-If you're just a casual fan of Cash, and you want a compilation that will give you the big hits of Cash's career, this compilation is a good bet. I Walk The Line, Don't Take Your Guns To Town, Ring Of Fire, The Ballad Of Ira Hayes, Folsom Prison Blues, and A Boy Named Sue are among the hits that you'll find here.
-In addition to the hits, you get a number of underrated masterpieces. Among these are Hey Porter and Get Rhythm, excellent tracks that were originally B-Sides.
-Many of the tracks on here are collaborations with other excellent artists. Among the artists Cash performs with on here are Bob Dylan, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, U2, and even his wife, June Carter Cash.
-This compilation is readily available in a number of stores, so you shouldn't have to look too hard for it.
-Obviously, two-disc compilations cost more than single-disc ones.
-The major complaint I have is that there is no material on here from Cash's four albums on the American label. This really bites, because as another reviewer stated, his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt is nothing short of excellent, and it has been getting a lot of popularity.
This does not sound at all like "traditional" Country, and in fact, the Nashville music scene agreed with this for years, as they wouldn't play Cash on country music radio -Why?
Well, I would say this music sounds like a bluesy/gospely folk music that just didn't fit the mold at the time.
So if you are not a big Country Music fan, but you do like blues, gospel, or folk singing, you will very likely enjoy this album.
So many of the songs on this double-album are great, that I will only mention my absolute favorite 10 songs (due to space constraints).
"Hey Porter" was his breakthrough, and it is a truly fantastic rhythmic/driving song about riding a train and getting closer and closer to his home in Tennessee, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album.
"I Walk the Line" is his next "hit" and really showcases his deep voice that he became famous for, and I understand became of one Country music's "classic" songs.
I really like "Get Rhythm". It is a "popping" song with a great beat, and it just pulls you along. It seems more like a top 40 song that could have very well been sung by Fats Domino in the 50's! -no surprise then that Little Richard covered it on a Johnny Cash Tribute Album.
"I Guess Things Happen That Way" is such a short poignant piece of music, I am really surprised that it never became a standard at campfires or in movies.Read more ›
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.Read more ›