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Overlooked album from John the Giant...
on September 14, 2003
Writing this a day after Johnny's death, which, while expected, still leaves a hole. I was a fan for 46 years of his 48-year recording career. This CD was originally a Mercury release in 1988, and while I think his work for that label to be the weakest of his long career, this disc is really nice. His remake of his early Sun Records' hit, "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" sounds almost as good as the original from 30 years before. While the song content is hokey and dated, if you liked it when it was new, you'll still fall for it now. I also love the way Johnny and June handle "Where Did We Go Right?" which I had only heard done before by the wonderful Lacy J. Dalton. This version is fine as well. "That Old Wheel" is an infectious sing-along kind of song. "Sweeter Than the Flowers" features Waylon Jennings, so how could it be bad? "A Croft in Clachan" has Glen Campbell along for the Scottish folk-flavored ride. "New Moon Over Jamaica" is a tribute to Johnny's second home on the island, and "Water From the Wells of Home" concludes the CD in fine style. This release, to me, proved that Johnny still had the goods even nearing age 60, and of course his signing with Rick Rubin a couple of years later confirmed that view. Mr. Cash had his share of personal demons, but his singing chased a lot of my own away, from age 11 to the present, as I stare 59 in the face. If you are reading this, you must be a fan, and must not own this one yet. I say, buy it. You won't be sorry.