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American III: Solitary Man


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Vinyl, March 3, 2014
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Audio, Cassette, November 17, 2000
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Biography

Beginning his career as an outlaw to the Nashville establishment, Johnny Cash has come to define country music over the last 40 years. At first, his unique mix of hillbilly music with gospel and blues made him a perfect fit at Sam Phillips' Sun records, where he recorded such classics as "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk The Line." From there, Johnny signed with ... Read more in Amazon's Johnny Cash Store

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Frequently Bought Together

American III: Solitary Man + American IV: The Man Comes Around + American V:  A Hundred Highways
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (March 3, 2014)
  • Original Release Date: 2014
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American
  • ASIN: B00FCAK3GE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Limited vinyl LP pressing of this 2000 album from the Country legend. American III: Solitary Man was the third album in the American series and his 85th overall album. The album was notable for being Cash's highest charting (#11 Country) solo studio LP since his 1976 One Piece at a Time, an album that reached #2 Country based on the title cut. To the present day, Cash's studio albums for the American series have continued to sell extremely well.

Customer Reviews

Thats only one song but somehow its so good it makes the whole album worth it.
David J. Finn
The fact that Johnny Cash is still making great music is a marvel, and I hope everyone that reads this gets to hear this terrific album.
Ron Frankl
The spare arrangements work perfectly with his unique voice and the guitar work is a thing of simple beauty.
Bookish Mama

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stein VINE VOICE on October 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There's something irresistable about an old, wise rebel singing songs of despair and melancholy. Johnny Cash has carved out this niche for over 45 years. He's walked the line and gone down in a burning ring of fire. He's surpassed illness and critics. "American III: Solitary Man" follows "American Recordings" (1994) and "Unchained" (1996) as Cash's third cd produced by Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys et al.) Cash shines on remakes like Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man", U2's "One", Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat". When Cash is dark, he's very dark like the lyrics in "I See A Darkness". He can turn on a dime and produce sad, painful comedy like "Nobody" and "Country Trash". He never loses the heart and soul of country/folk playing and singing. At 68, Cash is the oldest, coolest artist in my collection, and I look forward to each of his recordings because it seems like he always has some new way of seeing life and relationships. Some artists have nothing to say or make a few cds and then have nothing to say, but Johnny Cash continues to show the wisdom of age and experience and its value in our lives. I don't like country music much, but I sure do dig Johnny Cash. "American III: Solitary Man" stands on its own.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By S. D Temple on November 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I never liked Johnny Cash, and I've been a music fan for most of my 55+ years. Then, a year ago, I was in a used record shop in Norwich, England, when I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. "Who the hell is that?" I asked the kid behind the counter. "It's Johnny Cash," he said. And so it was, Johnny Cash singing "Spiritual", from one of the American records. I was stunned and overwhelmed by the lean beauty of that song, and the courage of the man singing it. Since that trip, I've bought all the American albums. This one, though, is simply my favorite. Cash's cover of Neil Diamond's Solitary Man is brilliant. And "The Mercy Seat" is just overwhelming in its emotional intensity and its deep ring of the truth. Was I ever wrong for all those years about The Man in Black. This music, spare, lean, intense, haunted, and brave, is unlike any American music I have ever heard. It comes closest to the raw intensity of the best of the blues. But it's all Johnny Cash, the one and only. Hear it, weep, and rejoice. This is a consummate artist at the peak of his career, even at its end.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ron Frankl on October 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Faced with his own mortality, Johnny Cash is still rediscovering his artistry. "American III: Solitary Man" is his third solid release in the last six years. Working in collaboration with Rick Rubin, Cash has produced another thoughful and moving album. Johnny contributes for songs, while covering the likes of Tom Petty, David Alan Coe, U2, Nick Cave, Bert Williams, Will Oldham (!) and Neil Diamond (don't laugh, its a great song).
Cash and Rubin once again take chances, and the result is wonderful. If Cash's vocals are a little rougher than last time out (1996's "Unchained") it just adds to the emotional wallop of the music. This man has made such great music for so many years. I've been listening to Johnny Cash for almost all my life and, even during the long period in which he was phoning it in in the recording studio, Cash was more interesting than almost any other musician. The fact that Johnny Cash is still making great music is a marvel, and I hope everyone that reads this gets to hear this terrific album.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kelly L. Norman VINE VOICE on June 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I caught on late to the "American" series collaboration between Cash & producer Rick Rubin, and purchased this after I bought American IV. That disk remains my favorite, but on American III, once again, Johnny Cash hits a home run. The most enjoyable aspect of this series has to be Cash's broad attempt to include music from all American eras, including alternative rock and public-domain folk.
When Cash covers modern artists he brings out a different patina within the song, one with hues of struggle and faith. I will never hear "One" by U2 with as much pleasure again, because I will simply pine for this version with Cash's confident vocal and Benmont Tench's bass notes on piano (sorry Bono). Cash mentions in the liner notes that he worked on "Solitary Man", "I Won't Back Down" and "The Mercy Seat" "until it felt like they were my own". This effort certainly paid off on the latter two, although I personally would categorize "Solitary Man" as the least successful cover. (Special treat for Tom Petty fans: He sings backup for both "I Won't Back Down" and "Solitary Man").
"The Mercy Seat", which sounds like it would be the outlier, actually proves a good fit. After all, it is a prison song...with a lot of religious imagery, stuff Cash is right at home with. The protagonist's paranoia isn't as evident in the presentation as in the simple tale of a man so long on death row he is not sure who is friend or foe, even himself.
Cash brings a great sense of humor to the self-deprecating vaudeville number "Nobody" and "Lucky Old Sun", and sounds like he could have just stepped out of a cabin in Cade's Cove in the 19th century as he sings "Wayfaring Stranger." He also adds some great originals: "Field of Diamonds", "I'm Leavin' Now", and my personal favorite, "Country Trash.
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