This 1965 classic is an eclectic assemblage of songs and styles: three Bob Dylan tunes ( It Ain't Me, Babe; Don't Think Twice, It's Alright , and Mama, You've Been on My Mind ), two by A.P. Carter of the Carter Family ( Wildwood Flower and Engine 143 ) plus Long Black Veil; The Wall ; the title song, and three tracks released in the U.S. for the first time!
Perhaps this should have been titled The Freewheelin' Johnny Cash
in homage to the watershed Bob Dylan album
. Though conservative country music and liberal folk shared little audience base at the time, Cash crossed that bridge by covering three Dylan tunes on this 1965 classic (reissued here with three previously unreleased tracks). Cash sounds loose and frisky throughout, as he romps from the harmonica-driven title song through the traditional country of "Long Black Veil," the Irish standard "Danny Boy," and the rousing spiritual "Amen." The stripped-down arrangements give the material plenty of room to breathe, with only the female backing chorus sounding dated. Dylan
subsequently crossed this musical bridge from the other side, inviting Cash to duet with him on the country-tinged Nashville Skyline
. --Don McLeese