Essential Johnny Cash

The Essential Johnny Cash

4.5 6
by Johnny Cash
     
 

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Part of Sony Legacy's ambitious, much-deserved reissue campaign in honor of Johnny Cash's 70th birthday, The Essential Johnny Cash arrives as a two-CD collection of 36 songs ranging from the Man in Black's first Sun hit, "Hey Porter," to his 1993 collaboration with U2 on "The Wanderer." So consider Essential a sort of Johnny Cash

Overview

Part of Sony Legacy's ambitious, much-deserved reissue campaign in honor of Johnny Cash's 70th birthday, The Essential Johnny Cash arrives as a two-CD collection of 36 songs ranging from the Man in Black's first Sun hit, "Hey Porter," to his 1993 collaboration with U2 on "The Wanderer." So consider Essential a sort of Johnny Cash Rosetta Stone; an album filled with tracks that help music lovers understand the daunting range of Cash's art. As a songwriter and interpreter, he has been the master of all he embraces -- and he has embraced a whole lot: folk, traditional country, gospel (the monumental "Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)"), rockabilly from the Sun era, western songs, topical songs ("The Ballad of Ira Hayes"), protest songs, patriotic songs, love songs, heartbreak songs (has there been a more vivid account of a forlorn soul than "I Still Miss Someone"?), and duets (with June Carter Cash, Bob Dylan, and Marty Robbins -- the latter being an overlooked gem, a salute to solid American values in "Song of the Patriot"). While future reissues will restore to print ten Cash albums previously unavailable on CD -- two rare and underrated Cash titles were reissued in December 2001: America and Ragged Old Flag -- Essential lives up to its name, especially for those who might be unfamiliar with the full scope of this treasured artist's monumental contribution to American music for nearly half a century.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Issued in commemoration of Cash's 70th birthday, this double CD is a good survey of 1955-1993 career highlights (and a different release than the similarly titled three-CD The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983). Is it a good place to start? That depends on what you have or don't have already, considering that so many greatest-hits compilations containing some or much of this material appeared prior to this, yet another repackage. All of his very biggest hits are here, and it leans very heavily on his first 15 years of recordings, with just eight of the 36 tracks postdating 1970 (and only one of them, his 1993 U2 collaboration "The Wanderer," postdating 1986). For that reason some may complain that it doesn't give some phases of his career proper weight, and certainly not evenly distributed weight. But let's be cold about this: Cash's best records were between 1955 and 1970, and focusing on his early work, as this compilation does, means higher overall quality. It's too bad nothing is included from his acclaimed, unadorned 1994 album, American Recordings, but otherwise this will serve as a quite satisfactory best-of for those who want both the familiar hits and a few good, not-so-overplayed ones, like his versions of "It Ain't Me Babe," "Jackson," and "If I Were a Carpenter."
Rolling Stone - Milo Miles
1/2 "...Cash is seductive even when laying a murderous demon and shows cracks even when he's supposed to be a pillar of the community. If he looks like America, he sounds like democracy."

Product Details

Release Date:
02/12/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998629028
catalogNumber:
86290
Rank:
2282

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Hey Porter
  2. Cry Cry Cry
  3. I Walk the Line
  4. Get Rhythm
  5. There You Go
  6. Ballad of a Teenage Queen
  7. Big River
  8. Guess Things Happen That Way
  9. All Over Again
  10. Don't Take Your Guns to Town
  11. Five Feet High and Rising
  12. The Rebel - Johnny Yuma
  13. Tennessee Flat Top Box
  14. I Still Miss Someone
  15. Ring of Fire
  16. The Ballad of Ira Hayes
  17. Orange Blossom Special
  18. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Disc 2

  1. It Ain't Me Babe
  2. The One on the Right Is on the Left
  3. Jackson
  4. Folsom Prison Blues
  5. Daddy Sang Bass
  6. Girl from the North Country
  7. A Boy Named Sue
  8. If I Were a Carpenter
  9. Sunday Morning Coming Down
  10. Flesh and Blood
  11. Man in Black
  12. Ragged Old Flag
  13. One Piece at a Time
  14. (Ghost) Riders in the Sky
  15. Song of the Patriot
  16. Highwayman
  17. The Night Hank Williams Came to Town
  18. The Wanderer

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist
Carter Family   Track Performer
Waylon Jennings   Track Performer
Kris Kristofferson   Track Performer
Willie Nelson   Track Performer
Bob Dylan   Track Performer
June Carter Cash   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Tim Hardin   Composer
Shel Silverstein   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Billy Edd Wheeler   Composer
Edge   Composer,Producer
Brian Ahern   Producer
Earl Ball   Producer
Bono   Composer
Charlie Bragg   Producer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Adam Clayton   Composer
Jack Clement   Composer,Producer
Don Davis   Producer
Brian Eno   Producer
Flood   Producer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Frank Jones   Producer
Don Law   Producer
Chips Moman   Producer
Larry Mullen   Composer
Ervin T. Rouse   Composer
Sam Phillips   Producer
Merle Kilgore   Composer
Frank Bez   Cover Photo
Lisa Sparagano   Art Direction
Gaby Rodgers   Composer
Roy Cash   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Jaan Uhelszki   Collaboration

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The Essential Johnny Cash 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
glauver 10 months ago
Johnny Cash was a man of contradictions who struggled with drug addiction at times and yet was a devout Christian. He sometimes came on like a right wing patriot and still sang protest songs like Man In Black and The Ballad Of Ira Hayes. Cash could sing both Were You There When Thy Crucified My Lord? and Folsom Prison Blues with the famous, blood-chilling line, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” This collection shows all those sides of Cash. However, I feel it falls short musically . Throwing in novelties like Johnny Yuma The Rebel, The Ragged Old Flag, and The Night Hank Williams Came To Town takes up space that more worthy songs like 25 Minutes To Go could have filled and fifty minutes of space went unused on the two CDs. Surely Columbia could have found some worthy songs to fill at least some of the unused time. This could have been 5 stars, but I give it only four.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born shortly after the original "Johnny Cash Television Show", had gone off the air in 1971, but I barely remember him being on for a short stint in the mid 1970's. That is when I liked him a singer and I still remembering him putting good music at the time. There are several great songs on this double CD set. The transition from Sun to Columbia is very good because it shows you the rockabilly tune like "I Walk The Line" and "Get Rhythm", to the songs like "I Still Miss Someone" , "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" , and his greatest hit of all time "Ring Of Fire". Only one song does not need to be there is a Bono - U2 song called "The Wanderer". It is too modern of a song compared to rest of the compilation. It make a great gift for any music lover who some of Johnny Cash's Discography at Columbia
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