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American II: Unchained

March 5, 2002 | Format: MP3

Song Title
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 5, 2002
  • Release Date: March 5, 2002
  • Label: American Recordings
  • Copyright: (C) 1996 American Recordings, LLC
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 43:27
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0092MHDVG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,545 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Nashville is cruel to its veteran performers, but they have found a way to fight back. When Johnny's career as a recording artist seemed finished, he found a new producer, Rick Rubin, and together they have gone from strength to strength. They recorded four albums together and the last one, recorded only a few months before his death, became Johnny's first gold album in 23 years. The recipe for success is simple - go right back to Johnny's roots in the fifties, when his sound was simple and uncluttered, and don't worry about the radio stations that are obsessed with listeners in their twenties and thirties. If the music strikes the right chord, those people will buy it anyway.

This was the second album Johnny and Rick recorded together and it contains many of the elements you expect from them. Tom Petty and his band provided the musical backing - and they certainly did a good job.

There are some stunning covers including Sea of heartbreak (Don Gibson), Rusty cage (Soundgarden), Memories are made of this (Dean Martin), Southern accents (Tom Petty) and I've been everywhere (Hank Snow). Actually, most of the songs are covers and they are all excellent.

There is a new version of Mean eyed cat, a song Johnny wrote and recorded in the fifties. In the liner notes, Johnny says that the original version was unfinished, but was released anyway, so he finally completed the song more than forty years later. Johnny also wrote Country boy and Meet me in heaven.

Johnny has a long and varied recording career behind him, but this is one album that appeals to both country fans and rock fans. It has that indefinable something that cuts across musical preconceptions. Regardless of your own musical preferences, forget your preconceptions about country music and enjoy this excellent album.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ken Fontenot VINE VOICE on April 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Unchained" is one of the best albums I've ever heard, and I personally own well over three hundred albums and listened to countless others. My private collection includes music from many genres, from gospel to gangsta rap to hair metal, yet few of them match the quality of music and the amount of emotion contained on "Unchained" and all of Cash's other recordings for the American label.

I don't want to come across as an eager fan of Cash, because other than his "Highwayman" collaboration with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings, I've never listened to a lot of his music or owned any of his albums. I always knew he was the man in black, but now I know why. His voice isn't the greatest, but it captures pain, pleasure, power, and weakness perfectly. He sounds like a man that's been through hell and back, and wouldn't mind another trip through if given the chance.

Just look at the lineup of artists who back him up here: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Marty Stuart, Flea, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsay Buckingham. He covers some great songs like "Southern Accents" and "I've Been Everywhere," then pumps out the Soundgarden tune, "Rusty Cage." All of this is packed neatly with some of Cash's own tunes. Somehow it all fits together and NONE of it sounds as if Cash sold out. He makes everything on this album his own.

Personal favorites include "Southern Accents," "Spiritual," and "I Never Picked Cotton." "Mean Eyed Cat" is another great tune.

Forget about all of the labels of "Country," "Rockabilly," and "Rebel" that have been slapped on Mr. Cash throughout the years. This music is Johnny Cash, no more, no less.

Highly recommended.
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful By S. McDuffie on November 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Before the marginally talented Garth Brooks became a boy wonder who could do no wrong, Johnny Cash ruled (his early 70s variety show was a top ten television hit). Fortunately or unfortunately, Cash doesn't look good in a tight pair of jeans, which is why he hasn't been on the radio ever since they dropped the "and Western" from Country and Country artists started writing pop songs and began hiring guitar players from washed up 80s metal acts. As a result, Cash has become an ironic alternative icon. Well, thank god for tight jeans and multinational, multibillion dollar music peddlers.
This man is brilliant. This record is brilliant. No other country and western artist of his generation would have gone to see Black Sabbath (with the original lineup) and later describe it as "the most amazing concert" he had ever been to. Remember that Cash was covering Bob Dylan songs back when The Byrds were being panned by the critics and booed out of Nashville for their (rather bold) ventures into Country and Western.
He does like soft and pretty folk ballads (e.g. The One Rose and Memories are Made of This) and they are (although good) not the bright spots on this album. Don't get me wrong: these songs are very good, but they disrupt the listening experience as they seem to have been wedged in between some of the truly great tracks on this CD.
"Spiritual" (even with it's cliche, Lynyrd Skynyrd chord progression), "Mean Eyed Cat", "I've Been Everywhere", "I Never Picked Cotton", "Rowboat" and of course, "Rusty Cage" are the bright spots and "Southern Accents" might be the greatest... er... "Country and Western" song ever written.
These seven songs are worth the price of the CD even though the worst song on this album is very good and the rest are great.
Can we maybe get Steve Albini to remix it?
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