12 Songs, 27 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Johnny Cash stood out from his Sun Records labelmates by virtue of his seriousness – even in his pre-Man In Black days, there was a solemnity to his baritone and overall bearing that made Elvis and Jerry Lee seem like mischievous schoolboys. The brooding charisma of his early years is caught on His Hot And Blue Guitar (1957), a time capsule of a debut album that proves Cash was an eclectic artist from the start. He rocks convincingly on “Cry! Cry! Cry!” (his first hit single), grasps the essence of country blues on “I Heard That Lonesome Whistle” and gets into a folk groove on “Rock Island Line.” The spiritual fervor heard in “I Was There When It Happened” balances the rustic good spirits of “Country Boy.” Most memorably, Cash infuses “I Walk The Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” with the passion and foreboding that became his trademark for nearly half a century. The Tennessee Two — especially guitarist Luther Perkins — provide taut, prodding backing. His Hot And Blue Guitar hints at the sufferings and triumphs Cash would experience in the decades ahead. These tracks are the foundations of an indisputably legendary career.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Johnny Cash stood out from his Sun Records labelmates by virtue of his seriousness – even in his pre-Man In Black days, there was a solemnity to his baritone and overall bearing that made Elvis and Jerry Lee seem like mischievous schoolboys. The brooding charisma of his early years is caught on His Hot And Blue Guitar (1957), a time capsule of a debut album that proves Cash was an eclectic artist from the start. He rocks convincingly on “Cry! Cry! Cry!” (his first hit single), grasps the essence of country blues on “I Heard That Lonesome Whistle” and gets into a folk groove on “Rock Island Line.” The spiritual fervor heard in “I Was There When It Happened” balances the rustic good spirits of “Country Boy.” Most memorably, Cash infuses “I Walk The Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” with the passion and foreboding that became his trademark for nearly half a century. The Tennessee Two — especially guitarist Luther Perkins — provide taut, prodding backing. His Hot And Blue Guitar hints at the sufferings and triumphs Cash would experience in the decades ahead. These tracks are the foundations of an indisputably legendary career.

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