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American V: A Hundred Highways

American V: A Hundred Highways

3 Jul 2006
4.7 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 3 July 2006
  • Release Date: 26 Jun. 2006
  • Label: UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
  • Copyright: ℗© 2006 American Recordings, LLC & The Island Def Jam Music Group
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 42:42
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001KEG2IE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
These songs were recorded while Johnny Cash was wheelchair-bound, nearly blind, asthmatic, diabetic, in constant pain and grieving the death of his soulmate and love of his life June Carter Cash, whom he would join mere weeks after the last of these tracks was recorded. Despite all that, he managed, through sheer force of will, to create an album of honesty and beauty that will stay with you long after the last note fades.

The album opens with a straightfoward appeal for help. "Oh Lord, help me to walk another mile, just one more mile" he sings on "Help Me", a hauntingly beautiful song that is neither maudlin nor overly sentimental. This is followed by what the sequencing seems to suggest is God's answer to that humble plea, the slashing, foot-stomping "God's Gonna Cut You Down". Cash seems to relish the role of the avenging hand and sings this one with gusto.

"Like the 309", the last song Cash wrote and recorded, has him returning to the "train song" motif that has been a lifeblood of his music. Cash stares down "Dr. Death" with a wink, a sly grin and a clear-eyed view of his own mortality. "Tell me all about it, what I did wrong/Meanwhile, I will be doin' fine/Then load my box on the 309".

Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind", a staple of light-pop radio, is transformed by Cash from a pleasantly hummable song about a romantic breakup into a harrowing trip into a dark night of the soul. Cash's voice is at its weakest here as he struggles for breath and pitch but that only serves to make the effect greater. Lyrics that seemed throwaway in the original seem weighted with years of regret and pain when sung by Cash.
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Format: Audio CD
Many people can say what they want, but I almost had tears when I heard this album... just listening to `Help Me' and the way Johnny sings those lyrics, man! that's just too much. The songs in this album are perfect, and personally this is my favourite of the American saga... Johnny knew what was coming and you can feel it across the songs, there's nothing like how he approach the melodies.

I'm just glad we can always remember him with so many great records... the last one can have that nostalgic ingredient, but honestly I've never heard an album that reflected feelings in such a truthful way.

It's almost me being stupid, but after hearing this record, you feel that you know the guy... I guess very few artists could do something like that.

Enjoy this masterpiece...
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Format: Audio CD
Though American V's quality shines through on first hearing, no trouble, it is only after repeated listening that it's stark beauty becomes fully apparent.
Only a strong man would be able to sing about failure, heartache and suffering the way Johnny does. Only Johnny Cash was able to take an "ordinary" songs such as Legend in my Time and make it say more than the original writer can ever have intended.
I would hope That Rick Rubin will be able to extract more gems from what is left in the vaults at the House of Cash. I would hope that Benmont Tench, Smokey Hornel and such musicians will once again be involved. In short I hope Johnny's last farewell, if there is to be one, will be handled in the same tasteful way as "Cash Unearthed".
One bit of very minor criticism : Rubin's liner notes were, I thought a bit on the self indulgent side. I would have preferred a few photographs of Johnny with his June.
What a mountain of a man Johnny was !!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is something in the voice of Johnny Cash which claims this album as one of my favourites. He worked so hard, with so much discomfort to produce the vocal tracks. It seems like he just 'had' to finish his work, and he knew time was running out. In many of the tracks, particularly the stunning 'if you could read my mind' he almost pleads for absolution.

Overall, I can't recommend this album highly enough, even for non Cash fans. It's stunning.
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Format: Audio CD
The last recording, and in places it really feels like it. The voice cannot always carry the same weight and you can almost hear him wheeze in places but this melancholic set is actually a perfect bookend to his career. A posthumous realease that is not a scrappy collection of outtakes but a vital addition to his catalogue for fans, and a great place to start for newcomers to the artist.

More personal and intimate than the first 4 American recordings this is also the most acoustic. The songs are concerned with reflection and impending conclusions, but not with regret. There are flashes of gentle humour and elsewhere evidence of his deep faith (in the aching, pleading 'Help me' for example)

If the album has a criticism it may be the lack of a standout track to equal 'Hurt' from American IV, but it gains over that collection in terms of consistency. It is a magnificent and emotional final tribute, the sound of a man singing himself into the long dark night ahead, and choosing to share it with his friends.
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Format: Audio CD
Being the last album in his 'American Recordings' series, the overall vibe of the other albums led fans and admirers of Cash to expect nothing more than what was needed; Cash's voice, a few guitars, a piano and the occassional backing vocals. Rick Rubin's tried-and-tested production method when it comes to Johnny Cash is put into motion again here, and the end result is another memorable record.

Being a mix of tradtional country songs and Cash's own material, including 'Like The 309', the last song he ever wrote before his death. It would take many pages to explain all the merits of each song, so I'll just pick out a few of my favourites. 'Like The 309' is a classic Cash track, but it has more resonance becuase it was the last he wrote. It continues Cash's love affair with trains and the story of the rails, somthing that features constanly throughout all his albums. 'Further On Up The Road' is done with a brilliance that I haven't seen elsewhere in the country music spectrum. It's instrumentation is also well chosen - the select organ chords halfway through the song sends shivers up your spine. It's a masterwork, with some meaningful lyrics that will stir up some emotion in anyone. 'If You Could Read My Mind' is a softer, moe thoughtful song may go unnoticed when compared to tracks such as 'Hurt' and 'Ring Of Fire', but in my opinion, it deserves to stand with them. It's quiet and smooth, bordering romantic, with the pure honesty of Cash's voice really coming through.

It's certainly a brilliant album to complete the series, and bolsters the allready great legend of the Man In Black. Buy this album if you're a fan of Cash or country music in general - you will not regret it.
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