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The Essential Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash 21/2/2002

Review

Issued in commemoration of Cash's 70th birthday, this double CD is a good survey of 1955-1993 career highlights (and a different release than the similarly titled three-CD The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983). Is it a good place to start? That depends on what you have or don't have already, considering that so many greatest-hits compilations containing some or much of this material appeared prior to this, yet another repackage. All of his very biggest hits are here, and it leans very heavily on his first 15 years of recordings, with just eight of the 36 tracks postdating 1970 (and only one of them, his 1993 U2 collaboration "The Wanderer," postdating 1986). For that reason some may complain that it doesn't give some phases of his career proper weight, and certainly not evenly distributed weight. But let's be cold about this: Cash's best records were between 1955 and 1970, and focusing on his early work, as this compilation does, means higher overall quality. It's too bad nothing is included from his acclaimed, unadorned 1994 album, American Recordings, but otherwise this will serve as a quite satisfactory best-of for those who want both the familiar hits and a few good, not-so-overplayed ones, like his versions of "It Ain't Me Babe," "Jackson," and "If I Were a Carpenter." ~ Richie Unterberger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Hey Porter [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:13
  3. 2 Cry! Cry! Cry! [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:23
  4. 3 I Walk the Line [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:42
  5. 4 Get Rhythm [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:12
  6. 5 There You Go [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:17
  7. 6 Ballad of a Teenage Queen [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:10
  8. 7 Big River [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 2:30
  9. 8 Guess Things Happen That Way [Mono Version] Johnny Cash 1:49
  10. 9 All Over Again Johnny Cash 2:10
  11. 10 Don't Take Your Guns to Town Johnny Cash 3:0
  12. 11 Five Feet High and Rising Johnny Cash 1:44
  13. 12 The Rebel - Johnny Yuma Johnny Cash 1:50
  14. 13 Tennessee Flat Top Box Johnny Cash 2:59
  15. 14 I Still Miss Someone Johnny Cash 2:33
  16. 15 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash 2:36
  17. 16 The Ballad of Ira Hayes Johnny Cash 4:5
  18. 17 Orange Blossom Special Johnny Cash 3:7
  19. 18 Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? Johnny Cash 3:51
  20. 1 It Ain't Me Babe Johnny Cash 3:1
  21. 2 The One on the Right Is on the Left Johnny Cash 2:46
  22. 3 Jackson Johnny Cash 2:45
  23. 4 Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash 2:43
  24. 5 Daddy Sang Bass Johnny Cash 2:20
  25. 6 Girl from the North Country Johnny Cash 3:39
  26. 7 A Boy Named Sue Johnny Cash 3:47
  27. 8 If I Were a Carpenter Johnny Cash 2:56
  28. 9 Sunday Morning Coming Down Johnny Cash 4:10
  29. 10 Flesh and Blood [From the Movie I Walk the Line] Johnny Cash 2:36
  30. 11 Man in Black Johnny Cash 2:51
  31. 12 Ragged Old Flag Johnny Cash 3:9
  32. 13 One Piece at a Time Johnny Cash 4:1
  33. 14 (Ghost) Riders in the Sky Johnny Cash 3:41
  34. 15 Song of the Patriot Johnny Cash 3:26
  35. 16 Highwayman Waylon Jennings 3:1
  36. 17 The Night Hank Williams Came to Town Johnny Cash 3:20
  37. 18 The Wanderer U2 4:44

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