Friday, April 15, 2005
Upcoming Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash compilations
I was extremely happy to find advance copies of the upcoming Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash compilations in the ol' mailbox the other day. It may seem strange sometimes that I like such a varied cross section of music, but I grew up in a house in which one parent loved Elvis Presley and the other one idolized Merle Haggard and Hank Williams. Hee Haw and the Porter Wagoner Show were always watched - I liked Hee Haw for the jokes, but as a kid I never quite got Porter although RFD TV now shows Wagoner reruns and they are incredible, especially when it comes to the banjo and guitar playing talents of Buck Trent. That covers rock and roll and country, but how did I end up being a jazz fan? I suppose it was a combination of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Jack Kerouac that led me there. So I've always had a thing for good music (translated...anything that moves me in some emotional or visceral way) and June Carter and Johnny Cash made some great music.
Columbia is issuing compilations for both this summer, Johnny for the umpteenth time, while this is the first time June Carter Cash has gotten the anthology treatment. The Johnny Cash Legend set comes in both a 4 CD version and a 5 CD deluxe one filled with his hits divided into thematic sides chronologically. It's all great stuff (no "Chicken In Black" in sight) with seven previously unreleased songs. It'll make a great introduction for the casual fan and completists will want it for the unreleased stuff. I already had much of the material contained on it, but it is nice to have it all in one handy spot.
The June Carter Cash comp titled Keep On The Sunny Side - Her Life In Music is simply a joy - a revelation of her immense talents that resided in the shade of her husband for most of her career. It begins when she is a mere 10 years old singing with "Keep On The Sunnyside" with the Carter Family and then proceeds through her entire recording including the complete contents of her rare 1st solo album, Appalachian Pride, ending with "Keep On The Sunnyside" from her award winning Wildflower album recorded just a few months before her death in 2003. Particularly poignant is "Far Side Banks Of Jordan" the duet with Johnny where June sings the lyrics, "If it proves to be His will that I am first to go And somehow I've a feeling it will be. When it comes your time to travel, likewise don't feel lost For I will be the first one that you see." June and Johnny's life together was a great love story with the music just being the thing that brought them together.
Both albums are a treasure trove of timeless American music. The June Carter Cash album is due out appropriately in June and the Johnny Cash album will be released in July.
Posted by Wally Bangs