Definitive Collection

The Definitive Collection

by Johnny Cash
     
 
Someone please alert the Better Business Bureau: in a clear case of false advertising, Mercury Records is marketing a Johnny Cash CD called The Definitive Collection which is anything but definitive. In 1986, Cash found himself without a record label when Columbia Records decided not to pick up the option on his contract after close to 30 years. Within a year

Overview

Someone please alert the Better Business Bureau: in a clear case of false advertising, Mercury Records is marketing a Johnny Cash CD called The Definitive Collection which is anything but definitive. In 1986, Cash found himself without a record label when Columbia Records decided not to pick up the option on his contract after close to 30 years. Within a year the Man in Black had a new deal with Mercury Records, but like many veteran country acts in the '80s, radio wasn't especially interested in him and Cash's recordings of the period are a frustrating mix of re-recordings of his old hits, and new material pockmarked by overly slick production and engineering that didn't flatter Cash's voice or musical approach. The spirit was still willing within Cash, but he wasn't getting much help, and this collection of material from his brief sojourn with Mercury is often dispiriting stuff. Six of the tunes here were drawn from 1987's Classic Cash, in which Johnny recut 20 of his best-known tunes in honor of his entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame; the new versions of numbers like "I Walk the Line," "Guess Things Happen That Way," "Ring of Fire," and "Cry Cry Cry" are approached in a lean, straightforward fashion, and while Cash handles them like a pro, he doesn't sound especially excited, and the new recordings don't hold a candle to the originals. (Cash also redid some older numbers on his other Mercury sessions, several of which are also included here.) Elsewhere, the selections from Cash's other Mercury albums -- Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town, Boom Chicka Boom, Water from the Wells of Home, and The Mystery of Life -- tend to reflect their flaws instead of their strengths, though there are a few bright moments, including the nostalgic but rollicking "The Night Hank Williams Came to Town" and the apocalyptic "Goin' by the Book." The fact that the disc is bookended by two songs that didn't even appear on Cash's Mercury recordings is telling -- the set leads off with "Highwayman," a single from his collaboration with Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson, and ends with U2's "The Wanderer," with Cash's guest lead vocal giving the song a gravity it sorely needs. As an overview of Cash's years with Mercury, this disc is serviceable but little more. The Definitive Collection? Not by a long shot.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2008
Label:
Mercury Nashville
UPC:
0602517601307
catalogNumber:
001066702

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist
Waylon Jennings   Vocals,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Roy Acuff   Composer
Johnny Cash   Producer
Merle Travis   Composer
Harry Chapin   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Dave Loggins   Composer
Claude Gray   Composer
Bobby Braddock   Composer
Edge   Producer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Adam Clayton   Composer
Jack Clement   Composer,Producer
Brian Eno   Producer
Flood   Producer
Chips Moman   Producer
Larry Mullen   Composer
Rich Kienzle   Liner Notes
Danny Dill   Composer
Merle Kilgore   Composer
Chester Lester   Composer
Bob Moore & His Orchestra   Producer
Jennifer Pierce   Composer
Don Schlitz   Composer
Sandy Chapin   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination

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