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Ring Of Fire: The Legend Of Johnny Cash CD
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The first ever definitive best of Johnny Cash, covering his whole career over five decades. From modest country beginnings in the mid-'50s to his death in 2003, the Man In Black became a legend. One of those rare artists that transcended his chosen musical genre to be an icon for generations of musicians.
This album collects tracks from his early Sun Records days through to his defining era at Columbia Records to his last recordings, the famed and critically acclaimed American Recordings.
The packaging features comprehensive sleeve notes and biography from US music writer Rich Kienzle and exclusive photographs from throughout Cash's career.
The eagerly anticipated Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherpoon, needed a soundtrack. So someone had the unenviable task of condensing a five decade recording career into one teeny tiny album.
But the twenty-one tracks here paint a good picture of an artist who started his musical career rubbing shoulders with Elvis at Sun Studios, went rebel rousing in top security prisons, stood tall with his fellow Outlaws, and bowed out shortly after recording the deeply poignant "Hurt" on the American Recordings albums.
Long-time fans won't need this compilation; others will have 2002's excellent two-disc set Man In Black. But for those new to the man who defined American music with such humour, beauty and pain, this is a fine place to start. --Sue Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
I can't remember the last time I listened with such undivided concentration to a CD. There's something about Johnny Cash's song-writing and his delivery that is just hypnotic. You find yourself really listening to the words. The cover versions of U2's One and Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus are among the best covers I've heard for any song in any style (and I'm a huge DM fan).
The last track, "Hurt", is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, recorded in Cash's home studio when he was already terminally ill. The frailty in his voice makes you realise that every word in the song is true.
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However, the only real problem - which to be fair is a bit of a big one - with this disc is its length. At just over an hour, this single-disc collection is a woeful under-representation of the fifty-year career of this legendary country star.
Luckily, this serves as an advantage in that there is not a single ounce of fat on this record; every song is utterly brilliant, despite the odd omission of anything from the first American album (1994). You get a sample of all stages of his career; the peerless title track's mariachi horns indicate his relationship with June Carter; 'Folsom Prison Blues,' one of his defining songs, resplendent in its classic Sun-records production, laden with echo; 'Highwayman,' his supergroup with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson; the curio 'The Wanderer' (amusingly, one of two U2-penned songs on this Cash compilation) from that band's Zooropa album; and, of course, some fantastic songs from the American recordings.
While by no means the definitive Johnny Cash, this is a perfect way in for any budding Johnny Cash fan.
After reading about Cash I decided it was time to buy a cd of his luckily this cd had just been realeased, so I listened and I am now sold Johnny Cash is an absolute genius, saw the walk the line film and have just purchased autobiography, I a now going to continue to buy his back catalogue. I have to say his cover of one by U2 is probably one of the best covers I have ever heard!
I came across Johnny Cash in a reviews section for this cd, and it stated this album is probably the best starting point for anyone new to his material. So basically Johnny Cash is my first country record, and when I bought I was suprisingly anxious to hear it.
The opening title track Ring of Fire I had already heard prior to purchasing this, and even as I play this now, it still remains classic as it is on the first listen. The compilation isn't set in chronological order unfortunately, but why complain when this is one of the greatest songwriters/guitar players I have heard in a long time.
Aside from great studio tunes like I Walk the Line, Cry! Cry! Cry! and the appropriately titled Man in Black, there is also two cuts from his live San Quentin album. A Boy Named Sue is very tongue in cheek whilst San Quentin certainly pushes the jolly notes on the prisoners he played this for.
I would recommend this to anyone that's new to country music, Johnny Cash is a great songwriter, a wonderful guitarist and a legend in his own right. I might consider reading his biography and watching Walk The Line.
Oh, don't forget to check out his cover songs, just proves he was willing to try anything. Just think a man with a guitar dressed in black and he's a legend, doesn't that make you want to pick up a guitar and start your own band. :-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stand up guy writing and singing stand up songs. You will find yourself humming these tunes for ages and making them your ringtones. Lyrics that strike a chord.Published 7 days ago by Mark M.
You know more of these than you think, particulary if you have seen walk the line. Even my 6 year old was singing along!Published 2 months ago by trevord
This is a really good album for fans of Johnny Cash, especially the casual listener like myself.
I love the newest of the songs like "Hurt" and "Personal... Read more
This isn't a bad selection of his work although it could have had more of his early stuff. My fault for expecting too much on a single album. Read morePublished 3 months ago by gordon davison