22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This is the latest in the line of American Recordings produced by Rick Rubin and continues the successful formula of Johnny Cash, with a minimum of backing, mostly covering songs which you wouldn't associate with country music.
The real triumph on this album is his cover of "Hurt" a song about drug addiction, which Johnny brings a whole new meaning to, and if listened to in conjunction with the award winning video, in which he looks so vulnerable, in contrast to that strong bass voice, it's extremely moving.
His own song, the title track "When the man comes around" is the strongest song he's written in years.
I always think his voice works best when he sings songs you don't… Read more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I am not a country fan but this is NOT a country album.
It's a man who has lived life to the full covering great songs by great artists, (most of whom you would not associate with country music), and making them entirely his own.
I first became aware of this album when I heard Johnny's cover of U2's "one" on a Q compilation album and was so taken with it I had to hear more. I took a chance and haven't regretted it.
He strips everything down to the bare bones. Most tracks are just that deep booming bass voice and a guitar, and it really brings an edge and beauty to the songs.
When he sings of love "it'll leave you baby, if you don't care for it" you believe the man knows… Read more
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The legendary curmudgeon is laughing on the first track "Whats Wrong With This Picture" and sounds as though he is having fun throughout this album.
The standout tracks are "Saint James Infirmary" which he has been covering live for some time and "Little Village".
The collaboration with Aker Bilk on "Somerset" really works, and makes you long for summer afternoons, a pint of cider and a ploughmans lunch.
Upbeat numbers "Whinin Boy Moan" and "Stop Drinking" are well placed on the album to pick up the pace after slower introspective numbers.
I think Van describes this album best himself in the lyric "jazz blues and funk with beat and a little bit of soul."
Unfortunate… Read more