Gunfighter-Ballads-Robbins-CDDidn’t feel great today, so a quick “B” post for the April AtoZchallenge.

I have no idea why my Mom had a Marty Robbins album. But she did and three songs from it still stand as among my favorites – two of them happen to start with the letter B.

Big Iron

“To the town of Agua Fria rode a stranger one fine day.”

I couldn’t wait to hear what happened next. I’m not sure if reading about the Wild West made me like this music more or if this music made me want to read more about the Wild West. Also, read about the Wild West – it really was wild.

Anyway, Big Iron is my second favorite Marty Robbins song (El Paso by far my fav).

“The swiftness of the ranger is still talked about today.” And I still love this song.

185 Holding Back 5,000

The Ballad of the Alamo fired my imagination of military glory when I was a kid. Until I got a little older and started figuring out that those 13 days of glory were days of terror and death; sweat and blood; fear and courage. Also that the Texans were in the midst of a land grab from Mexico. It’s been a while since I read the history, but there was shady dealings all around.

Anyway, I did love that song.

It also set me up for disappointment the first time (well, only time) I’ve seen the Alamo. I’d never thought through and taken into account how cities expand when thinking about the Alama. Of course it was still out in the middle of the fields, surrounded by dust and grandly and somberly derelict with age. Yeah, smack dab in the middle of San Antonia and mostly gone. One of these days I’m going to the full size one built for the movie, which I think is still around (though I just looked and it’s closed to the public – noooooooooo!).

Two Bad Boys

Didn’t think of this when I was putting together my list, but the following two songs are tied to memories of my Dad. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and Bad Moon Rising.

I can still remember my Dad explaining HBO to me when I was 7 or so. Movies without commercials on all the time. Of course, HBO quickly started doing comedy specials and Fraggle Rock! and Showtime and others soon followed, but HBO was friggin’ incredible when it launched. No more need to hope that the Sunday night movie was going to be worth watching. And no commercials – before Tivo and VCR . . . boom, mind blown.

Anyway, my Dad and Benny (my stepmom) had a habit of pretty much letting us watch movies. I had heard Bad Moon Rising, but since I saw An American Werewolf in London in 1981 or 82, I hardly ever hear the song without thinking of Jack turning into a werewolf.

Not a fan of horror movies, but this one is a classic. Must see. And a perfect combo of song and movie.

My Dad had a stack of records at Mawmaw’s in her den. The den was the good room – where at one point I had a giant race track set up and also the room where I watched my first rated R movie, yep, on HBO – Animal House. To this day, Animal House is one of my favorite movies, initially because it had the first pair of moving boobs I’d ever seen – I had found my Dad’s stack of playboys, but not quite the same. And, no, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbo. Also, toga.

JYD – The Junkyard Dog. Man, I loved me some Mid-South Wrestling.

Jim Croce was one of the albums in there and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – baddest man in the whole damn town. I think I might have liked this song because it mentioned the Junkyard Dog, who was one of my favorite wrestlers. It’s also got some great lines “Leroy Brown looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.” If that doesn’t exactly descibe someone who just got his ass kicked in a fight, I don’t know what does.

Never thought of it before, but Texas Red from Big Iron and Leroy Brown both had a fatal flaw of overconfidence. At least Leroy survived his lesson of messing with the wife of a jealous man! And he didn’t get shot and knifed like Jim, ’cause you don’t tug on Superman’s cape and you don’t mess around with Slim.

Junkyard Dog pic from


  1. Excellent choice again today! I really like Marty Robbins, but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Bad Moon Rising (there’s a bathroom on the right!) and Croce reminds me of my childhood. I know that may sound strange. But Leroy Brown and Time in a Bottle were my favorite Croce tunes. I sometimes wonder what other great songs he would have come up with if he had not died in that fateful plane crash.

    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970’s Billboard Hits

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love Time in a Bottle, Operator, and his bleach blond beauty with a streak of mean. Buddy Holly, Jim Croce, Otis Redding, Aliyah and others I can’t think of off-hand because I haven’t had enough caffeine yet! So much great music potential gone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As I started reading this, my only thought was “yeah , yeah, when do we get to ‘Bad Moon Rising?’ ” One of my favorite songs and it may have been on the first album I ever bought. Good choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew that. Did it on purpose. I’m sure I could research this, but idle speculation is more fun — did anyone have a greater burst of song-writing creativity in such a short period as Fogerty? FYI, the album of other folks covering his songs that came out a few years back = excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

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