Monday, September 07, 2009

Johnny Cash - Classic Cash (1988, LP)

When it comes to country music, I am very selective in what I still listen to. As a rule I don't listen to any of that modern cowpop, or faux-country. I guess you could call my tastes in that genre pretty much limited to "classic country." Johnny Cash is still one of my favorites.

I found this record in the inherited collection (from my late mother-in-law). I made a scan of the cover rather than using the thumbnail from Amazon because it has a promotional sticker on the cover (click to enlarge). Another odd thing about this particular record is that it must have originally belonged to a radio station or some other music promoter because of the "LENT FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY" stamp on the back cover.

This is a somewhat controversial album because the songs are all remakes of his originals--they are not the original recordings. These days, you can buy CDs of his original recordings anywhere, so this may have become a "pointless" album. But back in 1988, I don't know, it might have been difficult to find new copies of his original recordings. Use of a "modern" (as in 1988) band might also have made this easier on the ears of newbies back in 80s, so I don't believe that it was a "pointless" record when it was initially released. There were supposedly even some synthesizers used on this album, but I didn't notice them so they must have been used very tastefully. The "purists" mostly consider this album as junk (just check the comments at Amazon). In my opinion, this is the height of pedantry. Get a clue, people. Just look at some of the musicians that he worked with in his last years; just remember his last big hit was a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song.

Anyway, it has 20 tracks that are mostly not redundant with my CD compilation (note: "Boy Named Sue" is not on this one, either). I got a perfect rip on this record and the sound is outstanding. I was really surprised and pleased to hear "Thing Called Love" on this one. I hadn't heard that song in decades, literally. When I was a kid, on the way to church every Sunday morning, we would listen to a radio program on KBUC (1310 AM; it has since changed callsign and format) called "Country Hymntime" with Alex Alvarez. That song was one of the staples of that program, and hearing it again so unexpectedly after so many years nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Amazon has it on both CD and mp3 download. So if you'd like to hear Johnny Cash do very good alt versions of his own big hits, check it out. They have sound samples of all tracks.

I also thought this commentary from the liner notes was worth reproducing here. Written by Tom T. Hall. I couldn't get an OCR scan of it because of the colors, but if you click to enlarge, you should be able to read it.

Amazon: Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series

1 comment:

  1. A Thing called Love was a favorite of mine from childhood too, we had a 45 of it that got all cracked up. I had a really great collection of Cash songs for years but could never land a copy of this song. Finally I saw it available on Itunes when I got into that world and bought it immediately. I was amazed by all of the different nuances that were impossible to hear on the old record...I teared up too!