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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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No Johnny Cash compilation can ever include everything but this collection contains all the essentials from the fifties and sixties, his most productive period that yielded classic songs such as Hey porter, I walk the line, Big river, Don't take your guns to town, Five feet high and rising, I still miss someone, Ring of fire, Understand your man, It ain't me babe (with June Carter Cash), Orange blossom special, Jackson (with June Carter Cash) and A boy named Sue. All these songs and many others are included here.
The fifties and sixties take up the whole of the first CD and almost half of the second CD so, inevitably, there isn't a lot of room for his later music. Even so, the omission of A thing called love (a top five pop hit in Britain and also a big hit in America) will surprise some people. Of the seventies songs included here, the best is One piece at a time, an amusing song about assembling a car from stolen car parts.
Another feature of this compilation is the number of guests including Bob Dylan (Girl from the north country), Marty Robbins (Song of the patriot), Waylon Jennings (The night Hank Williams came to town) and U2 (The wanderer). On Highwaymen, Johnny is joined by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who recorded three albums together as the Highwaymen. This name was originally used by a sixties folk group (famous for Michael row the boat ashore) and sometimes causes confusion.
This compilation is based on another double CD (Essential) with four tracks added - So doggone lonesome, Daddy sang bass, Forty shades of green and Man in white.
Despite the omission of A thing called love, this is an excellent collection of Johnny's music.
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on 12 September 2003
The great Johny Cash left us many country classics. On this double cd, you will find many of his most important songs, such like Ring of Fire, Orange Blossom Special, I walk the line and A Boy named Sue, plus a few not so famous songs but of imense value, like U2's The Wanderer.
The voice of The Man in Black is the voice of America. Toguether with Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Johny Cash embodies the american spirit and sublimates it throug his songs, just listen to his definite interpretation of Ghost Riders in the Sky !!!
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on 27 July 2004
I'm not fan of country music, but Johnny Cash isn't your average country singer. . . he incorporates everything music should be.
As a total metal fan, I never in a million years expected myself to buy country albums. But there I was in HMV one day and I Walk The Line came over the speakers. I know instantly that is was Johnny's singing because my mum was a fan. I abandoned the metal section and picked up the CD which I am now reviewing. It's interesting the amount of metal icons who cite Mr Cash as their inspiration and idol. Metallica's James Hatfield and Slipknot's Shawn Crahan are two mentioned on the inside cover of the CD booklet. I can see why they love him.
Johnny's voice is cool and calm. He is the only singer I listen to who can be tough yet gentle at the same time. Here is a man that judging only by the sound of his voice you'd know not to mess with, yet his lyrics show a man with a genuine heart. This album had classics like I Walk The Line, Don't Take Your Guns To Town, Ring Of Fire, One Piece At A Time and Man In Black.
The songs are so simple yet genius. In 50 years time people will still be listening to Johnny's music and it will still sound as fresh as it does now. That's more than cane be said about bands these days who poke fun at country music yet can't write their own songs.
Respect, Johnny, you're a legend. Folks, buy this album. If there was ever money well spent it's on this CD.
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on 1 March 2002
The Classic unmistakeable voice of Johnny Cash is compiled in this complete selection of his music, combined with the music of Rock legends such as U2. All the great songs you know and the ones you probably don't, but wonder why the hell you didn't. A must have. Generations down the line the old San Quentin crooner strumms a cord for all. Classic, classic Cash!
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on 3 February 2014
Got this for my fella for Xmas after we had watched a documentary on Johnny Cash and he said how much he liked it ((not his normal choice of music) . I was a bit dubious that he would play it more than once but when he is working from home he puts this on as background music and listens to it endlessly. It sounds a bit like those American films you see where there is country music playing in the background somewhere, you can hear it but you don't really notice it. I quite enjoy listening to this too, again not really my type of music but pleasantly surprised and glad I bought it.
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on 2 May 2011
There have been many compilations of Johnny Cash's music over the years and it's difficult to cover the best of his massive recorded output on two CDs.These discs offer 40 selected popular tracks in chronological order from his Sun, CBS and Mercury recordings Inevitively people are going to point out omissions such as a previous reviewer re "A Thing Called Love" (quite rightly). There is ample room for this track and five others given the CDs' playing time. And that is my only gripe. Because the songs we have here are indeed timeless classics you can listen to again and again.
An ideal introduction to the great man's music for the newcomer and handy compilation for those like me who have the original albums on Sun, CBS and Mercury.
How assertive and in good voice Johnny sounds on these famous tracks compared to the awful last Rick Rubin stuff (with the exception of the excellent Vol. 2) where he weakly and pathetically croaks his way through the songs,sadly due to his ill-health.
That wasn't the true Johnny Cash. This double CD most definitely is!
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on 7 May 2008
Before you jump in and buy, have a look at 'The Essential Johnny Cash' as the track listing on this 2002 'Man In Black: TVBO' collection is more similar to that CD than it is to the CD of the title 'Man In Black: TVBO' issued in 2001 (probably the U.S. version).

This 2002 'Man In Black: TVBO' one has four more tracks than 'Essential', and differs towards the end between the two 'Man In Black: TVBO' collections. This latter part is not such a problem in my view as the earlier stuff is more essential listening.

Unfortunately, this UK version of 'Man In Black: TVBO' from 2002 has the bleeped version of A Boy Named Sue, as detailed in 'The Essential Johnny Cash' reviews.

Confusing, but worth mentioning just in case this would influence you in which one you buy.
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on 11 March 2009
If you want an introduction to Johnny Cash music this is the CD to buy. A wide range of his work with many well known tracks plus a few unusual ones. A very good value CD.
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on 18 June 2015
Another one of the man in black's Johnny Cash this has two CDs in the pack and manages to fit in forty good songs, very good value so I highly recommend it.
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on 29 March 2016
Johnny Cash is a great I have all of this music on vinyl but as the years have passed it is full of static, this is the best replacement ever
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