LOVE - Johnny Cash
TRACK LISTING: I Walk the Line, Oh What A Dream, All Over Again, A Little At A Time, My Old Faded Rose, Happiness Is You, Flesh and Blood, I Tremble For You, I Feel Better All Over, 'Cause I Love You, Ballad of Barbara, Ring of Fire, My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You, While I've Got It On My Mind, I Still Miss Someone, The One Rose (That's Left In My Heart)
IMPRESSIONS: This is the very first Johnny Cash album I ever got because frankly I had never given Johnny Cash a second thought. I did not listen to the Rick Rubin-produced "AMERICAN RECORDINGS" series in the 1990s nor had I ever listened to "LIVE AT FOLSOM PRISON" or any other Cash record in my life. Cash to me was the guy who sang "A Boy Named Sue" or else "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (a song beloved by my old friend Ed Jacoby which I actually liked a lot). However, I was never into country music and Cash simply didn't exist to me. I owe my current appreciation (and it is substantial now) of Johnny Cash to my ex: Shit For Brains -- and it is one of the very few things I am indebted to her for. She was a huge fan owing to her late father's love of Cash's music so, in 2000 I thought I'd check out what I was missing and bought the newly-released "themed" cds compiled by the "Man In Black" himself: "LOVE", "GOD" and "MURDER". For those that know me, it may come as something of a surprise that my favourite of the three is "LOVE"; everyone I know would automatically think "MURDER" (a collection of dark murder ballads) would've been my fave but not a collection of "sappy love songs". But "LOVE" is the album I played more than the other two for some reason and the songs are anything but "sappy"; Cash couldn't be sappy if he tried. These songs, personally handpicked by Cash himself, were recorded between 1956 and 1996 and were mostly written for and about his wife June Carter Cash. Miles from sappy, these songs are typically honest, clear-eyed Johnny Cash from his genuine, matter-of-fact statements of love ("'Cause I Love You") to the sometimes silliness between lovers ("My Old Faded Rose") to the agony of separation ("I Still Miss Someone") to the frankly randy ("Ring of Fire" and "While I've Got It On My Mind"). Above all, the genuineness of emotion conveyed in the songs is what hooked me in. "For the last 35 years", June writes in the liner notes, "I have been able to look into those black steel eyes (of Johnny's) and feel his love, and realize that he always cared." Or in the man's own words: "What has happened to our love language? We have brought it down to three-minute sound bites -- sandwiches in cute words that rhyme. And its a shame that those love songs are played everywhere with no follow-up kisses to seal the words." There is nothing "cute" or "surface" about Cash's love songs on this cd; even the light-hearted ones go deep beneath the surface to illustrate how grown-ups love and are loved. The songs are direct in their subject matter. To let the man himself sum it up: "I remember when I fell into June's 'Ring of Fire'. There was a lot of showing it as well as saying it. Never has there been a deeper love than my love for her. At times, it was painful, but we shared the pain, so it was just half painful. Now, even though it mellowed out, the flame of our love still burns. And it burns, burns, burns."
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: I Walk the Line, Oh What A Dream, All Over Again, A Little At A Time, My Old Faded Rose, Happiness Is You, Flesh and Blood, 'Cause I Love You, Ballad of Barbara, Ring of Fire, My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You, While I've Got It On My Mind, I Still Miss Someone
FACT SHEET: "LOVE" is a concept album compilation of songs handpicked by Johnny Cash on the subject. Also released at the same time in 2000 were two more collections called "GOD" and "MURDER". Shortly after their separate release (and healthy sales figures), the three albums were combined in a box set slipcase but the cds were originally released separately. The songs were recorded between 1956 and 1996 covering Cash's entire career up to that time. Along with more well-known tracks, Cash included lesser-known album cuts as well as previously unreleased songs "My Old Faded Rose" (1964) and "I Tremble For You" (1967).