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Bootleg, Volume 2: From Memphis To Hollywood CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Today Johnny Cash s stature as an icon of American music is commanding and significant. When it comes to singers of any genre country, Western or rockabilly; blues, folk or gospel few have achieved the height of The Man in Black. Despite his death in 2003, Cash continues to grow in influence,casting a shadow that reaches far beyond the country circle from whence he grew.

To know the tree, one must begin at the root and take in all the branches; to fully grasp Cash s old-growth legend, one must hear his earliest performances, as well as unreleased or under-promoted recordings that somehow remained out of earshot of an adoring (and still-expanding)public.

Such is the mission of the Johnny Cash Bootlegs, a series of multiple-disc packages being released in 2011 and coming years, brimming with historical importance but also delivering thoroughly enjoyable listening experiences, each programmed to stand as a captivating doorway into Cash s popular legacy as effectively as any greatest hits compilation.

Featuring previously unreleased and incredibly hard-to-find singles, demos and other rarities recorded from 1955 through the late 60s, Bootleg, Volume 2: From Memphis To Hollywood chronicles his exciting rise from local sensation to an artist of national importance, his songs reaching millions through best-selling albums and hit movies. The 57-track collection is a boon for collectors with 16 never issued recordings, plus 11 singles and 11 outtakes released digitally for the first time in the U.S. But BOOTLEG II also resonates with mainstream appeal, telling a captivating story that captures pivotal moments in Cash s far-ranging career, while reflecting the trends and transitions of those years.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: February 22, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • ASIN: B004GHBQOM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,168 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Any fan of Johnny Cash's music who wishes to go deeper than the standard greatest hits packages should not hesitate to buy this set.

CD 1 focuses largely on Johnny's career at Sun Records from 1954-1958. The CD opens with a radio show from 1955 that was sponsored by John's employer, the Home Equipment Company. (He hadn't given up his day job yet...)

The next group of recordings will be of greatest interest to Cash completists. A group of demo recordings from the Sun era for such classics as "I Walk The Line" and "Get Rhythm" show that the songs were pretty well complete prior to the recording session.

The demo of "I Walk The Line" is especially noteworthy as it may put to rest rumors that Johnny originally envisioned the song at a much slower tempo and recorded it that way until Sam Phillips encouraged a take at a faster tempo that became the classic that was finally released. This demo, along with the alternate take on "The Outtakes", shows a fairly consistent approach to the song.

Other demos, most notably "Rock and Roll Ruby" and "You're My Baby" are songs written by Cash and recorded by Warren Smith and Roy Orbison, respectively. Johnny seems a little ill at ease singing both songs.

The next section features "Sun Rarities." For fans of Sun and Johnny Cash who have heard the Bear Family "Man In Black" collections, these have been previously released and may not be so rare. Of special note are the alternate of "Big River", which contains an extra verse not on the original single, and a brief, incomplete attempt at Jimmie Rodgers' "Brakeman's Blues" which leaves the listener wanting more.

The final selections on CD 1 are "Restless Kid", which was recorded by Rick Nelson for "Rio Bravo".
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Format: Audio CD
Five years ago the archive of recordings left behind at the House of Cash was cracked open for the two-disc Personal File, which itself has been reissued as Bootleg Volume 1: Personal File in parallel with this second two-disc helping. Where the previous volume focused on Cash's mid-70s home recordings, volume two reaches back further to explore Cash's 1950s beginnings in Memphis and his transition to country superstardom in the 1960s. Along the way the set collects live performances, continuity and commercial pitches (for his employer Home Equipment Company) from Cash's first radio appearance, on KWEM in 1955, mid-50s Sun demos and rarities, and a deep cache of 1960s studio recordings. Eleven of these tracks have never been officially released in the U.S., and fifteen, including eleven Sun-era demos, have never been officially released anywhere.

As on the earlier volume, Cash lays down his demos without the fire of master takes, but even when just feeling out his songs or recording them as a record of copyright, his authority and magnetism as a performer shines through. The mid-50s demos are sung to an acoustic guitar, lending them the intimate and unguarded feel of Cash singing more for himself than an imagined audience. Alongside early demos of Cash classics ("I Walk the Line," "Get Rhythm," "Belshazzar") are the rare, proto-rockabilly "You're My Baby" and the wonderfully primitive "Rock and Roll Ruby." Seven Sun outtakes capture Cash's classic tic-tac rhythm, as well as false starts and a rough guitar solo that finds the group seeking the groove of "Big River.
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Format: MP3 Music
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Johnny Cash
"Bootleg, Volume Two: From Memphis To Hollywood"
(Sony Legacy, 2011)
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In this stunning archival 2-CD release we hear a young, vulnerable, hungry Johnny Cash, a man poised on the precipice of fame, plugging away on regional radio in Memphis, singing country oldies and reading advertisements for an aluminum siding company... We also hear a number of outtakes and the original acoustic demos for several of his best-known early songs ("I Walk The Line," "Get Rhythm," "Country Boy") as well as others that were farmed out to Sun Records stars such as Roy Orbison and Warren Smith... The May, 1955 radio program, recorded the same month that Cash recorded his very first single, is a real stunner: the host introduces Cash almost offhandedly and reserves his real enthusiasm for an announcement of a western movie playing at a downtown theater... Cash was a nobody when these recordings were made, and you can hear the nervousness and unsteadiness in his voice; he fumbles while reading the ad copy and falters when introducing his songs: it's a far cry from the gravitas and cool confidence of his later years, but you can still hear the fire and power in his voice. The demos are also revelatory -- the best-known songs sound spooky and surreal, pregnant with the unreal possibility that this musician might not actually make it in the music business. Likewise with the outtakes and rarities that follow: it's a real treat to hear the man before the myth had solidified, and to see that he had feet of clay, just like the rest of us.
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