reliable help we have here at the shop and around the neighborhood. PauL from Vinyl Afterlife has always created beautiful designs for our stickers, T shirts and posters, and Dwitt has designed fantastic screen printed posters for our biggest events. Every weekend awesome bands visit our shop and make music (not something we “resort to”, thank you very much). It all comes together so well because so many people contribute – that’s what makes places that have “real soul”, as Nato Coles puts it.
Grady Martin’s best contribution to a Marty Robbins record may have been the essential guitar part in “El Paso”, but the most interesting was his solo on the 1961 song “Don’t Worry”. On this track he introduced the “fuzz effect” of distorting the sound of an electric guitar. According to Nashville legend it was an accident and Grady Martin didn’t like the sound. The decision to leave it as is was made by Marty’s producer, Don Law.