Love, God, Murder, Life [4 CD]

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Love, God, and murder -- the Man in Black has had plenty to say about each over the course of his 45-year-career. The triumvirate is the focus of this three-disc set selected by Johnny Cash himself each CD is also available separately; he also penned succinct liner notes for each volume. In many ways, Love, God, Murder feels like a self-portrait of country's most imposing figure. Cash has always evinced an understanding of people living on society's fringes, at their wits' end, pushed to unspeakable, unholy deeds that destroy them as well as their victims. He also realizes the sad truth that some among us are no damn good under any circumstances. Which is where love and ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Love, God, and murder -- the Man in Black has had plenty to say about each over the course of his 45-year-career. The triumvirate is the focus of this three-disc set selected by Johnny Cash himself each CD is also available separately; he also penned succinct liner notes for each volume. In many ways, Love, God, Murder feels like a self-portrait of country's most imposing figure. Cash has always evinced an understanding of people living on society's fringes, at their wits' end, pushed to unspeakable, unholy deeds that destroy them as well as their victims. He also realizes the sad truth that some among us are no damn good under any circumstances. Which is where love and God enter the equation. Redemption provides the all-encompassing rubric for the songs on the three discs, and it happens to be the title of a song culled from Cash's 1994 American Recordings for the God CD.

On to the facts: 48 songs on three discs, a handful previously unreleased in the U.S., many acknowledged classics, and a few album tracks that qualify as hidden gems. In addition to Cash's liner notes, each volume contains additional reflections. While Bono's musings on God and Quentin Tarantino's take on Murder may not be groundbreaking, June Carter Cash's reminiscence on Love is revelatory. The explanation of how her relationship with Cash grew from a fever or ring of fire, to be accurate into an enduring flame is as finely wrought as one of the songs on her wonderful Press On album, one of 1999's best.

Following are reviews of each individual disc.

Love

"I remember when I fell into June's 'Ring of Fire.' There was a lot of showing it as well as saying it. Never has there been a deeper love than my love for her. At times it was painful, but we shared the pain, so it was just half painful." --Johnny Cash, liner notes excerpt

As much as Cash has celebrated the joy and pain of pursuing, finding, and losing love, he's been forever perplexed by its power. This is the subtext that gives many of the songs on Love an edgy, restless ambience, as if what's here today might well be gone tomorrow if he doesn't watch himself. "I Walk the Line," from 1956, introduced a mindset that would be equally manifest in 1967's "I Tremble for You" previously unreleased in the U.S. and 1996's "The One Rose That's Left in My Heart." On the other hand, you can disregard the philosophical underpinnings and simply enjoy the feelings aroused by these stirring meditations: "Flesh and Blood," "Ring of Fire," the haunting, atmospheric "I Still Miss Someone," and a brisk foray into western swing on "I Feel Better All Over," an overlooked gem from 1960. Only a handful of artists have plumbed the complexities of love as effectively as Cash; fewer still have been big enough to admit to having no easy answers as to what it's all about.

God

"To me, God likes a southern accent and He tolerates country music and quite a bit of guitar. This record is a sampling from over the years, a carefully selected, but complicated mix of gospels, spirituals and songs of praise. At times, I'm a voice crying in the wilderness, but at times I'm right on the money and I know what I'm singing about. It's about sharing, praise, worship, wonder and wisdom. So, share in the joy here and maybe the rest will follow for all of us." --Johnny Cash, liner notes excerpt

What better way to describe the 16 songs on God? Cash and his Sun compadre Elvis have a singular way with sacred songs. Something deep and fundamentally revealing surfaces in the commitment they bring to their gospel performances, and in each artist's case, this segment of their canon ages most gracefully. Other than casting the Almighty as "The Greatest Cowboy of All" and metaphorically as "The Great Speckled Bird," Cash sings of a Divine Being that is more benevolent than avenging, although Hell, literally, is to be paid for dissing Him. These are the songs of a believer: "My God Is Real," "Why Me Lord," the obscure "Man in White" a single recorded for the Ezra label in 1986, "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea," and the monumental "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord," once the soul-stirring centerpiece of Cash's live show. You may not subscribe to his religion, but the moral certitude and unwavering faith Cash exudes in his approach to this material is accessible to skeptics and converts alike. Powerful, powerful stuff.

Murder

"Here is my personal selection of my recordings of songs of robbers, liars and murderers. These songs are just for listening and singing. Don't go out and do it." --Johnny Cash, liner notes excerpt

Not as brutal as its title suggests, Murder finds room for, well, tenderness in its song selection, making this disc the most surprising in the triptych. Familiar fare dots the collection, such as the 1955 original Sun recording of "Folsom Prison Blues," the 1964 studio version of "The Long Black Veil," and the cautionary western tale from 1958, "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." These tracks are buttressed by lesser-known gems. From 1964 comes Johnny and June Carter Cash's delicate duet on Johnny Horton's "When It's Springtime in Alaska." Johnny's stark 1983 reading of Bruce Springsteen's "Highway Patrolman" reminds us that Cash was the first country artist to pick up on the Boss, continuing a track record he established in the early '60s when he introduced country fans to Dylan. For those who got a kick out of the gleeful brutality of Cash's American Recordings version of "Delia's Gone," this set includes the 1961 original, previously unreleased in the States. Murder is good for what ails you.

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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2007
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy Euro
  • UPC: 886971347821
  • Catalog Number: 713478

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Suppertime (2:51)
  2. 2 Country Trash (2:25)
  3. 3 The Night Hank Williams Came to Town (3:22)
  4. 4 Time Changes Everything (1:51)
  5. 5 I Talk to Jesus Every Day (2:04)
  6. 6 You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven (2:40)
  7. 7 I'm Ragged But I'm Right (2:37)
  8. 8 These Are My People (2:38)
  9. 9 The Ballad of Ira Hayes (4:09)
  10. 10 Oney (3:08)
  11. 11 Man in Black (2:53)
  12. 12 I'm Alright Now (2:41)
  13. 13 Ragged Old Flag (3:08)
  14. 14 I Wish I Was Crazy Again (2:44)
  15. 15 Where Did We Go Right (2:58)
  16. 16 Wanted Man (2:59)
  17. 17 I Can't Go on That Way (2:33)
  18. 18 Lead Me Gently Home (1:59)
Disc 2
  1. 1 What on Earth Will You Do (For Heaven's Sake) (2:08)
  2. 2 My God Is Real (2:00)
  3. 3 It Was Jesus (2:05)
  4. 4 Why Me Lord (2:22)
  5. 5 The Greatest Cowboy of Them All (3:57)
  6. 6 Redemption (3:04)
  7. 7 The Great Speckled Bird (2:10)
  8. 8 The Old Account (2:25)
  9. 9 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (1:52)
  10. 10 When He Comes (3:32)
  11. 11 The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea (2:32)
  12. 12 Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) (3:54)
  13. 13 Man in White (5:33)
  14. 14 Belshazzar (2:25)
  15. 15 Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer) (3:54)
  16. 16 Oh Come, Angel Band (2:44)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Folsom Prison Blues (2:51)
  2. 2 Delia's Gone (2:19)
  3. 3 Mister Garfield (4:38)
  4. 4 Orleans Parish Prison (2:29)
  5. 5 When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below) (2:39)
  6. 6 The Sound of Laughter (2:38)
  7. 7 Cocaine Blues (2:49)
  8. 8 Harden Wouldn't Run (4:22)
  9. 9 The Long Black Veil (3:07)
  10. 10 Austin Prison (2:09)
  11. 11 Joe Bean (3:08)
  12. 12 Going to Memphis (4:22)
  13. 13 Don't Take Your Guns to Town (3:04)
  14. 14 Highway Patrolman (5:22)
  15. 15 Jacob Green (3:05)
  16. 16 The Wall (2:10)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Walk the Line (2:45)
  2. 2 Oh, What a Dream (2:02)
  3. 3 All Over Again (2:13)
  4. 4 A Little at a Time (1:57)
  5. 5 My Old Faded Rose (2:52)
  6. 6 Happiness Is You (2:57)
  7. 7 Flesh and Blood (2:39)
  8. 8 I Tremble for You (2:14)
  9. 9 I Feel Better All Over (2:04)
  10. 10 'Cause I Love You (1:46)
  11. 11 Ballad of Barbara (3:49)
  12. 12 Ring of Fire (2:38)
  13. 13 My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You (2:25)
  14. 14 While I've Got It on My Mind (2:20)
  15. 15 I Still Miss Someone (2:35)
  16. 16 The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart) (2:26)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Cash Primary Artist
The Carter Family Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Johnny Cash Producer, Liner Notes
Waylon Jennings Producer
Kris Kristofferson Composer
Steven Berkowitz Compilation Co-Producer
Brian Ahern Producer
Bono Liner Notes
Charlie Bragg Producer
Larry Butler Producer
June Carter Cash Liner Notes
Jack Clement Producer
Jack Hale Producer
Bob Johnston Producer
Frank Jones Producer
Don Law Producer
John A. Lomax Composer
Joseph M. Palmaccio Mastering
Jack Routh Producer
Rick Rubin Producer
Billy Sherrill Producer
Mark Wilder Engineer
Al Quaglieri Compilation Co-Producer
Sam Phillips Producer
Don Hunstein Cover Photo
Chris Athens Engineer
C. Williams Composer
John Carter Composer
Don Schlitz Composer
Quentin Tarantino Liner Notes
John Naatjes Tape Research
Lou Robin Executive Producer
Triana DOrazio Package Manager
J.R. Cash Arranger, Composer, Adaptation
Larry Butler Producer
D. Feller Composer
M. Kilgore Composer
H. Johnson Composer
R. Rogers Composer
J. Elliott Composer
J. Atkins Composer
B. Braddock Composer
T. Duncan Composer
H. Howard Composer
A. Carter Composer
K. Rogers Composer
M. Carter Composer
M. Wilkin Composer
D. Loggins Composer
J. Hensley Composer
J. Chestnut Composer
B. Freeman Composer
T. Spencer Composer
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