Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
It's rare that an artist gets to write his own eulogy, but just four days before his passing, Cash essentially delivered just that in the form of the final track listing for this self-proposed, self-compiled sequel to his ... more »
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It's rare that an artist gets to write his own eulogy, but just four days before his passing, Cash essentially delivered just that in the form of the final track listing for this self-proposed, self-compiled sequel to his latter-day Love, God, Murder trilogy. Cash's final act as an artist gathers 18 tracks from his incomparable, four-decade-deep Columbia catalog, reflecting a life as deeply conflicted by the ways of the flesh ("I Can't Go On That Way," "Wanted Man," "I Wish I Was Crazy Again," his duet with Waylon Jennings) as it was rooted in love of God ("I Talk to Jesus Everyday"), family ("Suppertime"), his country ("Ragged Old Flag"), and its music ("The Night Hank Williams Came to Town"). But Cash's deeply patriotic conscience was the kind that also demanded better of his nation and its leaders ("Ballad of Ira Hayes," "Man in Black") while his love for his late wife June illuminates "You're the Nearest Thing to Heaven" and their bittersweet duet, "Where Did We Go Right." There are Cash compilations galore, but none with the touching personal insights offered here. --Jerry McCulley
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Cash's introspective celebration of his career
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 05/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 49:40 -- Columbia Records has had many successes with Johnny Cash's concept albums over the years. Remember the history of America in train songs on Cash's "Ride This Train" (1960), and then there were albums like Bitter Tears-Ballads of the American Indian (1964), True West (1965), and From Sea to Shining Sea (1968). Jump ahead about four decades after a long and distinguished career in music, "Life" is now the fourth project in a series that also includes "Love," "God," and "Murder."
With the exception of "I Can't Go On That Way," these 18 tracks have been previously released. For the most part, the material comes from the 50s-70s, but a few tracks (The Night Hank Williams Came to Town, I'm Ragged But I'm Right, Where Did We Go Right, Wanted Man) were put out in 1983-2000. All the songs have been remastered for improved sound quality. Each song speaks to the things that were important to The Man in Black. He wore the black for the poor, the prisoners, the illiterate, sinners, the sick, the lonely, the old, and the reckless. His songs also reinforce the fact that life is transient. Every minute should be grasped. And time waits for nobody, even Johnny who always tried to tell stories or give us sage advice and wisdom in his songs. In the previously unreleased "I Can't Go On That Way," Johnny sings of booze, pills, women, and unhealthy food until "highs got low and the will said no, I can't go on that way."
Cash has had many top country hits, and his versatility allowed him to present blues, hymns, ballads, narratives, as well as songs about railroads, cowboys, and Indians. Cash personally chose well-known songs such as "Man in Black," Dylan's "Wanted Man" and "Ragged Old Flag" to be included on this compilation. Four days after giving his manager the final track list, Cash passed away in September, 2003 from complications of diabetes.
The project begins with memories of childhood, home and family ("Suppertime"). The humorous "Country Trash" is the story of a hardworking farmer with a few means and reminds us that "God's got a Heaven for country trash." Cash sings a tribute to Hank Williams, a huge inspiration to every country musician. What a great, happy, optimistic outlook on life is Tommy Duncan's western swingy "Time Changes Everything." Religion played a big part in Cash's life, and he sings "I Talk to Jesus Every Day." Songs of love, rambling, gambling, patriotism, people connected to the land, the Pima Indian Ira Hayes, and the working man. Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings sing "I Wish I Was Crazy Again," and "Where Did We Go Right?" is a song of enduring love that recorded with The Carter Family. The album closes with a song of salvation ("Lead Me Gently Home").
Johnny Cash led an amazing life during his 71 years. Always proud of his descent from a cotton farmer and his Cherokee Indian heritage, he lived life to the fullest. This release could be viewed as Cash's own introspective celebration of his career and personal existence. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)
The Sound of His Voice...
Omer Belsky | Haifa, Israel | 12/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The world of popular music in the late 20th century was filled with troubadour singers, whose songs can be a soundtrack to our lives. The best of them, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, wrote songs that transcend any genre and become immortal. Johnny Cash's genius was not in his songwriting - it was in his voice.
When Johnny Cash sings, it is the very voice that hits you - not that the songs don't matter, but they are vehicle through which Cash shares his soul with us. Cash's voice has a way of coming across to you, whether you're young or old, believer or disbeliever, American or not. Cash doesn't have to shy away or to transcend country music, he's so natural with it, that what may sound as a terrible cliche coming from anyone else, is genuine when sang by the Man in Black.
I'm not sure whether 'Life', a compilation chosen by Cash himself is the best representation of his work, or the best introduction. It contains its share of misses. "I wish I was crazy again" is melodramatic and musically dull; "These Are My People" and "Ragged Old Flag" are slight, patriotic songs. "Suppertime" and "I talk to Jesus every day" won't win any awards, either.
But the compilation does contain some of Cash's best, and some of his best known, songs. "Man in Black" is an ultimate protest song, one that manages to speak about society and about Cash himself. "Country Trash" and "Oney" are hilarious tracks celebrating the everyman's life, "You're the nearest thing to heaven" is a love song for his wife, the late June Carter, and "The Night Hank Williams Came to Town" is an equally powerful tribute to American music.
My favorite little gem, though, is the Gospel infused "I'm Alright Now". "I've been driving on the devil's train but I got off somehow" Cash sings, and you know that he did.
Goodbye, Johnny, you'll be missed."
The most distinct voice of a great storyteller!
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Over and over you will hear how "bigger than life" Johnny Cash was. And for sure he was one of the greatest singers ....ever. Everyone knows a Johnny Cash song, and there are too many we don't know.
Tthe first country song that left its impression on me was "I Walk the Line". It was that first 15-20 second-intro that did it for many who listened to the man with the voice. That song, and many of his others that followed got airtime on rock and roll stations. And it was that song that I will never tire of, but it is not on the CD.
The musical selections reflect various stages in his career. Many of these have not been played often and they provide a refreshing sound.
You will hear the music about his early home life like "Suppertime"; "Country Trash"; "The Night Hank Williams Came to Town" to the inspirational "I Talk to Jesus Everyday"; and "Nearest Thing to Heaven" and those where he stood for some cause, "Man In Black" or storytelling about an Indian man, "Ballad of Ira Hayes". A couple of songs feature his longtime colleague, Waylon Jennings while June Carter appears also.
Johnny Cash always had something to say in his music, and if he didn't write it, he sure picked them good!
There are many songs here that are new to me. And if you have just discovered the greatest country singer and storyteller with the most unique deep voice, this CD is a great start....MzRizz