The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Big Iron” – Marty Robbins


“Big Iron” is a country Tex-Mex ballad from the 50s. Lyrically Big Iron tells the somber story of a Ranger’s duel with Texas Red. The people of the town believed Texas Red murdered the ranger since he had killed “one and nineteen men,” but the Ranger wins the duel  with the “big iron on his hip.”

During this time, Westerns infiltrated and dominated American media. But why? The 1950s was the post WWII era, entering the Cold War and Civil Rights era. Perhaps the cowboy became an escape to a simpler time free from these fears.

The real story with this song does not revolve around the Ranger itself,  but what the ranger represented; which was someone that could bravely face adversity, as the Ranger did– as the people of that era desired.

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