Album Details

May 23, 2000
Sony Music Distribution
Country, Rockabilly, Progressive Country, Country-Pop, Rock & Roll, Traditional Country

Album Review

Each of the three CDs in this box set are comprised of 16 songs devoted to a single theme: love, God, and murder, of course. And each of the three CDs is available separately should you not have a yen for one or two of the discs. Certainly there is a lot of notable music on this box, as it was personally chosen by Cash himself from recordings spanning the mid-'50s to the mid-'90s, mostly heavily weighting the 1955-70 period. There are a few well-known classics here that virtually anyone considering buying this will already know (and probably have), like "I Walk the Line," "I Still Miss Someone," "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "The Long Black Veil." The emphasis, however, is on LP tracks, B-sides, and live recordings that probably won't be familiar to the moderate Cash fan; there are also three mid-'60s tracks previously unreleased in the U.S., though none of them are particularly outstanding. Some of those obscure songs are excellent ("Oh, What a Dream," the brutal hangman humor of "Joe Bean," "Mister Garfield") and almost all of them are worth hearing. And each of the CDs is decorated by liner notes from Cash and a celebrity (his wife June Carter for Love, Bono of U2 for God, and director Quentin Tarantino for Murder). The question still nags: who exactly will find this box wholly satisfying? Not the average Cash fan, who wants a smaller greatest-hits set with more familiar tunes. Not the rabid Cash fan, who probably already has much of this, and might want more well-balanced and thorough boxes, such as those issued on Bear Family of Cash's early material. It's for the in-betweeners, who certainly find the more conventional box retrospective The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 the essential first stop.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Walk the Line
  2. Oh, What a Dream
  3. All Over Again
  4. Little at a Time
  5. My Old Faded Rose
  6. Happiness Is You
  7. Flesh and Blood
  8. I Tremble for You
  9. I Feel Better All Over
  10. 'Cause I Love You
  11. Ballad of Barbara
  12. Ring of Fire
  13. My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You
  14. While I've Got It on My Mind
  15. I Still Miss Someone
  16. The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart)
  17. What on Earth Will You Do (For Heaven's Sake)
  18. My God is Real
  19. It Was Jesus
  20. Why Me Lord?
  21. The Greatest Cowboy of Them All
  22. Redemption
  23. Great Speckled Bird
  24. The Old Account
  25. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  26. When He Comes
  27. The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea
  28. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
  29. Man in White
  30. Belshazzar
  31. Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer)
  32. Oh Come, Angel Band
  33. Folsom Prison Blues
  34. Delia's Gone
  35. Mr. Garfield
  36. Orleans Parish Prison [Live]
  37. When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)
  38. The Sound of Laughter
  39. Cocaine Blues [Live]
  40. Hardin Wouldn't Run
  41. Long Black Veil
  42. Austin Prison
  43. Joe Bean
  44. Going to Memphis
  45. Don't Take Your Guns to Town
  46. Highway Patrolman
  47. Jacob Green
  48. The Wall