Dressed in Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A spotty but spirited tribute, Dressed in Black stays true to the elegant simplicity and rootsy grandeur of Johnny Cash's music, forsaking even flourishes such as the horns on "Ring of Fire" in favor of a basic trio or quartet backing on the tracks. The song selection underscores Cash's towering stature as a songwriter and, in a few cases, his impeccable choice of like-minded cover songs. Aside from Robbie Fulks's strained reading of "Cry Cry Cry" and the usually formidable Dale Watson's studied rendering of "I Walk the Line," the performances here evoke the spirit of the originals while adding a fresh spin via each artist's signature style. Classicists will find Rodney ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A spotty but spirited tribute, Dressed in Black stays true to the elegant simplicity and rootsy grandeur of Johnny Cash's music, forsaking even flourishes such as the horns on "Ring of Fire" in favor of a basic trio or quartet backing on the tracks. The song selection underscores Cash's towering stature as a songwriter and, in a few cases, his impeccable choice of like-minded cover songs. Aside from Robbie Fulks's strained reading of "Cry Cry Cry" and the usually formidable Dale Watson's studied rendering of "I Walk the Line," the performances here evoke the spirit of the originals while adding a fresh spin via each artist's signature style. Classicists will find Rodney Crowell's and Raul Malo's exquisite balladic renderings of, respectively, "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "I Guess Things Happen That Way" more than worth the price of admission. Kelly Willis is a flat-out heartbreaker in a shuffling duet with Charlie Robison on Richard FariƱa's folktale of philosophical self-sacrifice, "Pack Up Your Sorrows." Billy Burnette whose bloodline connects him directly to Cash's Sun roots gives the monumental "Ring of Fire" a credible, in-the-pocket, rockabilly workout, and album co-producer Chuck Mead of BR5-49 teams with Mandy Barnett for a feisty run at "Jackson." But the album's bookends are for the ages: Hank Williams III's stark interpretation of "Wreck of the Old '97" opens the disc by summoning the ghostly apparition of his legendary grandfather in parched, nasal tones, and Chris Knight's take on the earthy love song "Flesh & Blood," with a viola conjuring a sepia-toned ambiance as the artist declares his love and longing in a voice thirsting for succor, is a chilling finale. In a year notable for its focus on Johnny Cash's legacy, Dressed in Black is a fitting salute to the things he's handed down.
All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
Few artists deserve tribute more than Johnny Cash, and none pose a greater challenge to those who would offer their homage. The problem is that his sound has been pounded so deep into America's soul that it's almost impossible to play his music without lapsing into imitation -- and those who try to avoid that trap can sound a little misguided. Examples of both approaches abound throughout Dressed in Black, though even the bravest performers generally sing to a tack bass rhythm accompanied by those menacing low guitar licks that Cash patented long ago. Some do a pretty good job of evoking Cash, especially James Intveld, whose rendition of "Folsom Prison Blues" comes darn close to the original, and Chuck Mead on "There You Go." Damon Bramblett also has Cash's phrasing down; the fact that his voice is pitched about an octave higher, along with his Maybelle Carter style on guitar, makes "I'm Gonna Sit on the Porch and Pick On My Old Guitar" a special treat. Then there's Billy Burnette, whose playing comes closest to the essence of Cash but whose vocals completely miss the squint-eyed macho quality that "Ring of Fire" requires. Rarest of all are those artists who have found their own voice yet use this format to acknowledge their forebears; none does this more persuasively than Dale Watson, who turns "I Walk the Line" into something both powerful and original -- the ultimate tribute that anyone can pay to the real icons in this business.
Billboard
There's a few gems here that shouldn't be missed. Wes Orshoski

There's a few gems here that shouldn't be missed. Wes Orshoski
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/17/2002
  • Label: Dualtone Music Group
  • UPC: 803020112728
  • Catalog Number: 1127
  • Sales rank: 306,070

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Wreck of the Old '97 - Hank Williams III (2:58)
  2. 2 Cry Cry Cry (2:39)
  3. 3 Ballad of a Teenage Queen (3:11)
  4. 4 I Guess Things Happen That Way (3:07)
  5. 5 There You Go (2:18)
  6. 6 Get Rhythm - The Reverend Horton Heat (2:29)
  7. 7 Pack Up Your Sorrows - Bruce Robison (2:27)
  8. 8 Ring of Fire - Billy Burnette (3:49)
  9. 9 Luther Played the Boogie (2:16)
  10. 10 Big River (2:36)
  11. 11 Folsom Prison Blues (3:09)
  12. 12 I Still Miss Someone (2:51)
  13. 13 I'm Gonna Sit on the Porch and Pick on My Old Guitar (2:43)
  14. 14 I Walk the Line (2:54)
  15. 15 Train of Love (3:38)
  16. 16 Straight A's in Love (2:08)
  17. 17 Jackson (2:51)
  18. 18 Flesh and Blood - Chris Knight (3:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rodney Crowell Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Rosie Flores Electric Guitar, Vocals
Kelly Willis Vocals
Billy Burnette Drums, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Damon Bramblett Acoustic Guitar
Earl Poole Ball Piano, Vocals
Billy Block Drums, Vocals
Ken Coomer Drums
James Intveld Electric Guitar, Vocals
Jimmy Lester Drums
Raul Malo Electric Guitar, Vocals
Bruce Robison Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Tammy Rogers Viola
Maxwell Schauf Drums
Kenny Vaughan Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Redd Volkaert Electric Guitar, Vocals
Dale Watson Guitar, Vocals
W.S. Holland Drums
Eddie Angel Electric Guitar, Vocals
Mandy Barnett Vocals
Robbie Fulks Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Hawk Shaw Wilson Drums
Chuck Mead Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Guitar Effects
Hank Williams III Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Chris Knight Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Al Esis Drums
Jerry Roe Drums
David Roe Vocals, Acoustic Bass
Tom Lewis Drums
Technical Credits
Norman Blake Composer
Johnny Cash Composer, Liner Notes
Bob Johnson Composer
Billy Edd Wheeler Composer
Chuck Mead Producer
Gaby Rodgers Composer
Roy Cash Composer
Paul Gannon Engineer
David Roe Producer
Hank Williams Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A listener should listen to real music

    I think this is miles above Kiindred Spirits. It has the traditional sound that made Johnny Cash a Legend.I can only found fault in one track and that is Hank The 3rd.He went far away from the style of The wreck of the old 97.I would put money on "A listener" liking this song.He obviously is not a follower of traditional sounding music.My take on Kindred Spirits is,you don't change words to Johnny Cash songs!!!When you have perfection,you cannot make it better.Keb Moe should not have been put on the album if he had to change the words to the song.I am ashamed of Marty Stuart for allowing this.I would vote for Rodney Crowell as best former son in law over Marty Stuart after seeing how they each pay Tribute to the true Man in Black.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    SAD SAD SAD

    This album with only 3 decent tracks has one good thing about it.it ends!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Some incredible Cash covers

    In a year that's seen the reissue of so many original Cash LPs, one might wonder what need there is for a tribute album. The answer, as unwound on this album, is obvious: the impact of Cash's music far exceeds his own recordings, having become an essential element of American music. These eighteen covers illuminate both Cash's original legacy -- his songs -- as well as the influence he's had on several generations of musicians. ¶ Like any such various artist compilation, the results are uneven. But unlike many such collections, this one's high-points are exceptionally high, and the remaining cuts are still intriguing. Among the highlights is the opening triple-threat of Hank Williams III, Robbie Fulks, and Rodney Crowell. Others impressive reworkings include those from Rev. Horton Heat, Billy Burnette and Chris Knight. ¶ Hank III's remake of "Wreck of the Old '97" weds the wail of his grand-dad with the locomotive energy of Cash. Williams' and Chuck Mead's guitars push the rhythm that's laid down by bassist Dave Roe and drummer W.S. Holland, and Col. J.D. Wilkes' harmonica screams like a runaway train. ¶ Fulks attacks "Cry, Cry, Cry" with an urgency that even Cash's original (his first single for Sun) didn't register, and Rodney Crowell makes hay from one of the lightest-weight tunes in the Cash catalog, Jack Clement's "Ballad of a Teenage Queen." Though "Ballad" was a #1 country hit for Cash in 1958, Clement's production, especially the chorus and soprano backing vocals, always seemed like mismatch for Cash's presence. Not so with Crowell's take - the cleaner lines of the ringing guitar, the smoothly mixed backing vocals and the narrative lead vocal polishes the song into a true gem. ¶ Rev. Horton Heat infuses his rockabilly mania into "Get Rhythm," while still retaining the essence of Cash's original version. Similarly, Billy Burnette modernizes "Ring of Fire" without losing its soul; the song's loping tempo and iconic guitar hook are lovingly rendered as sacred text. Chris Knight sings Cash's "Flesh and Blood" as his own, rendering it in the spare, acoustic style that's become his trademark. Stripped of the strings and female backing chorus of Cash's 1970 original, the imagery of nature is ever more potent. ¶ A pair of duets recount the combined success of Cash and June Carter. Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis' rendition of "Pack Up Your Sorrows" hints at the Cash/Carter version with it's click-clack train rhythm, but their softer, polished voices more closely follow the song's originators, Richard & Mimi Farina. Mandy Barnett and Chuck Mead's "Jackson" can't possibly match the bristling interpersonal spark of the original, but it fully captures the songs swaggering repartee, and, unlike Nancy Sinatra, Barnett (singing the hell out of the song) gets the lyric "And I'll be waitin' in Jackson, behind my Ja-pan fan" right! ¶ As noted at the top, a world in which Cash's originals are readily available still needs these covers, if only to remind us that Cash's songs -- those he's written, and those he's simply made his own -- are as iconic as his performances.

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