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Unchained

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.80
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Unchained + American III: Solitary Man + American Recordings
Price For All Three: CDN$ 39.49

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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unchained Sept. 20 2003
By jbembe
Format:Audio CD
Now that Cash himself has been "unchained" I thought I'd give my comments on this album. I was completely swayed by American IV and became a huge Cash fan, before that I was very unfamiliar with his music. Now I have 18 albums and 2 Man In Black Box Sets, and have been listening constantly to Cash's music since Jan03. Of the four american series albums, it is very difficult to choose favorites. The last was the most emotional and impacting, and this album is the most fun. If you need somewhere to start with Cash, and aren't a huge country fan, this is the best album. Tom Petty and co. do an excellent job of giving this album some major spunk and they turn in some great tunes. Rusty cage may be the absolute hardest Cash song recorded, it is ominous and bleeds aggression. Soundgarden's lead singer is quoted as saying that no one ever said anything about his songwriting on Rusty Cage and its lyrics before Cash covered it. And the playing on Rusty Cage perfectly captures the intensity and gravity of the song without having to be overplayed, something heavy metal bands could learn from. The other upbeat highlights include Sea of Heartbreak, Country Boy (which makes me want to try and sing every lyric right along with Cash), Kneeling Drunkard's Plea, I Never Picked Cotton, and I've Been Everywhere. The rest of the album is exceptional, displaying Cash's heartfelt delivery of great spiritual songs. If I could buy only 3 Cash albums, it would be this one, Orange Blossom Special... forget it, I would get them all. But this one is definitely a highlight of Cash's career.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin collaboration Dec 28 2003
Format:Audio CD
The revival of Johnny Cash's legendary career in the 1990's was rightfully entrusted to uber-producer Rick Rubin who got immediate results with 1994's barely-produced (in truth little more than monophonic demo tapes) "American Recordings", an album which succeeded strictly on the force of the intimacy of Cash's vocals and steadily effective three-chord acoustic guitar playing. The album was acclaimed by music critics and the music establishment (winning a Grammy in the Contemporary Folk category) as well as introducing Johnny Cash to a whole new generation of music fans less inclined to listen to country music in general.
"Unchained" picks up where "American Recordings" left off, only this time Cash is given a veritable "Who's who" of backing musicians (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, former Duran Duran sideman Steve Ferrone, Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea, as well as the Nashville axe slinger Marty Stuart who got his start as a touring guitarist with Cash ages prior) well-equipped to support a sublime choice of material (a Dean Martin standard given a lovely solo treatment that would be at home on "American Recordings", a grunge anthem from Soundgarden that Chris Cornell couldn't have either recognized or exceeded, Petty's own "Southern Accents", which sounds as though it was written for Cash all along, as well as the talking blues highwayman classic "I've Been Everywhere" and a redux of old Sun Records-era Cash originals "Mean-Eyed Cat" and "Country Boy").
This album just cranks from start to finish...Alternative/Indie god Beck's "Rowboat" sounds like it's been a country standard for decades, and those songs that actually HAVE ("The One Rose" and "Sea Of Heartbreak") sound as though they could have been written exclusively for this album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's been everywhere. July 21 2003
By H3@+h
Format:Audio CD
Being a fan of "Soundgarden" for 15 years, I bought this to hear Johnny's cover of "Rusty Cage". As great as that song is, it's surrounded by 13 other tracks that are just as good. Whether it's a cover, or an original, "Johnny Cash" proves why he is an american icon, and one the most important figures in music ever. He makes them all his own. The fact is, all his albums for "American Recordings" are amazing, and it's hard to pick a favorite. "Unchained" is excellent from the opener "Rowboat", to the very last track. This should be enjoyed by fans of country, western, rock, folk, alt-rock, and just cool music in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny in great form with Tom Petty supporting May 25 2003
Format:Audio CD
Nashville is cruel to its veteran performers, but they have found a way to fight back. When Johnny's career as a recording artist seemed finished, he found a new producer, Rick Rubin, and together they have gone from strength to strength. As I write this, they have recorded four albums together and the most recent became Johnny's first gold album in 23 years. The recipe for success is simple - go right back to Johnny's roots in the fifties, when his sound was simple and uncluttered, and don't worry about the radio stations that are obsessed with listeners in their twenties and thirties. If the music strikes the right chord, those people will buy it anyway.
This was the second album Johnny and Rick recorded together and it contains many of the elements you expect from them. Tom Petty and his band provided the musical backing - and they certainly did a good job.
There are some stunning covers including Sea of heartbreak (Don Gibson), Rusty cage (Soundgarden), Memories are made of this (Dean Martin), Southern accents (Tom Petty) and I've been everywhere (Hank Snow). Actually, most of the songs are covers and they are all excellent.
There is a new version of Mean eyed cat, a song Johnny wrote and recorded in the fifties. In the liner notes, Johnny says that the original version was unfinished, but was released anyway, so he finally completed the song more than forty years later. Johnny also wrote Country boy and Meet me in heaven.
Johnny has a long and varied recording career behind him, but this is one album that appeals to both country fans and rock fans. It has that indefinable something that cuts across musical preconceptions. Regardless of your own musical preferences, forget your preconceptions about country music and enjoy this excellent album.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
if you like johnny cash pick this up its a great disc
Published 14 days ago by dusty trucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of Johnny"s best ever!
Published 3 months ago by Derek Timmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl is terrific
So much better than the CD, this record is far less aggressively compressed. The guitar and piano especially has a more natural timbre. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Geee!
4.0 out of 5 stars Unpolished, but that's the point
This was the first of the Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin collaborations I discovered (although it's actually the second of the four released), and it's probably the best top-to-bottom... Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by K. Bruffett
5.0 out of 5 stars More of the Same
I don't care what kind of music you like. I don't care how old you are or where you're from or how smart you think you are. This is human music, raw and honest and true. Read more
Published on April 3 2004 by Wyote
4.0 out of 5 stars true country
My son gave me Johnny's 'Unchained' and David Allan Coe's Cash tribute CD 'Johnny Cash Is A Friend Of Mine' for Christmas and I haven't stopped listening to them almost constantly. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by Joe South
5.0 out of 5 stars Sea of Heartbreakers
This is Johnny Cash's second album for American Recordings, featuring backing by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Johnny Heering
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master's Artful Brush Stroke
This might be my favorite Johnny Cash album ever - and that's saying alot. I grew up listening to the man in Black, not caring for most of the popular country, so this perspective... Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2003 by Mad Dog
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great
Driving today listening to this - pure American roots music w/ Tom Petty - great song selection and interplay. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2003
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