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By Burnett James

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In addition to working with Starr at Vern and Don’s, Martin joined him on KTYL in Mesa, Arizona. “We had a big window, and cars would drive up to the studio and look in at the show,” Starr explains. “We started singing ‘When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again,’ and when Marty was singing, I looked cross-eyed at him, and it broke him up. indd 27 1/4/12 3:56 PM 28 me and I’d laugh and he started looking cross-eyed and we laughed the whole show. ”11 At some point during 1947–48, still ashamed to admit what he was doing, Martin discussed the matter with a boyhood friend named Harry Tolmachoff.

The first session, with what a music analyst called “a distinctive old-timey flavor,” had not matched the character of other Columbia recordings of the period. Marty’s story of troubles with Marizona, “I’ll Go On Alone,” was the first song recorded in Dallas. Released October 10, 1952, and backed with another of his songs from the session, “You’re Breaking My Heart (While You’re Holding My Hand),” it hit Billboard’s Country Singles Chart on December 20 and stayed eighteen weeks, with two weeks at number one.

Frankie Starr arranged with a Los Angeles publisher to print a songbook with his and Marty’s songs, as well as photos of both of them. In June 1949 he paid for a demo session in Phoenix on which Marty sang four of his own songs, all heartbreak ballads. The acetates were to be transcribed by the publishing company and printed in the songbook. Although never released, and not made for release, these acetates are now preserved as the first recordings of a singer who would become a legend. The songbook never got printed because, according to Starr, Marty refused to pay his half of the cost.

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