For those of you who can’t get enough Johnny Cash, or you need a really good Christmas gift for a Man in Black diehard, this is for you.
Following Cash’s death in 2003, American Records released a large volume of Cash’s work, Unearthed. Rolling Stone describes it as “a sprawling box set including mostly previously unreleased songs recorded during the last decade of [his] life.”
Now it’s back. On vinyl. (If you’re a younger reader, that means records. As in, you play them on a record player.) And there’s nothing that sounds like music on a record player.
According to Rolling Stone, the new Unearthed consists of 79 tracks on nine LPs. Included are two cloth-bound books. One book contains the LPs; the other holds “a 60-page coffee table volume incorporating Sylvie Simmons’ extensive liner notes, which were drawn from five days of interviews at Cash’s home north of Nashville.”
Apparently, the box set also has photographs from some of his recording session and Cash’s commentary of every song.
A Host of Guests
What is also exciting are the number of guests on the albums.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fiona Apple, and Joe Strummer are just some. June Carter Cash, Johnny’s wife who inspired “I Walk the Line” is also heard.
Some of the additions are artists who were lost in 2017, including Glenn Campbell and Tom Petty. It seems that the Cash album resurrects more than vinyl.
The Later Years of Cash
In the last decade of his life, long after he was well-established an American icon, Cash took a different tone. Fans may remember his covers of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” and Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage.”
His producer, Rick Rubin, said he gave him an artistic freedom that Rolling Stone describes as “stripped down to bare-bones production, allowing the Arkansas native’s aging, yet wholly authoritative voice to take command of a wide variety of material…” And he did.
How beautiful it is that his fans fell in love with his first songs on LPs, and can now fall in love with his last songs on them. Maybe you even have your original record player to put them on. Unearthed is available for purchase November 3.