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Customer Review

on 15 July 2008
Forty or so years ago, whenever I put a Johnny Cash record on, my wife would leave the room saying "That man can't sing". And that was in the post drug -use period of the late sixties - early seventies when I consider his voice was good and he was making memorable recordings. I was buying a Johnny Cash LP just about every other month back then - "Hello I'm Johnny Cash", "The Johnny Cash Show", "A Thing Called Love", "Any Old Wind That Blows", "Look At Them Beans" etc etc.Just a few of the great 70's albums that I still play today, Subsequently I dragged her to one of his live concerts and she was "converted" saying he had star quality galore with his wonderful stage performance. I wouldn't like the Missus to hear this rubbish- we'd be back to square one!For as much as it pains me to say this,I can't understand the rave reviews given to this CD.Seems like it's a case of "the blind leading the blind" (or should it be " the tone-deaf leading the tone -deaf"). As a fan of Johnny Cash since the mid-fifties with a huge collection of his recordings, I have to say this last one is, frankly embarrassing to listen to, because it is the "singing" of a dying old man, feeble and terribly out of tune. For example,have you ever heard "Danny Boy" murdered like this before? It's excrutiating and the other songs suffer a similar fate. Most of these songs have been sung so much better by other artists (and Johnny too, in the past).It should never have been made.With one exception, this applies to the other Rick Rubin recordings.
Let's face it, Johnny was never a great singer in the accepted sense (he often sounds "off key" particularly when "live) but was popular because of the wonderful way he put his music across, with that distinctive voice and superb backing.He was "different" unique and exciting but he was careful to sing only simple songs which did not strain his limited bass-baritone vocal range. His best stuff has to be the Sun and CBS recordings spanning 30 years from the mid-fifties to the mid-eighties, when he had youth on his side. They were truly great. I think there are two exceptionally good recordings from the "later" years though.They are "Classic Cash '88" (Mercury) - a stunner and the second volume of the American recordings with the backing of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Unchained).This is where it should have ended. People new to his music should listen to those two for his best later stuff and of course,the Sun and CBS recordings "Walk The Line", "Ring Of Fire" and the countless others from that great 30 year period!
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Product Details

4.6 out of 5 stars
321