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I was a teenager (not sure how old) and had never seen Marty in person
before this particular time, although I was already hooked on the
beautiful voice and tearjerker songs. He was doing a show in northern
Indiana (possibly the music park at Anderson). It was outside and there
were a couple other acts scheduled before Marty, which I didn't really
care to see.
We had gone 'wandering' for a coke and to kill some time before he came on. We happened upon some kids (about 8-10, ages ranging from about 7-12) who were playing among some somewhat dangerous stuff lying around (cinder blocks, board planks etc.) off in a somewhat roped off area. We noticed this guy calling their attention to the dangers of playing around such stuff. They said something to him (I wasn't really able to hear what) and after a moment he left.
We were still there just talking about the trip to the area (we had come from about an hour and half south of there). Then we noticed this guy coming back, this time with a guitar. He called the kids to where he was, said something to them and then they all, with the guy, walked over to an area out of the way of passers-by. He arranged' the kids in circle and he then sat down right there on the ground in the circle's center. He proceeded to start singing to the kids. As soon as he started singing, there was no doubt as to who he was....Marty Robbins was there sitting on the ground, singing to these little ones. We enjoyed every minute of it (sung mostly cowboy, campfire songs) and even though his stage performance was perfect and we heard all our favorite MR songs, him among all those little kids, occupying their time and (we figured) to keep someone from getting hurt, was better than any performance that has ever been on stage. I don't know if he was bored from waiting to go on stage or what but we got more than our money's worth that day, away from the center stage.
That memory sticks out in my mind when I hear certain songs by Marty, Red River Valleyand another one he sang about gathering around a campfire but I cannot recall any words or the title... he's never recorded it to my knowledge). I've never seen another performer do anything like that before I saw him do it, or since. That's the Marty Robbins I remember. In future years, I was to see him in concert and meet him lots of times. He has always remained a perfect gentleman (with very few exceptions), nice guy and always treated his fans as "VIP'S".
You can read more about Marty Here, this is a very informative site by Cool LZ.
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