"An interesting collection of some of the best people in our business paying tribute to me.
Boy, does this make me feel good!"Johnny Cash
As befits a release on a fledgling indie label, Dualtone's tribute to Johnny Cash celebrates the feistier fringes of the Man in Black's catalog, adding a few mainstream milestones. In what is plainly a labor of love for all concerned, highlights extend from the pop innocence of "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" by Rodney Crowell (formerly married to Johnny's daughter Rosanne) to the folkier strains and husband-and-wife harmonies of "Pack Up Your Sorrows" by Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis to the honky-tonk majesty of "I Still Miss Someone" by pianist Earl Poole Ball. Some of the more familiar touchstones don't fare quite as well, with Billy Burnette turning in a tepid "Ring of Fire" and Dale Watson singing in a lower than comfortable register on "I Walk the Line," though James Intveld rises to the challenge of "Folsom Prison Blues." The house band and the largely acoustic arrangements give the 18-cut album more unity than many such projects, as the collection shows why one of the most influential and commercially successful artists in country's history remains an icon of alt-country as well.
The incomparable Johnny Cash takes the stage with his wife, June Carter Cash, the Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and the Carter Family in this 1971 concert filmed live for Danish television. A memorable set list includes "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," "A Boy Named Sue," "Man in Black" "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Flowers on the Wall" and the Maybelle Carter tribute, "Dear Mama."
For decades, the only way to enjoy Johnny Cash live in your home was on his two arguably finest albums, both recorded at penitentiaries; At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin. Since they are established classics, the argument can be made there really wasn’t a need for more. That has changed as labels dig ever deeper to mine material from legends like Cash from their vaults. It has resulted in no less than two recent concert recordings from Cash; Man in Black:Live in Denmark 1971 released in early December last year and now this show, recorded in Czechoslovakia circa 1978. Add these to 2003’s A Concert Behind Prison Walls, Johnny Cash at Madison Square Garden (a 1969 date finally seeing the light of day in 2002), and 2011’s 53 track Bootleg Vol lll:Live Around the World. And that’s just for starters. Considering how much he performed, it’s likely more are on the way.
A study in contrasts, and all the more American because of it, Johnny Cash holds a unique place in pop music history. His fans span generations, and fit in across the cultural spectrum, from teenaged punks to gray-haired congressmen, from Merle Haggard to Snoop Dogg, and seemingly all points in between. His music has always been instantly recognizable no matter what genre – country, rockabilly, gospel, folk – he was working in, and given the sheer volume of material he recorded, it's amazing how uniform it all is, adding up in the end to, well, Johnny Cash…
Johnny Cash released more than half a dozen gospel albums during his career, beginning with 1959's Hymns by Johnny Cash, and he scattered gospel tunes throughout his other works as well. A deeply religious man, he sang his songs of praise with as much, or perhaps more, conviction as he did his secular material – even the most skeptical non-believer would have to appreciate the honesty and soul of Cash's gospel recordings. Cash: Ultimate Gospel collects 24 of his best, most drawn from his Columbia catalog with a pair ("I Was There When It Happened" and "Belshazzar") emanating from Cash's early Sun Records period, and two ("Oh Come, Angel Band" and "Children Go Where I Send Thee") originally on the Cachet label…
Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn't sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock & roll, and his rebellious attitude and simple, direct musical attack shared a lot of similarities with rock. However, there was a deep sense of history – as he would later illustrate with his series of historical albums – that kept him forever tied with country. And he was one of country music's biggest stars of the '50s and '60s, scoring well over 100 hit singles.