Johnny Cash - From Memphis To Hollywood
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From Memphis To Hollywood (Columbia/Legacy, 2011)

Johnny Cash

Reviewed by Greg Yost

Legacy Recordings' latest release of archival Johnny Cash material is a bit of a mixed bag. Although the set is packed with goodies from the start of Cash's career, the 57 tracks on this 2-disc set cover a lot of musical territory with recordings ranging from radio appearances and early demos to non-album singles, B-sides and other rarities, resulting in a collection that ultimately lacks cohesion. If you can remove the idea of a fully-realized album from your head and view the set as a treasure chest of early recordings, you will discover that there is a lot to love here, especially if you are already a fan of The Man in Black.

The first disc kicks off with an amazing May 1955 radio broadcast from KWEM in West Memphis, Ark. featuring Cash and the Tennessee Two. Cash is a study in contrasts throughout the broadcast as he confidently plows through Wide Open Road, One More Ride and Belshazzar while coming across as stiff and uncomfortable on spoken word advertisements for Home Equipment Co., the program's sponsor and his employer at the time.

Other first-disc highlights include a series of previously unreleased and undated demos from early in Cash's career. The most notable is a reserved and plodding take on I Walk The Line that shines a new light on the origins of this soon-to-be-classic track.

The second disc is comprised almost entirely of material from Cash's first 11 years with the Columbia Records label, from 1958 to 1969, and includes an assortment of demos, B-sides and other non-album tracks. The Folk Singer, a contemplative look at the state of folk music in 1968 Cash penned with Charlie Daniels joins a cover of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings and Cash's rejected theme song to the James Bond film "Thunderball" as standout tracks.

CDs by Johnny Cash

Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live), 2016 Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971, 2015 Out Among the Stars, 2014 Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth, 2012 From Memphis To Hollywood, 2011 American VI: Ain't No Grave, 2010 Johnny Cash's America CD/DVD, 2008 At Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition, 2008 The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1978 DVD, 2008 The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979 DVD, 2008 At San Quentin, 2006 American V: A Hundred Highways, 2006 Personal File, 2006 The Johnny Cash Children's Album, 2006 The Legend, 2005

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