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The Essential Johnny Cash

February 12, 2002

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:45:29
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00136LURC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

It showed his versatility in style while maintaining his unique distinction.
gcm619
This is a great 2-CD set if you are a Johnny Cash fan and want as many hits as you can get without buying the box set!
D. M. Flak
This is the only Johnny Cash CD I own and I'm really glad I finally purchased it.
Lim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

268 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This double-CD version of "The Essential Johnny Cash," not to be confused with a three-CD set with the same title that came out a decade earlier, was issued to commemorate Cash's 70th birthday. Consequently, it has ended up serving as a fitting tribute album to remember the Man in Black who died this month. It provides a more than adequate look at his career from 1955-1993, which, unfortunately, does mean it stops before his brilliant 1994 recording "American Recordings." However, this is a minor point because that is an essential Johnny Cash album in its own right, along with the Sixties albums "At Folsom Prison" and "At San Quentin." However, for someone who discovers that they do not have a Johnny Cash album in their music library, this is certainly a good place to start.
This version of "The Essential Johnny Cash" focuses on the early years, with the vast majority of tracks coming from the 1950s and 1960s. Actually, there is only one track after 1986, which would be "The Wanderer," recorded with U2 in 1993. However, it is hard to argue with covering the first two major peaks in Cash's career like this and to leave the single album assessment of the final renaissance he enjoyed in recent years, exemplified by his cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Hurt," for down the road. The main thing is that you get his signature tunes, "I Walk the Line," Man in Black," and the live version of "A Boy Named Sue" that officially marked his crossover from country to the popular consciousness of American music, as well as his celebrated covers of "If I Were a Carpenter" and his duets with his wife, June Carter Cash, such as "Jackson.
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118 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Jim Bagley on September 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Johnny Cash was an American music icon known to the world as the "Man in Black." His booming deep bass voice is surely one of the most recognizable in country music history. While his vocal range was fairly limited, it was incredibly effective at conveying the plight of the common man. As befits a legend, there are several Cash collections available. This double disc is my favorite because it captures nearly all of the highlights of Cash's recording career between 1955 and 1993 (since then he put out four excellent albums on American Records as well).
This chronological collection begins with eights hits from his tenure at Sun Records (1955-1958). Each of these great recordings, such as his double-sided hit debut "Cry, Cry, Cry"/"Hey Porter," "I Guess Things Happen That Way," "I Walk The Line," and his biggest chart hit "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" (ten weeks at number one!) features a "boom-chicka-boom" rhythm and sparse instrumental backing by Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant (also known as the Tennessee Two). If you are looking for more music from this period, I suggest Varese's double-disc, forty track Complete Sun Singles.
Cash left Sun in late 1958 and signed with Columbia in hopes of occasionally recording his first love, gospel music, which Sun owner Sam Phillips would not allow. Cash's productive Columbia tenure (which ended in 1986) makes up 26 of the remaining 28 recordings.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This collection was released in conjunction with Cash's 70th birthday, and the CD booklet is filled with testaments to the Man in Black from the likes of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to Paul McCartney, Bono, Chrissie Hynde, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies and Kirk Hammett. Anyone who can be an influence on such diverse artists as these has been doing something right since first stepping into Sam Phillips' Sun Studios in 1955.
The set leans awfull heavy on Cash's Fifties and Sixties material. Tracks 1-8 are from his tenure at Sun. The rest of disc one and the first seven tracks of disc two take us through the end of the Sixties. The only track from the past fifteen years is "The Wanderer," taken from U2's 1993 Zooropa album. What's missing is any of Cash's Nineties work with Rick Rubin.
But if you're looking for an inexpensive overview (with an emphasis on the hits) of one of country music's most influential artists, you can't go wrong here. (I would have given this five stars, but disc one is only 46 minutes and disc 2 is only 59 minutes.) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on March 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Though there have been several anthologies summarizing the better known material from Cash's nearly fifty-year recording career, the bulk of his work has been unavailable on domestic CD. Columbia's year-long reissue program, celebrating Cash's seventieth birthday, kicks off with this double-disc, thirty-six track overview that abbreviates 1992's seventy-five song, triple-disc box, "The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983," and adds a few choice alternate selections.
Like its big-brother, the new set spans Cash's late '50s recordings for Sun and his '60s-70s work for Columbia, and also adds a few tracks from his time at Mercury. Alternate picks from the box set include duets with Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, and June Carter Cash, the mid-60s novelty, "The One on the Right is on the Left," a pair of patriotic tunes ("Ragged Old Flag" and "Song of the Patriot"), and a 1993 collaboration with U2. Missing (and certainly more essential than the U2 cut) are tracks from Cash's late-90s work with producer Rick Ruben.
What's here is certainly essential, and its scope fills a niche between single-disc greatest hits and the more expansive 1992 box. It trods compilation ground that's been well mapped on earlier releases, yet serves nicely as both a value-priced entry to Cash's work, and a primer to the on-going reissue campaign.
4-1/2 stars, if Amazon allowed fractional ratings.
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