on November 27, 2003
Blood, Sweat & Tears is a righteous album. This album goes beyond a concept: it's a statement. "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer," at 8:24 in duration (three times as long as any other song on the album), is both a tribute to the working man and a protest against the working man's troubles. This may be one of Cash's more important albums, and perhaps one of the more important albums of our time.
on July 7, 2005
This 1963 album by Johnny Cash features songs about "the working man". The single from the album was "Busted", which was a #13 Country hit (Ray Charles later covered it and had a pop hit with it). The other song that everyone remembers is the epic "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer". Both of those songs are great, and so is everything else on the album. Johnny really had an affinity for these kind of songs, and it really shows here. Highly recommended to Johnny Cash fans.
on October 17, 2005
I can't get enough of Johnny Cash's themed albums, and this one is no different. I got it mainly for "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer," an eight-and-a-half minute...story. It's complete with sound effects, crowd noises, and different viewpoints, and tells the tale in a thoroughly unique way. And "Busted" is a very funny song. Most of the others are also about working, quitting work, not wanting to work, having a hard time at work, etc. (Hence the title of "Blood Sweat & Tears")
With 9 tracks, it's not a very long CD, but is definitely worth owning. The songs are all worthy, and he sings them in his own style, doing some very interesting things vocally. It's a great companion to go along with any other Cash Cds you might have. If for nothing else, get it for the picture on the cover. Ha.
on May 5, 2005
Cash here is recording folk music, mostly tributes to larger than life figures or the troubles of everyday blue-collar workers. This is TRUE populism, not the socialism that masquerades as the voice of the working man these days. Country music got its reputation as "music of the common man" from albums like this.
Choosing a few pearls from a strand like this is hard but the epic "Legend of John Henry's Hammer" is easily one of them. The familiar tale of the giant railroad worker fighting technology with the advent of the automatic steam drill that's equal parts document of the story, drama (with the shouts of "Go John Henry!" from the Carter Family, and spit-in-your-eye defiance (as Johnny sings "I'll die with my hammer in my hand..but I'll be LAUGHIN'"). The lot of the working poor is viewed with humour in a version of Harlan Howard's "Busted". The doomed "Casey Jones" does well in a lively take. "Chain Gang" views the life of a prisoner before the reforms of the modern day ("I dig that ditch/I chop that corn/I curse the day that I was born/I believe that it's better for a man to hang than to work like a dog on a chain gang") "Roughneck" tells the tale of a man who "learned to cuss when he was 2/and fight when I was 3/By the time I was 5 there was no kid alive that could get the best of me". It's a lighter song that helps take the edge off the doom and gloom of much of the songs before it.
The song itself is great...but the sound on the acappella Johnny and Anita Carter duet "Another Man Done Gone" is TERRIBLE. Acres and acres of hiss...
While I'm somewhat disappointed with the CD transfer, the music herein is absolutely essential for every Cash fan and every country music fan. Until we can get a better mastering job for this title, this will have to do. My only other quibble is value for the dollar...when albums are as short as this, it could easily have been combined with another similarly themed Cash album as a "2 for 1" disc..."Songs of Our Soil" or "Ride this Train" would have matched up nicely.
(Docked a star for sound quality)
on August 9, 2014
Johnny Cash -Blood Sweat and Tears.
Cash was making concept albums long before metal and prog bands started
doing it. Cash was kicking ass and doing things right.
Blood Sweat and Tears deals with the legend of John Henry and about his
trusty old hammer which clocks in at 8:26, the longest track on the album. Tell
Him I am Gone is a really cool rocking number and Luther Perkins guitar playing is
Superb. Rounding out side one, is Another Man Done Gone which the backing
vocals are supplied by June Carter Cash.
The song Busted is represented here as well. Overall, the album deals with
the working man and about his everyday daily life. A perfect concept.