Johnny Cash

Legend [Columbia] [Box]

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Track Listing

    Track Title

    Time

  1. I Walk the Line 2:45
  2. There You Go 2:17
  3. Home of the Blues 2:40
  4. Ballad of a Teenage Queen 2:12
  5. Guess Things Happen That Way 1:50
  6. The Ways of a Woman in Love 2:16
  7. Don't Take Your Guns to Town 3:03
  8. Ring of Fire 2:37
  9. The Matador 2:46
  10. Understand Your Man 2:43
  11. The Ballad of Ira Hayes 4:09
  12. Orange Blossom Special 3:07
  13. The One on the Right Is on the Left 2:48
  14. Rosanna's Going Wild 1:59
  15. Folsom Prison Blues 2:45
  16. Daddy Sang Blues 2:21
  17. A Boy Named Sue 3:46
  18. What Is Truth 2:38
  19. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down 4:07
  20. Flesh and Blood 2:37
  21. Man in Black 2:52
  22. A Thing Called Love 2:33
  23. Kate 2:17
  24. Oney 3:05
  25. Any Old Wind That Blows 2:46
  26. One Piece at a Time 4:01
  27. (Ghost) Riders in the Sky 3:46
  28. Hey Porter 2:14
  29. Cry, Cry, Cry 2:25
  30. Luther Played the Boogie 2:03
  31. Get Rhythm 2:14
  32. Give My Love to Rose 2:45
  33. I Was There When It Happened 2:16
  34. Big River 2:32
  35. I Still Miss Someone 2:36
  36. Pickin' Time 1:58
  37. The Man on the Hill 2:09
  38. Five Feet High and Rising 1:47
  39. Tennessee Flat-Top Box 2:59
  40. I Got Stripes 2:04
  41. Troublesome Waters 3:51
  42. The Long Black Veil 3:07
  43. Dark as a Dungeon 2:28
  44. The Wall 2:12
  45. 25 Minutes to Go 3:12
  46. Cocaine Blues 2:51
  47. Doin' My Time [#] 4:13
  48. I Will Rock and Roll with You 2:51
  49. Without Love 2:30
  50. The Big Light 2:41
  51. Highway Patrolman 5:21
  52. I'm Never Gonna Roam Again [#] 2:34
  53. When I'm Gray [#] 3:33
  54. Forever Young 6:16
  55. The Wreck of the Old 97 1:47
  56. Rock Island Line 2:11
  57. Goodnight Irene 2:40
  58. Goodbye, Little Darlin' 2:15
  59. Born to Lose 2:10
  60. Walking the Blues 2:13
  61. Frankie's Man, Johnny 2:17
  62. Delia's Gone 3:02
  63. In the Jailhouse Now 2:23
  64. Waiting for a Train 2:07
  65. Casey Jones 3:02
  66. The Legend of John Henry's Hammer 8:26
  67. I've Been Working on the Railroad [#] 3:26
  68. Sweet Betsy from Pike 3:18
  69. The Streets of Laredo 3:40
  70. Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie 2:28
  71. Down in the Valley [#] 3:11
  72. Wabash Cannonball 2:40
  73. The Great Speckle Bird 2:08
  74. Wildwood Flower 2:12
  75. Cotton Fields 2:34
  76. Pick a Bale o' Cotton 1:58
  77. Old Shep 2:23
  78. I'll Be All Smiles Tonight 2:48
  79. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry 2:39
  80. Time Changes Everything 1:48
  81. Keep on the Sunny Side 2:16
  82. Diamonds in the Rough 3:10
  83. (There'll Be) Peace in the Valley 2:48
  84. Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) 3:56
  85. Another Man Done Gone 2:36
  86. Pick the Wildwood Flower 2:59
  87. Jackson 2:46
  88. If I Were a Carpenter 3:00
  89. Girl from the North Country 3:42
  90. One More Ride 3:27
  91. You Can't Beat Jesus Christ [#] 3:39
  92. There Ain't No Good Chain Gang 3:17
  93. We Oughta Be Ashamed 2:45
  94. Crazy Old Soldier 3:34
  95. Silver Haired Daddy of Mine 2:48
  96. Who's Gone Autry? 3:51
  97. The Night Hank Williams Came to Town 3:24
  98. I Walk the Line (Revisited) 3:51
  99. Highwayman 3:03
  100. The Wanderer 4:43
  101. September When It Comes 3:39
  102. Tears in the Holston River 3:41
  103. Far Side Banks of Jordan 2:42
  104. It Takes One to Know Me [#] 3:36
  105. KWEM Announcements And Advertisements
  106. Johnny Cash Show Intro And Theme
  107. Wide Open Road
  108. Home Equipment Company Advertisement
  109. One More Ride
  110. Home Equipment Company Advertisement/Luther Perkins Intro
  111. Luther's Boogie
  112. Belshazzar Intro
  113. Belshazzar
  114. Closing Comments And Theme
  115. Overton Park Shell Country Music Jamboree Advertisement

Review

There have been in the neighborhood of ten CD box sets devoted to Johnny Cash, released on Columbia, Bear Family, and Collectables (this does not count overseas releases by Sony, or budget-line repackagings of three albums into one box set). Since 2000 there have been roughly 15 new major-label compilations, and that number balloons to nearly 90 comps if various and sundry two-fers, budget-line releases, and imports are factored into the equation. Add to that number the three major reissue campaigns -- Columbia/Legacy's expanded reissues of proper '60s and '70s records, Varese's series of Sun LP re-releases, and Mercury's revival of his largely overlooked '80s albums for the label -- plus the CDs released in the '80s and '90s that are still in print -- and there's not only an enormous amount of Johnny Cash music on the market, but every phase of his career is extraordinarily well documented and easily available. With this in mind, it's initially hard to see the purpose of Columbia/Legacy's 2005 four-disc box set, The Legend. Sure, it's the first set to run the entire length of his career, from 1955 to 2002, but that statement in itself is a little misleading, suggesting that there's a significant sampling from his Rick Rubin-produced comeback recordings for American Records in the '90s, but that's not the case. In fact, there's nothing from those records, although there is a cut from the 1994 Red Hot + Country album and a smattering of other tracks he recorded in the last decade of his life included among the seven previously unreleased tracks on this 104-track box. So, this winds up being yet another repackaging of Cash's Columbia recordings, buttressed by several Sun standards ("Hey Porter," "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Luther Played the Boogie," "Get Rhythm," etc.). While this is familiar, this is by no means bad, since the music is not only good, but it's presented in an interesting manner, with each disc following a theme that's a little looser than Columbia's previous box, Love, God, Murder. Here, the first disc is called Win, Place and Show -- The Hits, the second is Old Favorites and New, the third is The Great American Songbook, and the fourth is Family and Friends. Although it's unclear what exactly separates the "hits" from the "favorites" -- if "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Get Rhythm," "Big River," and "I Got Stripes," all Top 15 country singles but all on the second disc, weren't hits, then what constitutes a hit? -- it seems that the former tends to favor funnier, poppier singles like "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," "A Boy Named Sue," and "The One on the Right Is on the Left," while the latter leans toward grittier numbers and standards that never charted (but even that isn't quite right, since the dark humor of "25 Minutes to Go" is on the second disc). In any case, both of the first two discs are good listens, filled with many of Cash's biggest hits and best songs. The third disc is similarly strong, featuring several of Cash's best readings of such standards -- recorded anywhere from 1955 to 1980, with most dating from the late '50s and '60s -- as "The Wreck of the Old 97," "Rock Island Line," "Delia's Gone," "In the Jailhouse Now," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "Time Changes Everything." However, despite a few good moments, such as his duet with Bob Dylan on "Girl from the North Country" from Nashville Skyline, the fourth disc isn't quite so compelling, largely because Johnny Cash is such an overpowering presence on record that he never made for a good duet partner. But even with the fourth disc being kind of weak, the other three are strong, which means this rivals Columbia's previous box set, 1992's The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 as the best multi-disc retrospective of Cash's weighty career. That doesn't mean it's perfect -- that fourth disc won't be played much, some may gripe that it doesn't contain much from the '80s or '90s, and some big songs like "Five Feet High and Rising" and "The Rebel Johnny Yuma" are MIA -- but Cash recorded so much and so much of it was not only good, but popular, that it's hard to whittle it down to one set, even if it does stretch out over four discs. Overall, The Legend does a very good job presenting the biggest and best of the prime of Johnny Cash's career -- enough to make it a good comprehensive introduction for the curious who want more than what the many, many very good single- or double-disc sets have to offer, enough to make it a nice overview for the casual fan who wants one set with much of his best in one place. [The Legend was also released in a Deluxe Edition, packaged as a large, hardcover book and containing a bonus CD and DVD.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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