Johnny's Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

Johnny's Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

     
 

Johnny Cash is as country as country gets, but look just below the surface and you can find plenty of blues influence in his music. So a tribute to the Man in Black that calls on blues artists and blues arrangements of Cash songs is hardly far-fetched. And, considering the caliber of the participating artists, the album’s success isn’t surprising, either. Among the… See more details below

Overview

Johnny Cash is as country as country gets, but look just below the surface and you can find plenty of blues influence in his music. So a tribute to the Man in Black that calls on blues artists and blues arrangements of Cash songs is hardly far-fetched. And, considering the caliber of the participating artists, the album’s success isn’t surprising, either. Among the diverse highlights are roughed-up versions of “Train of Love” by Paul Reddick, “Big River” by Colin Linden, and “Folsom Prison Blues” by Blackie & the Rodeo Kings; a jazzy “Get Rhythm” featuring Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Beny Davis; and a mariachi instrumental rendition of “Send a Picture of Mother” by Kevin Bret. Also affecting are the more acoustic-leaning numbers, including Chris Thomas King’s “Rock Island Line,” Maria Muldaur’s “Walking the Blues,” and Alvin Youngblood Hart’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (a Kris Kristofferson song that Cash made into a hit). And a genuine love for Cash and his music unites the efforts of such unlikely contributors (at least on the same project) as Mavis Staples, Garland Jeffries, and Sleepy LaBeef. In all, an imaginative triumph.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andrew Hamlin
Effectively honoring an amazing song from an amazing performer requires that you kick against the grass marking the steps of the master. Cash's country music re-oriented toward its blues element gives kickers a general direction for a collection hitting more shin than soupçon. Paul Reddick's "Train of Love" whirs into life on its master tape capstan and jumps track 13 seconds in a show of off-roading; "I have wondered," he ponders in the liner notes, "how things might have been if Johnny had hired Mississippi Fred McDowell (Luther Perkins is chopped liver?) as the guitar player for the Tennessee Three." Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown joins forces with Benjy Davis to swing out "Get Rhythm," taking turns sounding agreeably road-wearied. Chris Thomas King tunes his 12-string guitar "down to B flat standard, which is the way Leadbelly played it," and recasts "Rock Island Line" as a talking blues, which it almost was anyway, then skates away on the train engineer's cheer at cheating the toll (though no one ever asks whether the burned toll man's waiting for him on the return trip). Faced with doing over a perfect song with a perfect arrangement, Garland Jeffreys brilliantly deduces that a little more makes a lot more, and filigrees "I Walk the Line" in accordion and a more pronounced "boom-chicka-boom." Harry Manx's "Long Black Veil" shimmers under his predictable but effective slide guitar and surprising touches of Indian instrumentation, plus desperate gospel-fueled backing vocals, stripping finality from tone, turning the song over into an unsolved mystery. OK, Alvin Youngblood Hart doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing on "Sunday Morning Coming Down"; he asks "Well, who hasn't been there?" in the notes, and the problem is he sounds like almost everybody else who's been there. But then along comes Sleepy LaBeef, sounding like his voice went down one half-step for each of his 68 years, singing "Frankie's Man Johnny" like no one ever told him it wasn't his. Don't settle for walking if you can swoosh.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/29/2003
Label:
Northern Blues
UPC:
0809509001729
catalogNumber:
17
Rank:
217179

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Garland Jeffreys   Vocals
Sleepy LaBeef   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Maria Muldaur   Vocals
Del Rey   Guitar
Richard Bell   Piano
Mark Bosch   Acoustic Guitar
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown   Guitar,Vocals
Chris Cameron   Wurlitzer
Tony Cedras   Accordion
Gary Craig   Drums
Bob Doidge   Trumpet
John Dymond   Bass
Stephen Fearing   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Joe Krown   Organ
Colin Linden   Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Harmony
David Peters   Drums
Brian Stanley   Bass
Mavis Staples   Vocals
Butch Taylor   Bass,Bass Guitar
Jim Tullio   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Bass Guitar
Jim Weider   Slide Guitar
Kevin Breit   Mandolin,Bass Clarinet,Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar,Mandola,Mandocello,national steel guitar
Jim Vivian   Bass,Fiddle
Corey Harris   Guitar,Vocals,Djun-Djun
Alvin Youngblood Hart   Guitar,Vocals
David Hyde   Bass,Bass Guitar
Chris Thomas   Vocals,12-string Guitar
Paul Mertens   Bass Harmonica
Alan Freedman   Acoustic Guitar
Kevin Tooley   Drums
Tony Backhouse   Background Vocals
Bryan Owings   Drums
David P. Jackson   Background Vocals
Benjy Davis   Vocals
Paul Reddick   Harmonica,Vocals
Mic Capdevielle   Bass (Vocal)
Emily Braden   Background Vocals
Jerry Cavanaugh   Drums
Darrell Rose   Percussion,Djembe
Davide Direnzo   Percussion,Drums
David Roe   Upright Bass
Tom Wilson   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Lead Belly   Composer
Johnny Cash   Arranger,Composer,Author
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Jim Bateman   Producer
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown   Producer
Greg Calbi   Mastering
Bob Doidge   Engineer
Colin Linden   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Neville Pearsall   Engineer
Mavis Staples   Producer
Jim Tullio   Producer,Engineer
John Whynot   Engineer
Marijohn Wilkin   Composer
Kevin Breit   Producer
Corey Harris   Arranger
Danny Dill   Composer
Robert Lunn   Composer
Chris Thomas   Producer,Engineer
Gene Foster   Engineer
Andy Bowmer   Engineer
Man Called Wrycraft   Art Direction
Traditional   Composer
Jordy Sharpe   Producer
Kevin Massey   Engineer
Fred Litwin   Liner Notes
Tom Wilson   Liner Notes

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