Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Country, Country-Folk, Country-Pop, Country Gospel, Traditional Country
Click to listen to Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm" Even as a young turk, Johnny Cash sang with the voice of experience. The first disc of this fantastic two-CD set (which features 26 cuts previously unreleased in the U.S.) gives us the sound of Cash in his twenties – demos and radio appearances from the 1950s. Cash's singing is higher and sprier than in his prime, but the gravitas is there.
The second volume in Johnny Cash's Bootleg series, subtitled From Memphis to Hollywood, is, in a different way, just as revelatory as its predecessor. The initial volume contained two discs packed (mostly) with tracks that Cash called the "Personal File." Cash recorded these songs for himself between 1973 and 1982: originals, folk ballads, and spirituals with stories and recollections about the material on the tapes. From Memphis to Hollywood is another treasure trove compiled by Legacy.
Although he had already signed with Sun Records, Johnny Cash was still struggling as a musician in 1955, taking gigs around Memphis with the Tennessee Two but not yet landing a strong hit single. To make ends meet, he worked at the Home Equipment Company selling venetian blinds, and it was his employer that sponsored his first radio show on KWEM. In May 1955, he played his first show live in the studio, and those 15 minutes are the centerpiece of the latest Johnny Cash reissue, the second in what will hopefully be a long bootleg series.
Released some weeks ago to minimal fanfare and specified intent, From Memphis to Hollywood is among the more unsurprising and yet absolutely necessary packages that you can glance over on your next trip to the record store. The title says it all, broadly, but to narrow it down: there are two hours of Johnny Cash material on From Memphis to Hollywood , and at least half of that material has either never seen release, or has never seen release in the US. Sounds interesting, right? It is.
Early gems in a country legend’s historical lucky-bag. Ninian Dunnett 2011 Every generation has its own version of Johnny Cash. In the 21st century, most people know Cash as imagined by the producer Rick Rubin: a weathered monument of popular music, sermonizing rock standards like Hurt with a voice cracked by the weight of too much living. But it’s a sheer tonic to meet the Johnny Cash of a different era, a 22 year-old just moved to Memphis, with a timbre as deep as a canyon and cool as the other side of the pillow.