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The Classics

Johnny Cash

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Album Review

Narrowing Johnny Cash's body of recorded work — the fruits of a career that spanned six decades — down to 24 songs is a tall order, and even bringing together all his hits on one disc is hardly practical, but The Classics is certainly one of the better attempts to skim the cream from Cash's catalog. Sony has thankfully included a few of Cash's original Sun Records tracks from his earliest days as a recording artist, including "I Walk the Line" and "Hey Porter." And the samplings from his work for Columbia (his recording home from 1959 to 1986) cover major chart hits ("Ring of Fire," "A Boy Named Sue," "Man in Black"), collaborations with important artists ("Girl from the North Country" with Bob Dylan, "Highwayman" with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson), duets with June Carter Cash ("Jackson," "It Ain't Me, Babe"), some of his many prison songs ("Folsom Prison Blues," "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang," "San Quentin"), and even some numbers that reflect Cash's sense of humor ("One Piece at a Time," "The One on the Right Is on the Left"). While The Classics doesn't include any of Cash's late-period sides for Mercury or American Recordings, if you're any kind of Johnny Cash fan, you'll find something you'll enjoy on this collection, which truly does capture the country legend at his most iconic.

Biography

Born: 26 February 1932 in Kingsland, AR

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn't sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock &...
Full bio