Album Details

RELEASE
August 02, 2005
LABEL
Sony Music Distribution
GENRES
Country, Traditional Country, Progressive Country, Rockabilly, Country-Pop

Album Review

There have been in the neighborhood of ten CD box sets devoted to Johnny Cash, released on Columbia, Bear Family, and Collectables (this does not count overseas releases by Sony, or budget-line repackagings of three albums into one box set). Since 2000 there have been roughly 15 new major-label compilations, and that number balloons to nearly 90 comps if various and sundry two-fers, budget-line releases, and imports are factored into the equation. Add to that number the three major reissue campaigns -- Columbia/Legacy's expanded reissues of proper '60s and '70s records, Varese's series of Sun LP re-releases, and Mercury's revival of his largely overlooked '80s albums for the label -- plus the CDs released in the '80s and '90s that are still in print -- and there's not only an enormous amount of Johnny Cash music on the market, but every phase of his career is extraordinarily well documented and easily available.
With this in mind, it's initially hard to see the purpose of Columbia/Legacy's 2005 four-disc box set, The Legend. Sure, it's the first set to run the entire length of his career, from 1955 to 2002, but that statement in itself is a little misleading, suggesting that there's a significant sampling from his Rick Rubin-produced comeback recordings for American Records in the '90s, but that's not the case. In fact, there's nothing from those records, although there is a cut from the 1994 Red Hot + Country album and a smattering of other tracks he recorded in the last decade of his life included among the seven previously unreleased tracks on this 104-track box. So, this winds up being yet another repackaging of Cash's Columbia recordings, buttressed by several Sun standards ("Hey Porter," "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Luther Played the Boogie," "Get Rhythm," etc.). While this is familiar, this is by no means bad, since the music is not only good, but it's presented in an interesting manner, with each disc following a theme that's a little looser than Columbia's previous box, Love, God, Murder. Here, the first disc is called Win, Place and Show -- The Hits, the second is Old Favorites and New, the third is The Great American Songbook, and the fourth is Family and Friends. Although it's unclear what exactly separates the "hits" from the "favorites" -- if "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Get Rhythm," "Big River," and "I Got Stripes," all Top 15 country singles but all on the second disc, weren't hits, then what constitutes a hit? -- it seems that the former tends to favor funnier, poppier singles like "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," "A Boy Named Sue," and "The One on the Right Is on the Left," while the latter leans toward grittier numbers and standards that never charted (but even that isn't quite right, since the dark humor of "25 Minutes to Go" is on the second disc).
In any case, both of the first two discs are good listens, filled with many of Cash's biggest hits and best songs. The third disc is similarly strong, featuring several of Cash's best readings of such standards -- recorded anywhere from 1955 to 1980, with most dating from the late '50s and '60s -- as "The Wreck of the Old 97," "Rock Island Line," "Delia's Gone," "In the Jailhouse Now," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "Time Changes Everything." However, despite a few good moments, such as his duet with Bob Dylan on "Girl from the North Country" from Nashville Skyline, the fourth disc isn't quite so compelling, largely because Johnny Cash is such an overpowering presence on record that he never made for a good duet partner. But even with the fourth disc being kind of weak, the other three are strong, which means this rivals Columbia's previous box set, 1992's The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 as the best multi-disc retrospective of Cash's weighty career. That doesn't mean it's perfect -- that fourth disc won't be played much, some may gripe that it doesn't contain much from the '80s or '90s, and some big songs like "Five Feet High and Rising" and "The Rebel Johnny Yuma" are MIA -- but Cash recorded so much and so much of it was not only good, but popular, that it's hard to whittle it down to one set, even if it does stretch out over four discs. Overall, The Legend does a very good job presenting the biggest and best of the prime of Johnny Cash's career -- enough to make it a good comprehensive introduction for the curious who want more than what the many, many very good single- or double-disc sets have to offer, enough to make it a nice overview for the casual fan who wants one set with much of his best in one place. [The Legend was also released in a Deluxe Edition, packaged as a large, hardcover book and containing a bonus CD and DVD.]
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Walk the Linehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  2. There You Gohttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  3. Home of the Blueshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  4. Ballad of a Teenage Queenhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  5. Guess Things Happen That Wayhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  6. The Ways of a Woman in Lovehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. Don't Take Your Guns to Townhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  8. Ring of Firehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  9. The Matadorhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  10. Understand Your Manhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  11. The Ballad of Ira Hayeshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  12. Orange Blossom Specialhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  13. The One on the Right Is on the Lefthttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  14. Rosanna's Going Wildhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  15. Folsom Prison Blueshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  16. Daddy Sang Blueshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  17. A Boy Named Suehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  18. What Is Truthhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  19. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Downhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  20. Flesh and Bloodhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  21. Man in Blackhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  22. A Thing Called Lovehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  23. Katehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  24. Oneyhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  25. Any Old Wind That Blowshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  26. One Piece at a Timehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  27. (Ghost) Riders in the Skyhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  28. Hey Porterhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  29. Cry, Cry, Cryhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  30. Luther Played the Boogiehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  31. Get Rhythmhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  32. Give My Love to Rosehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  33. I Was There When It Happenedhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  34. Big Riverhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  35. I Still Miss Someonehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  36. Pickin' Timehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  37. The Man on the Hillhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  38. Five Feet High and Risinghttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  39. Tennessee Flat-Top Boxhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  40. I Got Stripeshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  41. Troublesome Watershttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  42. The Long Black Veilhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  43. Dark as a Dungeonhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  44. The Wallhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  45. 25 Minutes to Gohttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  46. Cocaine Blueshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  47. Doin' My Time [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  48. I Will Rock and Roll with Youhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  49. Without Lovehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  50. The Big Lighthttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  51. Highway Patrolmanhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  52. I'm Never Gonna Roam Again [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  53. When I'm Gray [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  54. Forever Younghttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  55. The Wreck of the Old 97https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  56. Rock Island Linehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  57. Goodnight Irenehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  58. Goodbye, Little Darlin'https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  59. Born to Losehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  60. Walking the Blueshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  61. Frankie's Man, Johnnyhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  62. Delia's Gonehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  63. In the Jailhouse Nowhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  64. Waiting for a Trainhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  65. Casey Joneshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  66. The Legend of John Henry's Hammerhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  67. I've Been Working on the Railroad [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  68. Sweet Betsy from Pikehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  69. The Streets of Laredohttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  70. Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairiehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  71. Down in the Valley [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  72. Wabash Cannonballhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  73. The Great Speckle Birdhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  74. Wildwood Flowerhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  75. Cotton Fieldshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  76. Pick a Bale o' Cottonhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  77. Old Shephttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  78. I'll Be All Smiles Tonighthttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  79. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cryhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  80. Time Changes Everythinghttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  81. Keep on the Sunny Sidehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  82. Diamonds in the Roughhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  83. (There'll Be) Peace in the Valleyhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  84. Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  85. Another Man Done Gonehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  86. Pick the Wildwood Flowerhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  87. Jacksonhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  88. If I Were a Carpenterhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  89. Girl from the North Countryhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  90. One More Ridehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  91. You Can't Beat Jesus Christ [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  92. There Ain't No Good Chain Ganghttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  93. We Oughta Be Ashamedhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  94. Crazy Old Soldierhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  95. Silver Haired Daddy of Minehttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  96. Who's Gone Autry?https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  97. The Night Hank Williams Came to Townhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  98. I Walk the Line (Revisited)https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  99. Highwaymanhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  100. The Wandererhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  101. September When It Comeshttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  102. Tears in the Holston Riverhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  103. Far Side Banks of Jordanhttps://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  104. It Takes One to Know Me [#]https://itunes.apple.com/album/the-legend/id404359457?uo=5&at=11l9vR
purchase full album