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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Man in Black: The Definitive Collection
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
When I was around eleven my friend's father got a car with an eight track stereo. We used to sneak up to his garage and listen to the eight track in the car with the garage door closed. Johnny Cash and a boy named Sue was an absolute favourite - we knew every word and would recite it in the playground:-

'some gal would giggle and I'd get red
some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head'

Move it on more years than I care to mention, and Johhny Cash only really came back on my radar when he died. I listened to some of the programmes and biopics and realised that beyond the celebrity high profile the man was also very well respected musically.

I'm trying to fill my Walkman, with 16gb being quite a challenge to my wallet, and a recent purchase was this. The album hangs together very well, as a piece. I can't talk about different periods in his music or his recording history, but I didn't find any urge to move forward through any of it. If I had to pick some favourites the live 'Folsom Prison Blues,' '(Ghost) riders in the sky' and of course my childhood favourite 'A boy named Sue' would be my picks.

So all-in-all it did everything I expected, and possibly a bit more, though that may be partly the positive memories it evoked- a pretty solid 5 stars from me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Just how do you get the 'essential' (or definitive) Johnny Cash recordings from a near 50-year recording career of over 2500 songs on to a single CD? Well, of course, you don't. What you'd need is the best of his Sun output, the best of his long spell with Columbia, a selection from his Mercury years - there really was some good stuff - and then the pick from his Rick Rubin American Recordings years. You'd need more than one disc.

This 24-track compilation from Johnny's 28 years or so with Columbia is a very good selection from his time with that label, and a decent starting point that gives you a good idea of what he was about. We get many of JC's best-known hits such as the opening track, A Thing Called Love and Daddy Sang Bass, Jackson with wife June Carter, Dylan's Wanted Man, and of course Folsom Prison Blues and San Quentin from the 2 late-Sixties ground-breaking live albums. There's also A Boy Named Sue which was cut live on stage as a new song at San Quentin prison, to give Johnny his third Billboard country chart-topper in a row. From what I recall, Sunday Morning Coming Down was also recorded live (at the Ryman) for The Johnny Cash Show for airing on ABC-TV in the US.

You could say there are a few good 'uns from this era that are missing, such as Tennessee Flat Top Box, Give My Love To Rose, Five Feet High And Rising and Understand Your Man, but there are no particular duds here, and we do get Nick Lowe's Without Love, Jagger and Richards' No Expectation and Springsteen's Highway Patrolman which add a bit of variety to the collection.

Being a major label release, the sound quality is very good, and the tracks run to nearly 75 minutes. The packaging amounts to a cardboard sleeve with a slide-in inner sleeve that holds the disc. If you want the album credits you'll need to access a website given on the back cover.

An entertaining collection of Johnny's recordings from '58 to '86. Alternatives include Sony's 2001 2-disc Man In Black: The Very Best Of Johnny Cash, and the 24-track Wanted Man: The Very Best Of Johnny Cash from 2002.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2006
Pretend it is Christmas or it is your birthday - treat yourself - buy this CD. If you like country music you will not be disappointed. This is the best of the master. Twenty four songs - even if the CD was priced at ten pounds (UK money) that would be less than one pound a song.Must be bargain of the year. This is Pure Gold. Twenty four of the masters greatest hits. I'm fortune enough to have an old LP record that was recorded live at San Quentin prison. The sound effects,and not just the musical sound effects, are great.This is a CD you will never get tired listening to. Buy it now.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2009
If I could have only one Johnny Cash recording - this would be it. The 24 tracks range throughout in his wide repertoire. They're all there, it seems: `Ring of Fire' and (of course) `I Walk the Line', the classic live recordings of `San Quentin', `Folsom Prison Blues' and `A Boy Named Sue'... straight through to his `Singin' in Vietnam Talking Blues' - and concluding with his all-time signature piece, the one that puts Johnny Cash in a category above and beyond traditional C&W: `Man in Black'.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2009
Excellent value for money.
It has been on the car cd player for aa month. There are several tracks on it that I did not know, but they are all good.
Thoroughly recommended
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2007
This lovely album perfectly covers the early years of Johnny Cash. Despite being a compilation it hangs together artistically, and best of all, does it in a single CD. The best music for the family in the car.
You can take your pick of the American Recordings of his final years, but this is the album which shows you where he came from, his humour and greatness.
These are all the tracks you have to have.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
In the mid 1950s Sam Philips at Sun Records had a roster of top names recording at his studios in Memphis.
Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich and Roy Obison for starters.
For me though it has to be Johnny Cash, The Man in Black, who tops the lot.
To make it clear these are Not The Sun Recordings, the above introduction is to set the artist in perspective.
In the late 1950s Johnny moved to Columbia Records which led to recordings which brought him to world wide attention.
He took his previous songs with him, for example I Walk The Line, Get Rhythm and Folsom Prison Blues, the definitive live recording from the 1968 album At Folsom Prison is included here.
From the 24 tracks I can pick out 4 which stand above the rest:
(Ghost)Riders In The Sky could have been written especially for Johnny, basically he makes it his own with a masterfully evoactive vocal.
Wanted Man, was written by Bob Dylan and as far as I know he never recorded it himself.It was Johnny who championed Bob after the latter's first album looked like it would be his last, Columbia listerned to the more experianced artist and I'm pleased to say, stuck with Mr Dylan.
The song itself is pure Johhny Cash story telling at its best as the wanted man travels from town to town causing disruption and chaos and appearing to be unaware of how it happened !
This is the studio recording, there is also a live recording on the At St Quentin prison album from 1969, not suprisingly the audience loved it!
Singin'In Vietnam Talkin'Blues shows a strong Bob Dylan infulence as Johnny grafically describes going to play some concerts for the troops far from home and in almost constant danger.
Johnny was against the war, but always identified and supported the troops.
Man In Black is a masterpeice only Johnny could have sung without being liable to ridicule, thats the measure of the man.
To finish, a request to Columbia/Sony Records, please release the original 1971 album Man In Black on CD, I await you call !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2012
There has been a lot written about Johnny Cash and his music. I am not a country music fan particularly, but some of Johnny Cash's songs had a genuine humanity that cuts across his choice of musical form. This album includes "Folsom Prison Blues", "I Walk The Line" and "Man In Black", which fall into that category. This album is very good value and includes some great songs from one of the greats.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2011
All the hits and Johnny Cash at his best all his best tracks on one CD you cant fail to enjoy it A great album at a great price
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2011
Cant beat the old music, classic album with classic music and still sounding as good today as it ever was :-
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