Wildwood Flower

Wildwood Flower

5.0 1
by June Carter Cash
     
 

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Spare, elegant, honest, and haunting, June Carter Cash's final recordings are indeed "the musical summation of an extraordinary life," as stepdaughter Rosanne Cash posits in her moving liner notes. The heart and soul of this acoustic gem reside in seven timeless A.P. Carter songs, which are rendered with an

Overview

Spare, elegant, honest, and haunting, June Carter Cash's final recordings are indeed "the musical summation of an extraordinary life," as stepdaughter Rosanne Cash posits in her moving liner notes. The heart and soul of this acoustic gem reside in seven timeless A.P. Carter songs, which are rendered with an empathy and warmth that can only be born in the blood -- June's weathered but deeply affecting singing proves that point many times over. Keeping it close to the main artery, she's surrounded by family at almost every turn. Former son-in-law Marty Stuart contributes guitar, mandolin, and vocals on several numbers; niece Carlene Carter and her daughter Tiffany Anastasia Lowe sing winsome harmonies; and A.P.'s daughter Janet Carter offers a mesmerizing lead vocal on "Anchored in Love." Other Carters and Cashes appear throughout -- not least of them being June's husband, Johnny Cash, who adds authoritative narration to the historical story-song "The Road to Kaintuck," plays the comic foil to June's swooning femme on "Temptation," and adds chilling, somber harmonies to A.P.'s stark query, "Will You Miss Me when I'm Gone." Acoustic guitarist Norman Blake buttresses the vocals with sprightly finger-picked lines ("Cannonball Blues") and lively Mother Maybelle–style picking (on a simply beautiful rendering of "Wildwood Flower," among others), as if he'd stepped right out of a studio in the '30s to play on these sessions. Kudos too to June and Johnny's son, John Carter Cash, who produced this disc with admirable sensitivity, mostly by letting the songs and performances breathe. It all works, underscoring both the emotional directness in concept and execution that is singular to Carter music as well as the magnitude of American music's loss in the wake of June's passing.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The tracks that comprise Wildwood Flower became June Carter Cash's final recording sessions, and were held from October 2002 to March 2003. Largely a family affair, Wildwood Flower is easily Carter Cash's least polished recording and perhaps her best. Husband Johnny sings in either duet or as backup on almost all the tracks; also singing are daughter Carlene, granddaughter Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, and cousins Joe and Janette Carter (children of Sara and A.P. Carter). Johnny and June's son John Carter Cash produced the album and former son-in-law Marty Stuart makes an appearance or two as well. Creating most of the instrumental merrymaking are Norman and Nancy Blake. And it is fitting that this collection of family and friends created June Carter Cash's recorded epitaph. These songs are intimate, frighteningly so. Her voice, as well as Johnny Cash's, are mere shadows of what once were golden throats, and the songs were by and large written by A.P. Carter, with one by June and a cover of a Leon Russell tune. The ghosts of the original Carter Family hover about uneasily in the mix here, offering shards of old harmonies and broken notes in the title track, "Anchored in Love," "Keep on the Sunny Side," "Road to Kaintuck," "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea," and especially "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone," where the truth strikes a little too close to home. There are a few spoken word intros here (and some historically recorded ones) that are both poignant and humorous -- check out June's observations of actor Lee Marvin on her intro to her song "Big Yellow Peaches." As the family gathers round one last time, the entire history of the country music tradition comes through and pours down around the listener, cracking and breaking and yet more musical than ever. This is the music of the folk as A.P. wrote it. And as such, it is both a credible historical document and, more importantly, the last will and testament of a legend who went back to her beginnings as a way of understanding the continuity of family and song in the present. Wildwood Flower is truly amazing, truly flawed, and heartbreakingly beautiful.
Entertainment Weekly - Marc Weingarten
The mood throughout this gentle Appalachian twirl is buoyant and affirming. (A-)
Blender - Ann Powers
A warmly intimate record of a life lived in artistic community.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2003
Label:
Dualtone Music Group
UPC:
0803020114227
catalogNumber:
1142
Rank:
85725

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

June Carter Cash   Primary Artist,Autoharp
Nancy Blake   Mandolin,Cello
Norman Blake   Acoustic Guitar
Marty Stuart   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Carlene Carter   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Johnny Cash   Vocals,Background Vocals
Dennis Crouch   Bass
Tiffany A. Lowe   Background Vocals
Janette Carter   Vocals
Rick Lonow   Percussion,Drums
Chuck Turner   Percussion
Joe Lee Carter   Vocals,Background Vocals
Laura Cash   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Violin,Background Vocals
Lorrie Carter Bennett   Background Vocals
Dale Jett   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Barbara Poole   Bass

Technical Credits

Rosanne Cash   Liner Notes
Anita Carter   Composer
Mother Maybelle Carter   Composer
Nacio Herb Brown   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
June Carter Cash   Composer,Producer
Arthur Freed   Composer
Helen Carter   Composer
Gina R. Binkley   Art Direction
Martin Burckhardt   Cover Painting
Gary Garett   Composer
John Carter Cash   Producer,Art Direction
Chuck Turner   Engineer

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Wildwood Flower 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a lot from this album when I popped it into my CD player and I was not disappointed. Wildwood Flower, June Carter Cash’s last studio album could quite easily be her very best as it contains some of the finest from the Carter Family catalog. From the first track “Keep on the Sunny Side”, the folk classic until “Wildwood Flower” the CD keeps your interest with June’s beautiful voice which is unlike no one else. The song “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone” is especially poignant considering it was her “farewell.” Her husband Johnny Cash is on most of the songs, and her daughter, Roseanne wrote the liner notes which are a beautiful eulogy to her mother. Also on the enhanced CD is her last recording session and a tour of the Carter estate by June. Wildwood Flower is a wonderful album that reminds us what a great artist she was and how sorely she will be missed.