Tuesday, 23 September 2014

"Love God Murder" by JOHNNY CASH - A Review Of The 2000 3CD Mini Box Set...

“…Are You Counted With The Meek…”

Released May 2000 in the USA and June 2000 on Columbia/American/Legacy COL 498580 2 (Barcode 5099749858022) in the UK as a 3CD-set in a flimsy card wrap - the three 16-track compilations contained within were compiled by Cash himself and make for the most fantastic listen. Handpicking tunes from across his monumental career (concentrating a lot on the Sixties and Seventies) - the Legacy Remasters even include 3 Previously Unreleased tunes. Here are detailed rings of fire, the sweet chariots and the bad Jesse James...

LOVE (39:51 minutes):
1. I Walk The Line (Mono) (1956, A-side of a US 7" single on Sun 241)
2. Oh. What A Dream (recorded 1958, from the album "Johnny Cash - 1958-1986" on Columbia C2 40637)
3. All Over Again (1958, A-side of a US 7" single on Columbia 4-41251)
4. A Little At A Time (1962, B-side of "In The Jailhouse Now" on Columbia 4-42425)
5. My Old Faded Rose (Recorded June 1964, Previously Unreleased in the USA)
6. Happiness Is You (1965, from the album "Happiness Is You" on Columbia CS 9337)
7. Flesh And Blood (1970, from the motion picture "I Walk The Line" on Columbia S 30397)
8. I Tremble For You (recorded October 1967, Previously Unreleased in the USA)
9. I Feel Better All Over (1960, from the album "Now There Was A Song!" on Columbia CS 8254)
10. 'Cause I Love You (as per 7)
11. Ballad Of Barbara (1977, from the album "The Last Gunfighter Battle" on Columbia JC 34314)
12. Ring Of Fire (1963, from the album "Ring Of Fire" on Columbia CS 8853)
13. My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You (as per 9)
14. While I've Got It On My Mind (1974, from the album "The Ragged Old Flag" on Columbia C 32917)
15. I Still Miss Someone (1959, from the album "The Fabulous Johnny Cash" on Columbia CS 8122)
16. The One Rose (That's Left In My Heart) (1996, from the CD album "Unchained" - American Recordings Vol.2)
[Notes: 1 and 16 are MONO all others STEREO; 5 and 8 are Previously Unreleased in the USA]

GOD (46:45 minutes):
1. What On Earth Will You Do (For Heaven's Sake) (1974, from the album "The Ragged Old Flag" on Columbia C 32917)
2. My God Is Real (1961, from the album "Hymns From The Heart" on Columbia CS 8522)
3. It Was Jesus (1959, from the album "Hymns By Johnny Cash" on Columbia CS 8125)
4. Why Me Lord (1993, from the CD album "American Recordings" - Volume 1)
5. The Greatest Cowboy Of Them All (1979, from the album "A Believer Sings The Truth" on Cachet CL3-9001)
6. Redemption (as per 4)
7. The Great Speckled Bird (1959, from the album Songs Of Our Soil" on Columbia CS 8148)
8. The Old Account (as per 3)
9. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (as per 3)
10. When He Comes (as per 5)
11. The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea (1996, from the CD album "Unchained" - American Recordings Vol.2)
12. Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) (1963, from the album "Ring Of Fire" on Columbia CS 8853)
13. Man In White (1986, A-side of a US 7" single on Ezra 227)
14. Belshazzar (1957, from the album "Original Sun Sound" on Sun Records LP 1275)
15. Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer) (as per 4)
16. Oh Come, Angel Band (as per 5)
[Note: 4, 6, 14 and 15 are MONO - all others in STEREO)

MURDER (51:18 minutes):
1. Folsom Prison Blues (1955, A-side of a US 7" single on Sun 232)
2. Delia's Gone (1993, from the CD album "American Recordings" - Volume 1)
3. Mister Garfield (1965, from the album "Johnny Cash Sings The Ballads Of The True West")
4. Orleans Parish Prison (Live) (recorded in Stockholm in 1972, released as a USA 7" single on Columbia 4-45997)
5. When It's Springtime In Alaska (It's Forty Below) (1964, from the album "Orange Blossom Special" on Columbia CS 9109)
6. The Sound Of Laughter (recorded in January 1966, Previously Unreleased in the USA)
7. Cocaine Blues (Live) (1968, from the album "Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison" on Columbia CK 65955)
8. Hardin Wouldn't Run (as per 3)
9. The Long Black Veil (as per 5)
10. Austin Prison (1966, on the album "Everybody Loves A Nut" on Columbia CS 9292)
11. Joe Bean (as per 10)
12. Going To Memphis (1960, from the album "Blood, Sweat And Tears" on Columbia CS 8730)
13. Don't Take Your Guns To Town (1958, from the 7" US EP "Fabulous Johnny Cash" on Columbia B 12532)
14. Highway Patrolman (recorded 1983, from the album "Johnny Cash - 1958-1986" on Columbia C2 40637)
15. Jacob Green (Live) (B-side of 4)
16. The Wall  (as per 5)
[Note: 1, 2, 5 and 8 are MONO - all others STEREO. 5 features JUNE CARTER-CASH on Duet Vocals; 6 is Previously Unreleased]

This is the kind of music when men are "as wild as a buck" for their women - where alcoholic's reach their mother's grave and "I know God in Heaven looked down" - where a pistol went awry and someone now has a "warrant out for my arrest". The different period choices of the songs just mentioned are brilliant - "I Feel Better All Over" (Love), "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea" (God) and "Austin Prison" (Murder). It makes each themed compilation a fascinating and invigorating listen. It's also cool to see tracks from the genius 2nd American Recordings album - "Unchained" - for me one of the best in the distinguished 6-album series (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are the backing band). The cover of Springsteen's "Nebraska" nugget "Highway Patrolman" is superb too - tailor made for him and his huge voice.

The flimsy card slipcase on the outside holds the three card digipaks on the inside but it easily falls apart. There are deliberations by JUNE CARTER CASH on Love, BONO on God and QUENTIN TARATINO on Murder but nothing in the way of booklets. Still it's the music you want and the remasters are great.

"Someone got killed 'neat the town hall light..." Johnny testifies on the classic "Long Black Veil". He was a mountain of a man. And these days this triple is often less than a fiver second-hand. Time to get this righteous slayer in your home right soon...

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