Cash cut all these sides as part of the conditions for leaving Sun Records; in other words, he did it more or less against his will. Still, he was too proud a man to goldbrick the sessions completely, and this collection is not without interest. For one thing, here we begin to see some of the theretofore-hidden Johnny Cash we later came to know and love. Sam Phillips kept a close watch on the material he cut initially at Sun; for example, one of the reasons Cash decided to leave was that the boss wouldn't let him record gospel music, his first love. Here, as an unsupervised lame duck, he turns in a fervent "I Was There When It Happened." Until it no longer mattered, he also couldn't cut such folkie material at Sun as Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene" and Lonnie Donegan's "Rock Island Line," though such songs always played a significant role in his repertoire. And there's nearly half an album's worth of Hank Williams songs here, some of them ("I Heard That Lonesome Whistle") seemingly tailor-made for Cash. This package may not be for everybody, but it's an undeniable bonanza for Johnny Cash fans.
By John Morthland on 07.29.09 in Icons
Johnny Cash, who would have been 80 on February 26, is still everywhere in American culture. He's on TV commercials and in videos, on radio and in what's left of record stores. From 1955, when he signed with Sun Records,...
By John Morthland on 09.30.14 in Features
The man who invented modern Americana was also its biggest cut-up.
By Andrew Parks on 06.24.14 in News
"It's a frustrating job in many respects," producer Rick Rubin says of his chosen profession in a recent interview with BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. "It's like fishing. You can go out fishing, but you can't say, 'I'm going...
By Andrew Parks on 03.25.14 in News
"When these tapes were rediscovered and I heard them again, I was reminded of this man who was my friend," John Carter Cash told the LA Times, after being asked about Johnny Cash’s lost album, Out Among the Stars....