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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining collection from Johnny's years with Columbia., 26 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Man in Black: The Definitive Collection (Audio CD)
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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Location: England

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