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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Ride This Train
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$4.99+ Free shipping (Addon item)

on January 2, 2012
Ride This Train reflects a new feeling of freedom and exploration in America's culture. Interstate highways were being built and cars mass produced, making it easier for travelers to discover America's treasures. The memories of World War II belonged to a generation past, and although America was entering a time of high pressure Cold War, without the media presence that we have today to keep people on alert and fearful for their safety, many people were still living simple lives, dreaming of the day they could take their families to travel around the nation. This album allowed them to do just that without leaving their homes.

When Columbia Records first released this recording, the public assumed it was a compilation of songs about trains, due to the title and the cover showing Johhny Cash on a desert ridge holding a gun, with a train in the background. What they soon discovered was that the record contained eight tracks that gave examples of the different people that make up our great land. It uses the train as transport--complete with sound effects--to take the listener on a tour of America, through space and time, a historical travelogue combining narrations and songs.

The first track, "Loading Coal", tells the story of a boy whose father is a miner in Kentucky. Not a glamorous occupation by any means, but the boy is dreaming of the day when he can follow in his father's footsteps. The train then moves westward where we hear about John Wesley Hardin, a notorious outlaw, followed by the glimpse of the life of an old saddle tramp, "Slow Rider".

The traveling theme continues, with narration between the songs, as the music takes the listener to Oregon, timber country, where the song "Lumberjack" tells of the first day of climbing for a new high-climber. Crossing back to Louisiana, Johnny sings "Dorraine of Pontchartrain", a sad song about a woman who lost her life on the waters there.

Now the music is "Going to Memphis", which is a song not about the music life as you would expect a Memphis based song to be, but about a convict on a work-gang. "When Papa Played the Dobro" is a fun song, designed to bring the listener back up from the black tone of the previous track, telling the story of going to the fair and the joy a child found in listening to his father play.

"Boss Jack" takes the listener to Arkansas, to Johnny's hometown of Dyess, describing an idyllic picture of cotton plantation life, as many wish it had been. Traveling once more on that train takes the listener to Iowa, where Irish immigrants have settled. Relating the story of "Old Doc Brown", Johnny shares about how one man can influence the lives of so many others through generosity and goodwill.

And so ends the travels through the country, leaving the listener with the feeling that they have actually met these people and experienced these places, thanks to the lyrics and music of Johnny Cash and other writers. I am not necessarily a fan of `old' music, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this CD and will make some of these songs a regular part of my listening pleasure.
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on July 3, 2014
Somehow, although I bought two of the three Columbia LP's that preceeded this back in the '58-60 era of Johnny's career and my fandom, I never did get this one. In all the decades since, I never grabbed it either. Over that time, I did hear two of the songs from it. Last week I decided it was time to add this to my current dozen or so Cash CD's. Glad I did. Yes, the narrative parts seem a bit corny by modern standards, but John's voice was impressive and resonant. The eight songs are each pretty good, and some of the guitar work is among the best you'll hear on any Cash product. The bonus songs are a mixed bag, but for a real fan, worth having on the shelf. I think back in the day, folks heard the narration on this concept album and got confused, expecting they were hearing autobiography, when Cash speaks as the character in the next upcoming song, and thus plays eight different roles.
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on June 22, 2014
This is not train songs it is a train ride through America and her ballad history. Probably my favorite Cash album. It has several styles of our music from many segments of our country. How big, how different we are and this is one way we are tied together. In the past we were tied together by railroad tracks in the United States of America so Johnny tied us back together. American roots are in this album so are American ideals and ways of life, scattered beside the tracks. It is a trip.
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on September 18, 2016
Bought this while in the USAF in Germany....almost wore it out before my tour was up. Very satisfying to hear it again. (BTW, I was born, lived and worked in Roseburg, OR.)
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on November 19, 2015
This is Cash's great concept album from 1962. He tied the songs together superbly and he still had that voice he had on the Sun Recordings. The bonus tracks don't quite fit in as well, although they are very good songs on their own.
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on March 22, 2014
I first heard this on a vinyl 33 rpm record way back in 1960, My uncle had obtained it through an American serviceman friend from Arkansas stationed in the UK and it had always stuck in my mind as the iconic recording of that era and I believe, on hearing it again, it still is. The last great American? Yes, probably.
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on October 18, 2015
Excellent album...classic Johnny, in his best role as narrator/singer/lyricist...he makes a great historian, who can easily vocalize the passion of any subject.
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on July 27, 2016
I remembered this from when I was a child and was very happy with the quality.
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on November 22, 2016
Fantastic music. Will recommend
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on August 26, 2014
Have had the LP for over 40 years. Finally had to replace it from too much wear. I obviously enjoy the album. I like the songs/stories about this great land of ours. I also like trains.
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