Unreleased – I witnessed a crime by Johnny Cash
The Unreleased series
This is our eighth song in the Unreleased series, I Witnessed a Crime sung by Johnny Cash. Written by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and he also does some nice electric guitar on the track.
His late years were spent under the umbrella of Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label, and with Rick at the helm, Johnny recorded some of his finest material to date. From 1993 until his death in 2003, Johnny recorded a boatload of material, and, to date, his label has released American Recordings (1994), Unchained (1996), American III: Solitary Man (2000), American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), Unearthed (2003), American V: A Hundred Highways (2006), and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010).
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April 26: Johnny Cash American Recordings was released in 1994
…Always, the choice of material is a revelation. The Beast In Me (written by former son-in-law, Nick Lowe) could be autobiographical. And while writers like horrorpunk figurehead Glenn Danzig or Tom Waits probably would never have figured on his radar were it not for Rubin; time and again the duo found songs that were, in Cash’s hands, to take on new life. This willingness to experiment was to set a precedent: Subsequent albums were to see him work magic on material from Nine Inch Nails to U2 and Depeche Mode. But Johnny Cash’s final road to redemption and artistic fulfillment starts here…
~Chris Jones (bbc.co.uk)
American Recordings did something very important — it gave Cash a chance to show how much he could do with a set of great songs and no creative interference, and it afforded him the respect he’d been denied for so long, and the result is a powerful and intimate album that brought the Man in Black back to the spotlight, where he belonged.
~Mark Deming (allmusic.com)
#1 – Delia’s Gone
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Unchained is my second favorite American Recording done by Johnny Cash (after the first).
It is the second album in Johnny Cash’s American Recording series (and his 82nd overall). Like all Cash’s albums for American, Unchained was produced by Rick Rubin.
On the album, Cash is backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as a guest appearance of Flea, Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood. Marty Stuart also plays on 8 tracks.
Johnny Cash (w/Marty Stuart) – Rusty Cage (including interview with Jay Leno, 1996):
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..Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him – the greatest of the greats then and now. I first met him in ‘62 or ‘63 and saw him a lot in those years. Not so much recently, but in some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.
~Bob Dylan (Statement on Johnny Cash – Sept 2003)
Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn’t sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
Posts here @ JV:
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