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American III: Solitary Man

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 26.05
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Frequently Bought Together

  • American III: Solitary Man
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  • American V: A Hundred Highways
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  • American IV: The Man Comes Around (Bonus DVD)
Total price: CDN$ 54.10
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 27 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada Inc.
  • ASIN: B000WS4OZM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,271 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Won't Back Down
2. Solitary Man
3. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)
4. One
5. Nobody
6. I See A Darkness
7. The Mercy Seat
8. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)
9. Field Of Diamonds
10. Country Trash
11. Mary Of The Wild Moor
12. Before My Time
13. I'm Leavin' Now
14. Wayfaring Stranger

Product Description

Product Description

With all of the massive hype around at the moment regarding Johnny Cash, largely due to the movie 'Walk The Line', the time is right that these fantastic American Recordings titles are available again. Cash's American Recordings albums were critically acclaimed, and captivated a younger audience than his previous albums - they inspired a whole new legion of Johnny Cash devotees. All at Mid Price, these albums deserve to be in any serious record collection

For younger generations of musicians, having their song cut by Johnny Cash must be a little like scaling the Washington Monument. On his third album for producer Rick Rubin's American label, Cash makes Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" sound like a companion classic to "I Walk the Line." He transforms U2's "One" into a sturdy testament of plainspoken faith, while he plumbs the netherworld of Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat" and Will Oldham's "I See a Darkness." Amid more familiar fare (including Neil Diamond's title track), the album's sing-along standout is the deadpan, down-and-out, talking blues of "Nobody." Cash's recent originals have the age-old purity of Appalachian music, while the traditional closing of "Wayfaring Stranger" offers bittersweet benediction. Merle Haggard, Sheryl Crow, and June Carter Cash provide vocal cameos. --Don McLeese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Of the 5 American Series Cash released during his last years, this album is my 2nd favorite, very close to being IMHO as good as my favorite, A Man Comes Around IV. The main difference is that IV includes a few out of this world tracks that give it the edge over this one.

That is not to say that no stand out tracks are included on this set. No less practically half of the album reaches the status of being exceptional. Tom Petty sings along with Cash on the opening two tracks, the first being a Petty cover, I Won't Back Down. Petty's version is good but somewhat dated (Jeff Lynn produced it), Cash's version is more straight forward and much better. A similar analogy can be made of the next track, Solitary Man, a very straight forward version with a silent despair.

U2's One is another track which Cash does much much better (I am a huge U2 fan and think that their version is great). The text shines in this version and actually adds a different dimension to the song itself. After a solid and powerful start the set slows down somewhat with I See Darkness and The Mercy Seat. The latter track is a Nick Cave cover in which Cash interprets the anguish someone feels being on death row and about to be electrocuted; very powerful song and the end where the admission of guilt is followed by bar room piano playing in a macabre fashion is not to be missed.

Mary of the Wild Moor and Wayfaring Stranger are the main tracks at the latter half of this album. Although most of those tracks are not as good as the first tracks of the album, none of them have any filler feel to them.

Although I prefer IV, this album is also a must purchase for any Cash fan and those who would like to add some Cash to their collection should not let this album pass them by. Of the American Series, this may even be the most even album and probably has the most direct straight forward production, brimful of guitars and solid tracks.
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Format: Audio CD
I caught on late to the "American" series collaboration between Cash & producer Rick Rubin, and purchased this after I bought American IV. That disk remains my favorite, but on American III, once again, Johnny Cash hits a home run. The most enjoyable aspect of this series has to be Cash's broad attempt to include music from all American eras, including alternative rock and public-domain folk.
When Cash covers modern artists he brings out a different patina within the song, one with hues of struggle and faith. I will never hear "One" by U2 with as much pleasure again, because I will simply pine for this version with Cash's confident vocal and Benmont Tench's bass notes on piano (sorry Bono). Cash mentions in the liner notes that he worked on "Solitary Man", "I Won't Back Down" and "The Mercy Seat" "until it felt like they were my own". This effort certainly paid off on the latter two, although I personally would categorize "Solitary Man" as the least successful cover. (Special treat for Tom Petty fans: He sings backup for both "I Won't Back Down" and "Solitary Man").
"The Mercy Seat", which sounds like it would be the outlier, actually proves a good fit. After all, it is a prison song...with a lot of religious imagery, stuff Cash is right at home with. The protagonist's paranoia isn't as evident in the presentation as in the simple tale of a man so long on death row he is not sure who is friend or foe, even himself.
Cash brings a great sense of humor to the self-deprecating vaudeville number "Nobody" and "Lucky Old Sun", and sounds like he could have just stepped out of a cabin in Cade's Cove in the 19th century as he sings "Wayfaring Stranger." He also adds some great originals: "Field of Diamonds", "I'm Leavin' Now", and my personal favorite, "Country Trash.
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Format: Audio CD
110 people have reviewed this album before me, and they all agree that this is great. 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. If you have a soul, this album and Johnny Cash's voice will touch it. There is no better music.
I recommend American IV just as highly, and even more people like it. But check this one out as well.
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Format: Audio CD
If you love Johnny Cash, you must have all four of the American Recordings series, but all true music lovers should also have them, if only to serve as an example of how a master musicians last years can bring his greatest art.More specifically, Cash's rendering of "The Mercy Seat" rivals his more recent"Hurt"(American Recordings 4)as the most haunting,soul-baring recording in music history.Using the metaphor of a condemned man nearing execution, he places us directly into the heart of any man facing the reality of death, the only moment when too many of us realize that we are not immortal. It brought me to tears the first time I heard it. I commented to those with me that it truly was a musical diamond, the perfect essence of an artist at his peak of knowledge and wisdom(if not skill).Cash has not only entertained us for generations, he has shared his love of life, God, music, and Man with us, always with honesty, integrity, and humor. He never pretended to be more than a simple man, with faults and weaknesses like us all, but he had the faith,the heart,and strength to work to make things better.The songs he has given us as he nears the end will help us all to face those times with dignity and courage, as he did. Vaya con Dios,Mr.Johnny Cash,I will miss you like a favorite Uncle, and always treasure your musical legacy.
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