Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Come Along & Ride This Train
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Johnny Cash was one of the first to explore the idea of the concept album in country music. This set brings together all of his uniquely American albums, Ride This Train, Blood Sweat & Tears, Mean As Hell, Ballads of the T... more »
Johnny Cash was one of the first to explore the idea of the concept album in country music. This set brings together all of his uniquely American albums, Ride This Train, Blood Sweat & Tears, Mean As Hell, Ballads of the True West, Bitter Tears, America: A 200 Year Salute, From Sea to Shining Sea, and The Rambler. Bob Allen writes, "This collection eloquently embodies one man's love, celebration, curiosity, anguish, and personal vision of his native land."
8 Johnny Cash Albums in 1 Box
Ivar Horte | Denmark | 06/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of Mr. Johnny Cash this box is worth buying. It includes eight of the old Columbia albums: Ride This Train; Blood, Sweat and Tears; Sings the Ballads of the True West; Mean as Hell; America - A 200 Year Salute in Story and Song; Bitter Tears; From Sea to Shining Sea; The Rambler; and a few singles. Like the 3 other Johnny Cash boxes from Bear Family this one is excellent - and a chance to get to listen to some of the old albums which have never been released on CD. It comes with a great booklet filled with pictures and the original liners notes. This is surely something else than all the so called 'greatest hits' CDs released over the last few years."
Will the Real Johnny Cash please stand up
Richard E. Jandrow | Worcester, Massachusetts | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing that Johnny Cash wanted to do when he arrived at Sun Records was to sing Gospel music, Sam Philips wouldn't let him. The first thing he did when he went to Columbia was to sing Gospel Music;the second thing he did was to start a history of "Theme Albums" that has never been equaled. The fact that Columbia thought enough of these albums to savor the taste in a complete box set of the titles is a credit to their accomplishments. They were never critically acclaimed, but his True Fans loved them.The first, of course, was "Ride This Train". A make believe journey through the country on an imaginary train, with several stops along the way to examine what history had to offer for characters and for scenery."Come Along and Ride This Train", "Loading Coal", and even "Papa played the Dobro", all reflect an image of character and ability which Cash, as an historical writer, has projected on the pages of our minds. They've combined it with his second adventure album concerning "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer", "Casey Jones", "Nine Pound Hammer", "Busted", to say the least. This CD is a true reflection of a long trip through history using music as a "method for his madness".The second selection, coming from the "Ballads of the True West" edition, Truly represents the historical features of Cash's love of the old west. Songs of the pioneers expressing their hopes, what happens at Boot Hill, why was Mr. Garfield shot down and by whom; remember "Johnny Reb", the true saga of the Civil War, to the offbeat comedy of "25 Minutes to Go".The third selection appears to combine the Indian theme of "Bitter Tears" with his much later "America" where some duplication occurs with the Ballads of the True West record. Who can forget "Ira Hayes", American hero at Iwo Jima who ending up a drunk back in America and drowned in a ditch. Here, John examines the relationships between the original Americans and those that came from elsewhere to steal and abuse the land. He sings of "Custer split his men, well, he won't do that again", and many other episodes of historical importance in America. He sings of the battles and travels through the old west, "The Battle of New Orleans", and Kentucky.The next CD, from the "From Sea To Shining Sea" recording allows Cash to travel through the Southern States and enjoy the sites and sounds where he came from, where he went and where he will continue to go.This package contains 105 tracks of pure musical history. Packaged by the people at Bear Family complete with booklet and four CD's. More than any other collection of his work, this package reflects what Johnny Cash was, and what he represents to his fans and to his music. This is another Cadillac produced by The Bear Family. It's a must for anyone interested in John Cash the man and his music.I myself have every record, but not with the same quality that CD brings."
American history in song
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 05/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In a career that lasted half a century, Johnny Cash's career and personal life had many ups and downs. He had many hit records and won plenty of awards, but his series of concept albums provide an extra dimension to his career that sets him apart from all other country singers. Porter Wagoner, Tom T Hall, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and others all recorded great story songs and some of them recorded concept albums exploring particular themes, but Johnny Cash went much further down that path than any of them. Johnny showed a particular fascination for America's history and cultural roots.
This boxed set brings together seven albums that each explored America's heritage in some way. At the time this set was originally released, I don't think any of the albums were available on CD. Two of them (From sea to shining sea, The rambler) are still unavailable on CD outside of this boxed set as I write this. All the other featured albums have since been released on CD, sometimes with extra tracks. For details, see Ride This Train, Bitter Tears (Ballads of the American Indian), Blood, Sweat and Tears, Sings Ballads of True West and America: A 200-Year Salute in Story and Song. In this box, you'll also find some extra tracks but they aren't always the same extra tracks as those subsequently made available on the individual releases.
Unlike all the other Bear Family boxed sets that I bought in the days when I had plenty of money, this set is completely devoid of alternate takes (though some completely different recordings of the same song are included) and recording session details that are such a characteristic of Bear Family's standard boxed sets. They clearly decided, in the spirit of the albums, to focus entirely on the songs and the stories they tell.
Ride this train (released on LP in 1960) is not a collection of train songs but an imaginary tour to various locations around America. At each location, Johnny sings a song about something that happened there. As such, this is a very varied collection of songs that don't have anything in common except that they explore America's history. This is fair enough as it was Johnny's first such album. As we've seen, Johnny subsequently went on to record albums exploring specific aspects of American history. On this album, my favorite song is Dorraine of Ponchartrain. The sadness of this song is heightened by its length - well over five minutes. It remains one of my all-time favorite Johnny Cash songs but you won't find it on any of his many compilations. It's not that kind of song. The original LP contained just eight songs, perhaps because the length of some of them, together with the narration between tracks, meant that there wasn't room for any more. This box contains two extra tracks, one of which (Come and ride this train) is the title of this boxed set and was presumably intended to be the title track of the original album. The other extra track (The shifting whispering sands) is a duet with Lorne Greene. Johnny later re-recorded this song for another album (Ballads of the true west) that is also included in this compilation.
Blood sweat and tears (released on LP in 1962) explores the history of working in America. Two bonus tracks (Pick a bale of cotton, Cotton pickin' hands) are included. As the title implies, some of the songs show that people were forced to work in the most appalling conditions. Of course, this wasn't just true of America because similar things happened in Europe and around the world.
Bitter tears (released in 1964) explores the Native American story. Johnny tells us about their perspective on American history, including their version of the Custer story. Here, you'll find two extra tracks (Big foot, Old apache squaw) that weren't on the original LP. They are not normally included on CD re-issues of this album despite sometimes being listed.
America (released in 1974) has exactly the same track listing as the individual CD released in 2001. While there are some good songs here, I don't think that is one of Johnny's strongest albums although it is worth hearing. Johnny had previously recorded some of the songs (The road to Kaintuck, Mr Garfield) for Ballads of the true west. It is a pity that Johnny chose to re-record these songs rather than include songs that he hadn't previously recorded, but perhaps he felt that they were important to the story he was trying to tell with this album.
Ballads of the true west (released in 1965) was originally released as a double LP and therefore occupies the entire third CD. The second half of this album was also released as a single LP titled Mean as hell. This album explores the history of the American cowboy. I'm glad that Johnny recorded this album, although Marty Robbins and others have explored this aspect of American history in much greater depth. Three extra tracks not featured on the double LP (Hammer and nails - with the Statler Brothers, Rodeo hand, Remember the Alamo) are included. The individual CD re-issue includes Rodeo hand and two other different extra tracks (Reflections and an instrumental version of Stampede).
From sea to shining sea (released in 1968) and The rambler (released in 1977) share the final CD. No bonus tracks are included although Bear Family chose to reprise the track they chose as the title for this box. With neither of the two featured albums having yet made another appearance on CD, the only way to buy the vast majority of tracks on this CD is to buy this box. A few tracks have appeared elsewhere. Cisco Clifton's fillin' station (a track from the first album here) has been released on the triple CD The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983, which I've already reviewed. Actually, Cisco Clifton's fillin' station is an excellent story song about somebody who made a good living until a new road was constructed, which took away all the traffic. The two albums are definitely worth hearing if you're a Johnny Cash fan but (like America) they aren't among his strongest albums.
If you were going to compile a box containing Johnny's strongest albums, perhaps only three of these (Ride this train, Bitter tears, Blood sweat and tears) would be considered for inclusion, but that's not the point. The albums here have been collected together precisely because of the the themes they explore. So this boxed set contains seven albums that vary in their individual strengths but together paint some fascinating pictures of American history. No books could tell the story this way (though some can and do give far more detail) and no other country singer has ever tried to explore American history in quite the way that Johnny Cash has."