Randy Travis spent years struggling for widespread recognition before he became one of the defining voices of the late 1980's. A sound Nashville executives initially deemed "too country" blossomed very early in his career. His late '70s recordings for Paula Records, issued under the future Randy Travis' birth name Randy Traywick, prove that his abilities were on full display back then.
Footage from what appears to be a public access television show titled Variety Showcase captures what is labeled as "Travis' first television appearance" in 1978, though we weren't able to verify if that claim is accurate. In the rare clip, Travis performs the George Jones' chestnut "All the Praises."
Travis sustained his love of legendary performers made him a staunch traditionalist in a pop-oriented field. In some respects, he was the Chris Stapleton or Jason Isbell of his time, offering old souls a new alternative.
By the 1990's, Travis' love of old-school country came full-circle. He became a recurring duet partner for Jones whenever they appeared on the same television program. It was a role that vaulted many talented women (Margie Singleton, Melba Montgomery and of course Tammy Wynette) to greater renown in years' past. At this stage in Jones' career, sharing vocal duties with him served as a lifetime achievement award for Travis, as he entered the same class of true country crooners as his idols.
This post was originally published on December 12, 2017.