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A Marty Story From Don Winters

We were doing a show at Disney World in Florida and had finished the show and an autograph session. Marty came over and informed me that we were running late getting to our next show date and for me to get changed into traveling clothes as fast as I could. I hurried into the dressing room and, as fast as I could, threw my clothes on while the others were standing by, waiting with instruments all piled in the room, telling me to grab my share to carry out to the bus. I picked up a load and started out the door in front of the rest of the guys.

We had to walk down this long, enclosed tunnel so I didn't notice at first, but when we got out into the open and onto the parking lot, I noticed feeling a slight breeze blowing on my legs. My hands were full of instruments so I couldn't see my feet as I stepped but I could feel the breeze on my legs. I made mention of it to Marty and the guys, walking just a few feet behind me and all I could get out of them was for me to step it up, we had to hurry. A few more steps and I could hear the guys laughing behind me and I turned around to see them all, especially Marty, just laughing and hee-hawing at me almost to the point of falling down on the ground. I looked around, saw nothing and then I looked down at my feet as I put the instruments on the ground beside me. I saw what they were breaking up over ...about 8-9 inches of my pant legs had been cut off. Marty had sneaked into my dressing room, took the scissors and cut them off, knowing I wouldn't notice in the rush to get out to the bus.

He was always doing something like that to me or someone else in the group. He enjoyed doing this every chance he got and I'll bet that no one else in the business had as much fun as we did when we were on the road with Marty. He was just a pleasure to know and to work with. There's not another person whom I respect more than I did him, and still do. I miss him a lot.

NB: Don worked with Martin for 22 years. He and Bobby Sykes, were part of a 'threesome' on stage, doing harmony, and their voices blended in perfectly, even when Marty would try his best to break them up with his antics and funny faces while singing. Bobby died on November 7, 1994 at age 66.

This artical is from "Billboards Book of No 1 Country Hits, written by Tom Rowland in 1991.

Marty Robbins was 57 years old when he died on December 8, 1982. Probably the most notable thing about the first 17 years of his life was the fact that he managed to evade the law for a series of minor offences and through guile and good fortune avoided being sent to reforn school.

Born into an a life of abject poverty, disliked by his father. Martin David Robinson quite literally spent much of his early life living in a tent on the edge of the desert near Glendale, Arizona.

Long before he reached his teens he was herding goats, digging ditches, picking cotton and generally turning his hand to whatever job he could find. Often slaving all day for a paltry 25. Small wonder then in later life he admitted to being adverse to what he called "honest Labour".

Having failed dismally at school, he rarely held down a job long enough to collect his first pay packet, but at the age of 17 he joined the navy for three years and that proved to be his salvation.

Marty was small of stature, but like the hero of one of his later songs, Mr Shorty, he was all heart. and like the goats he once herded, having dug his heels in there was no shifting him.

During his time in the navy Marty had taken up boxing and although Roy Acuff, himself a fiery pugilist in his younger days, nicknamed Marty "Canvas Back Robbins" he willingly conceded that "Marty Robbins was not amongst the top ten people I would wish to fight, he was amongst the top ten people that I liked, he was a likeable - no, lovable man. and I miss him very much". This is high praise indeed from an astute man like Roy Acuff. But is a sentiment repeated time and again by all who knew the man.

Bill Sherrill was responsible for the production of El Paso City, something of a comeback hit for Marty in 1976. He had dealt with countless stars in his time, but he particularly enjoyed working with Marty and was once quoted as saying. "Marty and I would argue like cats and dogs. He'd say "You little red headed bastard you don't know a thing! You steal more songs than I do!.

Really Marty Robbins was an absolute pleasure to work with.