Randy Travis “First Impressions” Live Album Unearthed

Any time “new to us” music is unearthed from Randy Travis, it’s cause for attention and celebration. Afflicted with Aphasia after his stroke in 2013, it’s unlikely new music will be forthcoming from the Hall of Fame singer and songwriter anytime soon. But having amassed such a legendary career, there are always extra tracks and unearthed recordings to be had if you dig deep enough. In 2021, Randy Travis released expanded editions of his debut album Storms of Life, and his holiday album An Old Time Christmas with previously-unheard bonus tracks.

Now, a previously-unpublished live album has appeared without any fanfare or explanation that is definitely worth checking out. Populating at the end of November/early December exclusively on YouTube (see below), the 13-track album recorded live at the legendary Gilley’s night club in Pasadena, TX in 1986 captures Randy Travis in peak form right as he was breaking out nationally in country music.

Along with some of Randy’s most signature songs from early in his career such as “On The Other Hand,” “Storms of Life,” and “1982,” the album also includes Randy Travis covering songs many have never heard from him before, including “Louisiana Saturday Night,” George Strait’s “The Chair” written by Hank Cochran and Dean Dillon, and “American Trilogy” made popular by Mickey Newbury.

Taken from a Westwood One radio broadcast with announcer and all, what makes this recording unique is it includes all kinds of stage banter, stories, and jokes from Randy, and it comes from a legendary spot in Gilley’s during a really important time in Randy’s career. It really captures Randy’s personality, not just his music.

There is no question these recordings are a great addition to the Randy Travis catalog. The question is where exactly they came from, and why now? The 13-song album was actually released in two separate album forms, even though both albums include the same exact music. The first is called My Wandering Ways: Live Pasedena ’86 Syndicated Broadcast, and was released on November 30th, 2021 by “Carnival.” The second is called Randy Travis First Impressions: The 1986 Pasadena, Texas Broadcast and was released December 3rd by “Fast Draw.” These are not bootleg recordings uploaded by a random user, but official recordings auto-generated for YouTube by publishers.

Saving Country Music reached out to Randy’s representative to attempt to find out more about the recordings and their release, and didn’t hear back. But poking around, there doesn’t seem to be any record of these albums being released previously in the internet era, or if they were, they were only in a very limited capacity. Again, they’re only available on YouTube, though you can find Spotify listings for both My Wandering Ways and First Impressions, but all the tracks are grayed out and unavailable.

There was also another live recording of Randy Travis released from Gilley’s in 1989 by Westwood One, but this appears to be more for radio broadcast than something for public consumption, which this 1986 was likely too originally, but has now been turned into a proper album.

Either way, it’s a great recording of Randy Travis live and with professional, radio broadcast quality, and one you wouldn’t find unless you went actively looking for it on YouTube. If/when more information is unearthed about these recordings, it will be updated here. And if you happen to know more, pipe up below in the comments.

© 2024 Saving Country Music