Johnny Cash – American Recordings (I-V)


Everyone loves a comeback.  After being dropped by Columbia (morons) and a short stint on Mercury that lasted till 1991, Nashville and the recording industry were ready to write off the man in black.  And they might have been right too, if not for the appearance of Rick Rubin who helped Cash produce American Recordings in Cash’s living-room backed by nothing more than his acoustic guitar.  Released in 1994 the result, an album full of songs Johnny had always wanted to record (Bird on a Wire) and a few covers of contemporary artists chosen by Rubin. went on to win the Grammy that year for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

But Cash wasn’t through,  in 1996 he teamed up with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to record American Recordings II: Unchained, which won him the Grammy for Best Country Album.  Then the bottom fell out.


In 1997 Cash was diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy associated with his diabetes.  But you can’t stop the Man in Black, who drove on to record AR III: Solitary Man(2000) and AR IV: The Man Comes Around(2002.)  Both albums are darker than the first two…a response to his worsening health, but both are as good as if not better than the others…especially The Man comes Around, which knocked my socks off when I first heard it.

In May 2003, June Carter Cash passed away, telling Johnny to keep working…which he did for four months before he succumbed to his disease.  American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways, his final collaboration with Rubin was released in 2006 and is an excellent bookend to one of the greatest careers in music history.

Do yourself a favor.  Buy them all.


1 Response to “Johnny Cash – American Recordings (I-V)”

  1. March 27, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

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