American (2014, Reissue)
The third of the Johnny Cash American Recordings releases is as great as the previous two. When this album came out I was an intern at the radio promotions company that I eventually ended up working at for several years. So while I didn't officially promote this record, it was nice to feel that I was involved with it just a little bit. The three main promo folks in my department all got autographed Johnny Cash posters out of this campaign. I was pretty jealous of those.
As far as the record itself goes, once again Cash has picked some incredible songs and somehow made them his own. From "I Won't Back Down" to "Solitary Man" to to his incredible take on what may be the only U2 song I actually like, "One," it amazes me how Johnny Cash can put his stamp on a tune like no other. For me, the absolute highlight is "The Mercy Seat." The way that song reaches its slow building crescendo is just a thing of beauty.
Like the other two before it, this reissue sounds just fantastic. I won't call it a flawless pressing, because I'm not sure I'm enough of an audiophile to really make that sort of judgment, but I can tell you that I don't think this record has ever sounded better. I won't actually be reviewing American IV as I already have an original copy of that one (though I am tempted to re-buy as these reissues sound so good), so next up is American V.
Johnny Cash - "The Mercy Seat":
Johnny Cash - "One":