STYLE: Country RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 92817-16476 LABEL: American FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2006-02-13
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
The sixth chapter of Johnny Cash's revered American Recordings is simply stunning stuff. Recorded near the end of his life, the bass-baritone voice is undeniably a weak shadow of its former self and producer Rick Rubin's now trademark stripped bare production bears little resemblance to Cash's sound of yesteryear. Nonetheless, this a gripping release that sees Cash approach death with assurance and victory in songs like the traditional blues of the title track and the self-penned "1 Corinthians 15:55" which declare the singer's utmost conviction that death is not the end on account of his Saviour. Elsewhere, songs like the evergreen "Satisfied Mind" and Hank Snow's "I Don't Hurt Anymore" give comfort that the man who had his fair share of demons found peace in the end. Whilst this collection is devoid of more adventurous cover versions (such as Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" on 'American IV'), a chilling version of Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day" and a heartfelt take on the Tom Paxton classic "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" show that Cash had an ear for a good song right until the end and shows his lifelong knack of making other people's songs his own through the sincerity of his delivery. Proceedings finish in upbeat fashion with the Hawaiian farewell "Aloha Oe" which shows that, whilst he was facing impending death, Cash choose to go out in with certainty, dignity and style.
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