Hymns By Johnny Cash [Bonus Track]

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Frustrated by Sam Phillips's refusal to let him cut gospel music at Sun Records, Johnny Cash signed with Columbia in 1958 and almost immediately set out to realize his dream project. Writing or co-writing five new songs and supplementing those with seven other testimonials -- including the revered standards "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "The Old Account" -- he built the first of many monuments to his faith, 1959's Hymns by Johnny Cash, now available on CD for the first time. Typical of Cash's approach to spiritual music, the songs here break down into those that honor his Lord's steady, guiding hand through troubled waters (the forthright, stately "Lead Me Gently Home" ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Frustrated by Sam Phillips's refusal to let him cut gospel music at Sun Records, Johnny Cash signed with Columbia in 1958 and almost immediately set out to realize his dream project. Writing or co-writing five new songs and supplementing those with seven other testimonials -- including the revered standards "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "The Old Account" -- he built the first of many monuments to his faith, 1959's Hymns by Johnny Cash, now available on CD for the first time. Typical of Cash's approach to spiritual music, the songs here break down into those that honor his Lord's steady, guiding hand through troubled waters (the forthright, stately "Lead Me Gently Home" and Cash's jubilant "I Call Him," bolstered by Luther Perkins's twangy solos); those that appeal to Him for direction in life (Cash's powerful original, "Lead Me Father"); and those that reflect poignantly on the spiritual bond among his family members. The latter topic produces, arguably, the album's two most powerful moments: the recitation "Are All the Children In," in which Cash recounts a childhood made rich by his mother's love and anticipates meeting her in heaven, and "Snow in His Hair," in which he imagines an afterlife reunion with his elderly father. The humble conviction fueling Cash's sturdy baritone is riveting throughout, evidence of how profound these sentiments are to him. The music -- spare, evocative, emotionally resonant -- completes a momentous artistic statement.
All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Although Sam Phillips steered Cash away from gospel and sacred music in the mid-'50s at Sun Records, in fact, much of what Cash recorded in his early career still had a devout tone, often with piety and imagery that wouldn't have sounded foreign in a gospel context. So although this 1959 album was entirely devoted to religious songs, it didn't really sound that different from his prior work, and remains accessible to Cash fans whether or not they're religious or have an interest in sacred song. The arrangements remain as sparse as most from his 1950s catalog, though stately backup vocals are often present. Too, these aren't strictly traditional numbers, as Cash writes or co-writes about half the tunes. Sure, "Are All the Children In" skirts bathos with its spoken sections, yet songs like "The Old Account" and "It Was Jesus" have the country-rockabilly bounce characteristic of much of his secular material. In fact, despite its specialized focus, it's somewhat generic 1950s Cash at a casual listen, though even generic 1950s Cash is good. The CD reissue adds just one bonus track, and a peripheral one at that: a "mono EP version" of "It Was Jesus," which is lacking the backup vocals found on the LP one.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/19/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998633124
  • Catalog Number: 86331

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Cash Primary Artist, Guitar, Leader, Vocals
Don Helms Steel Guitar
Marshall Grant Bass
Buddy Harman Drums
Luther Perkins Guitar
Marvin Hughes Piano
Technical Credits
Johnny Cash Arranger, Composer
Matt Kelly Tape Research
Don Law Producer
Mark Wilder Mastering
Johnny Whiteside Liner Notes
Al Quaglieri Producer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Seth Foster Mastering
Stacey Boyle Tape Research
Kay Smith Tape Research
Maggie Perrotta Tape Research
Arthur Smith Composer
O. Green Composer
Marshall T. Pack Composer
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