The staff of the College Football America Yearbook is on the road every weekend of the college football season, shooting games and gathering information for the following year’s book. That means a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music.
Earlier this year our College Football America Yearbook publisher Kendall Webb and our director of editorial content Chuck Cox put together ‘The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music.’ Each of them sat down and compiled a list of 100 great albums. Their goal was not to select the ‘100 greatest albums of all time.’ It was simply to select 100 great albums to write about as they passed the time during quarantine and shelter-at-home orders.
This 2020 college football season will be unprecedented in so many ways. It’s very likely none of us will be on the road for games because, like most people, we’re trying to stay healthy. And we hope you are too.
So, for the next 100 days, we’re going to publish their countdown here at CollegeFootballAmericaPR.com (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, kendallwebb.net). Consider it the ultimate playlist for the ultimate college road trip — music for every taste, from every genre and from every decade of the modern era of music. When the staff of the College Football America Yearbook is back on the road, you can bet these will be some of the tunes we’re listening to.
And, if you missed the previous installments of our series, just click here to head to the Coronavirus Countdown — 100 Days of Great Music home page.
Here’s Day 73.
There’s not much to connect Marty Robbins to Terrence Trent D’Arby, our two featured artists of the day.
So it’s a good day instead just to explore the roots of one of those artists, and it’s hard to beat the music of the legendary Marty Robbins. The album featured today by Robbins is one of country music’s earliest classic albums, and as the title suggests, it features music that evokes the cowboy spirit of the Old West.
About a quarter of a century before Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs was released in 1959, the singing cowboys dominated the country music market on record. They were also a force in Hollywood which made stars out of cowboy heroes like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and The Sons Of The Pioneers. It was the 1930’s, long before the LP came along, and Roy Rogers was actually a member of the Sons of the Pioneers before striking out under his own name. His music is part of the inspiration behind Robbins’ album that we feature today, and the 1999 box set Happy Trails: The Roy Rogers Collection takes a deeper look at Rogers’ career after his exit from the Sons Of The Pioneers in 1937. It’s also your bonus pick of the day.
— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb
CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY
Why I Love It
Released shortly after I graduated from high school, this debut album blew me away on first listen. With some fantastic songs and a stunningly beautiful voice, D’Arby made an amazing record that was also a huge commercial success. The album produced five singles, including “Wishing Well” and “Sign Your Name,” but the deep cuts more than hold their own, as well. He goes from a whisper (“As Yet Untitled) to a scream (“Dance Little Sister) and everything in between at the drop of a hat, which I love. The record also culminates with one of my all-time favorite cover songs, his take on the Smokey Robinson classic “Who’s Loving You.” Although D’Arby never equaled the success of his first album, he contributed one of the best albums of the 1980s. Nowadays, he still records under the name Sananda Maitreya. I would love for him to do a tour and play this album in its entirety. If he ever does, take my money.
“Wishing Well,” “Sign Your Name” and “As Yet Untitled”
Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day
Whoa, now here’s a blast from the past. Terrence Trent D’Arby disappeared from the scene almost as fast as his hit record blew up, but there for a short time, this music was everywhere. It’s very much a product of its time, but it was good to give this one a spin again after more than 20 years I’m sure.
KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY
Why I Love It
I still have my father’s original vinyl copy of this album dating back to 1959. It’s been part of our family since its release 61 years ago, and I wore it out as a child.
Dad had all of Marty Robbins’ early LP’s, and he was one of the first country artists to embrace the concept album idea. Johnny Cash and, to some extent, Merle Haggard and others would follow that trail eventually. But nobody ever did it better than this.
This was the album that introduced Marty’s classic “El Paso” to the world, but the range of styles and songs are all over the map here. The one thing they all share is spirit of the Old West embodied in the album’s title. One of the most enduring and beloved collections in country music history.
“Big Iron,” “Cool Water” and “El Paso”
Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day
This is an artist I am kicking myself for not including on my list. Marty Robbins was the first true storytelling artist I can recall hearing. I was also born in El Paso, so I was a fan the instant I heard him croon about my hometown. Nobody tells a story through song quite like this legendary balladeer. The fact that this album was recorded in one eight-hour session amazes me. It’s an outstanding record that I love. Interesting side note: the tune of “El Paso” is used as the fight song for the University of Texas at El Paso. Way cool.