Before Rick Rubin, during a period when the record buying public was largely ignoring Johnny Cash and the rest of his fellow outlaws, Cash recorded a batch of songs that were destined for the scrap pile and never released by Columbia Records. Recorded in 1981 and 1984 during a time period in the 80’s that may have been the last really healthy period of his life, John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny and June Carter, has taken the reigns on the project and has produced what should be the best Man in Black record since his death in 2003.
There is a lot of familiar territory here with “Baby Ride Easy” one of two chemistry laden duets with June Carter, and a spot on perfect rendition of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ on with Waylon Jennings. Two legends that were on the top of their vocal game. Produced by Country savant Billy Sherrill, the musical force behind Tammy Wynette and George Jones, the production value is very much of the times, and that is a very good thing.
With the many American Recordings projects released over the years, it is almost as if Johnny Cash never left us. With this one in the can along with a promised album of live records along with another talked about Gospel album from Rick Rubin potentially on the way, the best may indeed be yet to come.