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  • The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983
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The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 Box set, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, June 23, 1998
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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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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 23, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000007QCM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,405 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Hey Porter
2. Cry, Cry, Cry
3. Folsom Prison Blues
4. Luther Played The Boogie
5. Get Rhythm
6. I Walk The Line
See all 29 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Don't Take Your Guns To Town
2. The Ballad Of Boot Hill
3. The Rebel-Johnny Yuma
4. The Big Battle
5. When The Roses Bloom Again
6. The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Folsom Prison Blues (Live)
2. Cocaine Blues (Live)
3. San Quentin #2 (Live)
4. A Boy Named Sue (Live)
5. Wanted Man
6. Singin' In Vietnam Talkin' Blues
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lightly used. 3 disc set. Original manual inside.

The art of Johnny Cash is as traditional and innovative, as expansive, as the 20th century itself--so much so that The Man in Black now stands as an honest-to-God American icon, a living link to the Carter Family and the very origins of modern country music some 70 years ago. His own repertoire has touched upon just about every significant development in the field ever since, and this three-CD, 75-song box set gives an impressive overview of just about all of it: the rockabilly-boogie singles for Sun in the 1950s; his straight-country smashes from the '60s and '70s; the Americana sagas he recorded during the folk revival; the pro-Indian and antiwar protest songs; the legendary live prison sets; and so much more--all of it a compelling testament to the art of simple storytelling and to the expressive power of a unique human voice. While more is far better in this case, the single-CD Sun Years captures the best early Cash available. So while calling this The Essential Johnny Cash is certainly accurate, it's also a huge understatement. Call it, instead, an essential document of 20th-century America. --David Cantwell

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 58 customer reviews
Indeed, this is the heart of any Johnny Cash collection, required for fans of country, folk, or rock music and students of Americana.
Anthony G Pizza
This box set has a lot of great songs, but that's more because Cash is a phenomenal artist than that this makes the best case for his work.
Greg Brady
If you only want his famous songs (and you want all the obvious ones), you may find one of the single or double CD's will suit you better.
Peter Durward Harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Tome Raider VINE VOICE on October 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've known a few Johnny Cash songs throughout the years but I've not been familiar with his entire body of work. I found my way to this box set in a circuitous fashion: It started last year with a Junior Brown concert in West Sacramento. That was my first "country/western" music experience and it blew me away. From Junior I somehow took a step over to Hank Williams. At that point I developed a serious interest in this "type" of music. I've since discovered: Buck Owens, Ernest Tubbs, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, and several others that have become immediate favorites. I figured I better pick up some Johnny Cash and learn about his body of work. I decided to go for this set.
Suffice it to say that I listened to this about an hour a day, as I only have one good hour in the evening to listen to music without interuption. It took me about four days to finish all three CD's. I listened to several songs twice to confirm my initial impression. My initial impression grew song by song into my ultimate impression.
Ultimate Impression: This is just simply superb music. I'm amazed at the extremely high quality of virtually every song. The songs have a similar authentic feel to them, but they are still quite diverse in sentiment and subject matter. This is emotionally rich music, epic in scope, non-religious but virtually evangelical in words of wisdom and experience. This is self-improvement music; you become a better person by absorbing the insights poignantly presented. Life-prisoners and Billy Grahams seem to fuse into one common human venture and manifest both their conflicting and common sentiments in an at-peace-with-one's-self musical odyssey. But don't let me imply that Cash's music takes itself seriously or that there is some preachy undertone.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Greg Brady on June 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In my view, a box set should be an overall look at an artist's career that encompasses the cream of their "hit" material plus the best album sides and a little bit of material that examines the breadth of their experimentalism. This box set has a lot of great songs, but that's more because Cash is a phenomenal artist than that this makes the best case for his work.

First off, this set is at least a disc short...period. Cash hit the Top 40 country charts 104 times between 1955-1988. This set wasn't released until 1992 so there's no reason they couldn't have included material from all the way across this span. We'll be charitable though...after all many of those are songs that might not be remembered by the Cash we'll cut that number back to top 20 songs only. That leaves 49 Top 20 hits of which 21 are missing.

The most egregious omissions are the #1 "Highwayman" (with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings) and several hit duets with June Carter Cash ("It Ain't Me Babe","Long-legged Guitar Pickin' Man","If I Were a Carpenter") and Waylon Jennings (#2 1978 hit "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang"). Any song that hit the Top 10 is likely to be remembered by any big fan of an artist and should have made this box.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By MilesAndTrane on December 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
It's sad how many fans have been - and will be - cheated the glory of Johnny Cash, simply because they immediately think "country" and turn a deaf ear. This is not country music! If you're at all attracted to the songwriting prowess of (Cash disciples) like Dylan, Springsteen, Petty or Mellencamp, or the dark imagery of the Doors or the Stones, this you must check out. Cash's rhythms & styles may sound country, but his spirit is all Rock N' Roll.
The first disc is composed mostly of his Sun Studio rockabilly tunes, which is as close to actual Rock N' Roll as he stepped (he wrote "Get Rhythm" for Elvis, who never recorded it). The second disc draws its strength mostly on gospel and traditional country ballads; sad, somber, sober, and melancholy. It has an overall folk feel to it. The third disc is more eclectic and gives evidence towards Cash's experimental tendencies of the 70's; it really features a little bit of everything, including some choice cuts from his two "prison" live albums.
One VERY important element to consider is Cash's homestate of Arkansas. The people & places documented in his songs are really rooted in Midwestern folklore, not Southern culture (Cash is also the first artist to defiantly speak out about the plight of the American Indians). The influence of blues & folk music on Cash are much more evident than that of other artists who are considered "country". Cash's connection to Springsteen, Dylan and the Stones are all confirmed here with convincing covers of their songs. Believe me, this is essential work for some of you non-believers - because I hate country music, but I love the Man In Black.
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what version of Boy Named Sue?
Nov 19, 2013 by jjm905 |  See all 2 posts
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