Life

Life

5.0 2
by Johnny Cash
     
 

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Assembled by Johnny Cash (with the advice of some of his most trusted friends) only a few months before he died, Life is a Baedeker to the Man in Black's perspective on the human experience. It's not a greatest-hits album, although many of the songs rank with the most beloved in Cash's repertoire. The themes of his essential box set, See more details below

Overview

Assembled by Johnny Cash (with the advice of some of his most trusted friends) only a few months before he died, Life is a Baedeker to the Man in Black's perspective on the human experience. It's not a greatest-hits album, although many of the songs rank with the most beloved in Cash's repertoire. The themes of his essential box set, Love, God, Murder, are well represented here, especially in overt songs of faith such as "I Talk to Jesus Every Day" and the moving hymn "Lead Me Gently Home"; in the touching reminiscence of his childhood, "Suppertime"; and even in a powerful love song, "You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven," from his Sun years. Life might also have been titled Family, because these 18 tunes almost all limn a system of personal values handed down from his parents, whether it's spirituality, pride in your roots ("Country Trash" and "These Are My People"), or outrage at injustice and intolerance ("The Ballad of Ira Hayes" and "The Man in Black") informed by a deeply felt patriotism ("Ragged Old Flag"). Buttressing these are forthright confessions of dissolute behavior, alternately proud ("I'm Ragged but Right"), regretful (a previously unreleased version of "I Can't Go On That Way"), and comically nostalgic, as in the duet with Waylon Jennings on "I Wish I Was Crazy Again." And for including one of the most beautiful love songs Johnny and June Carter Cash ever recorded together, "Where Did We Go Right" (from the undervalued Water from the Wells of Home album), Life gets bonus points and then some.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Compiled and designed in the manner of Love, Murder, and God, three thematically compiled Johnny Cash anthologies released to wide acclaim in the spring of 2000, Life brings together 18 songs from Cash's back catalog that in one way or another deal with the nuts and bolts of many people's existence -- home, nation, work, family, surviving hard times, and celebrating good times. Of course, the nature of this theme is broader and not nearly as cleanly defined as the themes of the three previous sets, and a few of these songs might have fared better elsewhere -- "Where Did We Go Right" and "You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven" would have fit nicely on Love, while "I Talk to Jesus Everyday" and "Lead Me Gently Home" would not feel out of place on God. But as a summation of the broad and idiosyncratic worldview of Johnny Cash, Life fares very well indeed; Cash could set a protest song like "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" or "Man in Black" next to the fiercely patriotic "Ragged Old Flag" and see no contradiction, and celebrate the importance of hard work ("Country Trash") while savoring the sweet prospect of punching out the boss ("Oney"). And as befits a man who had more than his share of ups and downs, "I'm Alright Now," in which he sings his praises of life on the straight and narrow, is followed two cuts later by "I Wish I Was Crazy Again," in which Cash and his old running buddy Waylon Jennings confess to a nostalgia for the bitter pleasures of the barroom and the street corner. All of which is to say these songs really do reflect a life as it was lived by one John R. Cash, and while this is by no stretch of the imagination a definitive look at the mind or the music of Johnny Cash, Life is an album that at once honors its theme as well as the man whose work inspired it; it's a fitting addition to the series.
Rolling Stone - Bud Scoppa
Life draws on material from 1958 to 1988, but it is utterly of a piece, thanks to Cash's immutable voice and values. Leave it to John to write his own epitaph.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/29/2008
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886972663722
catalogNumber:
726637
Rank:
78107

Tracks

  1. Suppertime
  2. Country Trash
  3. The Night Hank Williams Came to Town
  4. Time Changes Everything
  5. I Talk to Jesus Everyday
  6. You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven
  7. I'm Ragged But I'm Right
  8. These Are My People
  9. Ballad of Ira Hayes
  10. Oney
  11. Man in Black
  12. I'm Alright Now
  13. Ragged Old Flag
  14. I Wish I Was Crazy Again
  15. Where Did We Go Right
  16. Wanted Man (live)
  17. I Can't Go on That Way
  18. Lead Me Gently Home

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist
Carter Family   Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Composer,Producer
Waylon Jennings   Producer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Dave Loggins   Composer
Peter La Farge   Composer
Steven Berkowitz   Producer,Compilation Co-Producer
Bobby Braddock   Composer
Brian Ahern   Producer
Charlie Bragg   Producer
Larry Butler   Producer
Jack Clement   Producer
Tommy Duncan   Composer
Jerry Hensley   Composer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Frank Jones   Producer
Don Law   Producer
Bob McDill   Composer
Joseph M. Palmaccio   Mastering
Jack Routh   Producer
Quaglieri   Producer,Compilation Co-Producer
Don Hunstein   Cover Photo
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Ira F. Stanphill   Composer
C. Williams   Composer
James "Jimmy" Atkins   Composer
Don Schlitz   Composer
Glenn Tubb   Composer
John Carter Cash   Executive Producer
Charlie Williams   Composer
Lou Robin   Executive Producer
Triana DOrazio   Packaging Manager,Package Manager
Hoyt Johnson   Composer
Will L. Thompson   Composer
Larry Butler   Producer
H. Johnson   Composer
J. Atkins   Composer
B. Braddock   Composer
T. Duncan   Composer
D. Loggins   Composer
J. Hensley   Composer
J. Chestnut   Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Columbia Records has had many successes with Johnny Cash’s concept albums over the years. Remember the history of America in train songs on Cash’s “Ride This Train” (1960), and then there were albums like Bitter Tears-Ballads of the American Indian (1964), True West (1965), and From Sea to Shining Sea (1968). Jump ahead about fourdecades after a long and distinguished career in music, “Life” is now the fourth project in a series that also includes “Love,” “God,” and “Murder.” With the exception of “I Can’t Go On That Way,” these 18 tracks have been previously released. For the most part, the material comes from the 50s-70s, but a few tracks (The Night Hank Williams Came to Town, I’m Ragged But I’m Right, Where Did We Go Right, Wanted Man) were put out in 1983-2000 . All the songs have been remastered for improved sound quality. Each song speaks to the things that were important to The Man in Black. He wore the black for the poor, the prisoners, the illiterate, sinners, the sick, the lonely, the old, and the reckless. His songs also reinforce the fact that life is transient. Every minute should be grasped. And time waits for nobody, even Johnny who always tried to tell stories or give us sage advice and wisdom in his songs. In the previously unreleased “I Can’t Go On That Way,” Johnny sings of booze, pills, women, and unhealthy food until “highs got low and the will said no, I can’t go on that way.” Cash has had many top country hits, and his versatility allowed him to present blues, hymns, ballads, narratives, as well as songs about railroads, cowboys, and Indians. Cash personally chose well-known songs such as “Man in Black,” Dylan’s “Wanted Man” and “Ragged Old Flag” to be included on this compilation. Four days after giving his manager the final track list, Cash passed away in September, 2003 from complications of diabetes. The project begins with memories of childhood, home and family (“Suppertime”). The humorous “Country Trash” is the story of a hardworking farmer with a few means and reminds us that “God’s got a Heaven for country trash.” Cash sings a tribute to Hank Williams, a huge inspiration to every country musician. What a great, happy, optimistic outlook on life is Tommy Duncan’s western swingy “Time Changes Everything.” Religion played a big part in Cash’s life, and he sings “I Talk to Jesus Every Day.” Songs of love, rambling, gambling, patriotism, people connected to the land, the Pima Indian Ira Hayes, and the working man. Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings sing “I Wish I Was Crazy Again,” and “Where Did We Go Right?” is a song of enduring love that recorded with The Carter Family. The album closes with a song of salvation (“Lead Me Gently Home”). Johnny Cash led an amazing life during his 71 years. Always proud of his descent from a cotton farmer and his Cherokee Indian heritage, he lived life to the fullest. This release could be viewed as Cash’s own introspective celebration of his career and personal existence. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
In an ephemeral sense, this is the last album Johnny Cash made during his lifetime. The songs, drawn from across his career, were selected by Cash only days before he passed, making this essentially his last public musical statement. There will be post-death issues of material he recorded in his final months, but this song list is his final evaluation of his own catalog, and the over-arching summary of the "Love, God, Murder" box set issued in 2000. ¶ Cash's song selections are striking in the strength of their description of every-day events as life's core. Dinner time is remembered as a cornerstone of family life, and hard work and contentedness with one's life is seen as one's highest calling. Conversely, truly historical events, like the appearance of Hank Williams in a nearby town, are rendered not as watershed epiphanies, but as part of life's fabric. Cash sings of faith, in God and Jesus ("I Talk to Jesus Every Day" "Lead Me Gently Home"), country ("Ragged Old Flag"), and, of course, the down-trodden ("Ballad of Ira Hayes" "Man in Black"). ¶ With Cash having reached his 70th birthday shortly before passing away in 2003, the market is literally glutted with reissues and compilations of his immense recorded catalog. This one is not as all-inclusive as the two- and three-disc "Essential" titles, but it paints a self-portrait of a life well-lived that a recitation of greatest hits could never picture. If you have all the tracks, program it yourself, if you don't, it's worth some duplication to hear Cash's self-penned eulogy.