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4.7 out of 5 stars94
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2006
In the years since his death Johnny Cash's stature has, in anything, grown even greater. In many ways the ultimate interpreter of the American Country and Western songbook, the some warts and all movie 'Walk the Line', and an posthumous assessment of his achievement and his deep spiritual purity and decency have made his remarkable voice resound even greater with Biblical strength.

This album was made when Johnny was sick and near death, and, so, the familiar voice that seemed to come from deep down an echoing well was no longer in his arsenal but he turns this frailty to a strength with his courage in admitting to his own mortality that in every song recalls the honesty of his pained singing of `Hurt'. But his humour was undiminished as with his last song 'Like the 309'. And his skill in breaking your heart and bringing a tear to your eye by his interpretation of a `corny' popular standard such as Rod McKuen's `Love's Been Good to Me' is undiminished.

His deep Christian faith and its belief in the afterlife brings almost a joyous expectation to `passing over' that he celebrates in songs such as `On the Evening Train,' a powerful Hank Williams song I wasn't familiar with about a man saying goodbye to his dead wife, his own composition `I Came To Believe' and the closing track `I'm Free From the Chain Gang Now'.

In the nearly three years since Johnny Cash's death, it had begun to seem as though his producer and late career saviour Rick Rubin was holding onto the tapes of his final sessions for far too long. Was it that the tracks were so poor that he was handing onto them to protect Johnny's legacy? Was he constantly messing with added musicians and layers of sound so that it would turn into a overdressed confection like Jeff Lynn's self indulgence in his over egged production of George Harrison's last album `Brainwashed?'

There is now no longer any need to worry that the quality of these tracks was not of the highest standard or that Rick Rubin was trying to impose his ego between Johnny Cash's great, brave, unique achievement and his people. Mr Rubin has been a true friend in his fidelity to Johnny Cash greatness. He may have taken a long time to get this album out - I had nursed a suspicion that as long as Johnny still had another new CD coming out he really wasn't gone and that perhaps Mr Rubin held onto the tracks for such a time because their release would be final. But what he had been doing was to get every song just right and to do Johnny proud - his strength and courage shown bright until the end.
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on 10 July 2006
having just brought this album im only up to song 5 im already feeling quite tearful!!!

this is such a Beautiful album the lyrics are simply Genius the music is perfect and kept simple THIS IS CASH JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE HIS DEATH AND HIS STILL AT HIS BEST.

if your a fan like me no doubt u have already brought it, but if your not a big fan (like a was about 1 year ago) you will fall in love with his barratone voice, his wonderful lyrics and his effortless guitar melodys.

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on 17 December 2007
I came to Johnny Cash late in life (late 50s) via The Byrds and Willy Nelson, and hadn't realised until I heard this album that he was a staunch Christian, and a close friend of Billy Graham. Everything that I had imagined about "the man in black" was that he had lived a life and a half, and not all of it good. I'd assumed that he hadn't just given concerts in prison, but had lived there on occassions.

However, from the first track - "Help Me" - a prayer almost of despair, but with the hope of a "believer", it is clear that his faith was the cornerstone of his life, in addition, of course to his love of June. His faith also gives hope to his bitter-sweet renderings of covers like "If you could read my mind" and "Love's been good to me".

I just with I had a similar faith in something and Johnny's ability to love.
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on 3 July 2006
I've always been a major fan of Johnny's, being wheened on his music from an early age thanks to my Uncle. This album certainly doesn't disappoint.

Like 'American IV', there is an emotion in Cash's voice that shakes you to your core, made all the more tragic on this collection because you know he was in real pain when he made it. Producer Rick Ruben describes in the inlay Cash's last days, detailing some of the physical pain Cash suffered. You can feel that pain on some of the tracks on display here. Particularly moving is the incredible 'If you could read my mind', a song which evokes images of Johnny's great, undying love for the soul mate he lost so shortly before the production of this album. Such raw emotive vocalisation is sadly a rarity in modern music, while 'God's Gonna Cut You Down' can't fail in making you feel the power of Cash's conviction in his faith, such is his booming, ministerial voice on the track.

The overpowering feeling of this collection is one of resignation, or rather, reflection, back on a life so colourful and at times, chaotic, one wonders how the man bounced back so hard! Whatever way you view this album, it's not difficult at all to see why Johnny Cash is one of the true, legendary singer/songwriters through the entire history of mankind.
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on 5 July 2006
And so it ends.

Despite the ethics of releasing another Johnny Cash album some years after his death, the knowledge that Rick Rubin supervised the final mix and that Johnny Cash had wanted this album to be released seems to quell any fears. Its great therefore that American V is an album of immense emotion and power, and sits as the best swansong a musician could get.

The beauty of Johnny Cash is his ability to take anything and make it his own. His covers of Bruce Springsteens 'Further on up the road' is exquisitely beautiful, and 'If you could Read my mind' by Gordon Lightfoot is moving in equal regard.

His last song, 'Like the 309' is slightly eerie as you are well aware that its the last song he ever wrote - but it manages to be both stirring and melancholy instead of creepy. This is not supposed to be a song by song review however. The album is somewhat more consistent than American IV, and while it doesn't really have an equivalent of 'Hurt'or 'When the Man Comes Around', the songs are all heart-felt and never dip below a good standard.

A sad, stirring and wonderfully created album, American V is a fitting epitaph to one of America's music legends.
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on 4 August 2006
Johnny Cash is a true musical great. I wasnt expecting much of this album but having heard bits and pieces of this album I had to get it and I am not sorry. It is wonderful. If you loved the earlier American recordings then this will please you greatly and wrap its self around your heart.

It did make me wonder why we had the 'unearthed' box set and then this album. I do hope that if Rick Rubin is going to put other stuff out then the quality control is as high.
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on 3 July 2006
My album arrived this morning from amazon (the morning of release 3rd july 2006) and i have listened to it several times today.

I have never heard an album which has made me so emotional - I was driving home tonight towards a pink sun setting and Johnny Cash was singing 'If you could read my mind' and it made me acutely aware of how lucky i was to be alive - yes the performance is THAT beautiful!

Every song is appropriate to the album and a fitting tribute by Rick Rubin to Johnny Cash. Mr Rubin says there is enough for another album. I cant wait.

My music collection is vast and eclectic but my ears have never had the privelege of hearing music of this quality. The best album i have ever bought. Bar None.
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on 4 August 2007
I'm not a typical fan of Johnny Cash having never fully appreciated or understood his music when I was younger. However, I caught a review of this album on the Johnny Walker Radio 2 show and found the songs and their interpretation, both impressive and moving not least of all because of the circumstances surrounding their recording. I was especially impressed by the Gordon Lightfoot song "If you could read my mind" and deeply moved by the effort and expression Cash puts into this particular vocal. I now have the pleasure of working my way through his back catalogue, especially the "American" series and look forward to American VI due for release in October.
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on 8 August 2007
I'm not a 'typical' fan at all, but after hearing the brilliant and very moving HURT, I had to get all 5 of the american recordings.
They are all good, with some great songs and some good songs.
This one contains a cover of IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND that will blow you away. This song was clearly difficult for him to sing, he was so frail by then, but this makes it THE most wonderful and perfect cover EVER.
I can hear this being played at funerals for a long time to come....don't let that put you off though!!!
The rest of this album is just as good.
Well worth the money. Do yourself a favour, get it, it will change your life.
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on 3 July 2006
I have been waiting in anticipation for the No5 recording to be released and in my opinion this is certainly the best of the lot. Even though cash at the time was ill, his professionalism and dedication to his work is a total credit to the man.

From the very first track you are slipped into an acoustic dream, the voice crackles as is so expected of cash and the album breaks into your soul. Track 2, my favourite will have you foot tapping and hand clapping after 20 seconds of its start.

This is a superb piece of work, only possible from a master such as cash, just a shame he never had some more years as in my opinion he was reaching an even younger audience, even my 16 year old son thought this album was excellent. You will not be dissapointed even if cash is not your No1 star.
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