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Johnny Cash|American II: Unchained

American II: Unchained

Johnny Cash

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After 1994's American Recordings revitalized Johnny Cash's career, he and producer Rick Rubin had to come up with an encore, and in some respects 1996's Unchained was the sort of album many were expecting American Recordings to be. Instead of the solo acoustic approach of American Recordings, Unchained paired Cash with a noted rock band Rubin had worked with in the past -- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, whose roots-conscious style and Southern heritage would seemingly make them compatible with the Man in Black. There's no arguing that Petty and his band sound fully committed on Unchained and deliver uniformly heartfelt and expert performances. However, part of what made American Recordings so effective was the opportunity to hear Cash's emotionally forceful vocals with only the most minimal accompaniment, and as good as the Heartbreakers are, in their presence Cash sounds a bit more restrained and less willing to push himself. Also, while having Cash cover Glenn Danzig's "Thirteen" worked unexpectedly well on American Recordings, taking on Beck and Soundgarden doesn't fare nearly as well here, and Cash's version of "Memories Are Made of This" may have been a better match in theory, but it doesn't quite make it in practice. But there are more than a few triumphant moments on this disc, including inspired recuts of "Country Boy" and "Mean Eyed Cat," a dignified and deeply felt interpretation of Petty's "Southern Accents," and a rollicking tear through "I've Been Everywhere" for the finale. If Unchained didn't seem like an event or an instant classic like its immediate predecessor, it confirmed Cash was still a vital artist with plenty of life in him, no mean feat for a man of 64 who'd been making records for more than 40 years.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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American II: Unchained

Johnny Cash

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1
Rowboat (Album Version)
00:03:42

Beck Hansen, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - John Carter Cash, Producer, Associate Producer - JIM SCOTT, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, Additional Producer, StudioPersonnel - Sylvia Massey, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

2
Sea Of Heartbreak (Album Version)
00:02:41

Rick Rubin, Producer - Paul Hampton, ComposerLyricist - Hal David, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

3
Rusty Cage (Album Version)
00:02:47

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - John Carter Cash, Producer, Associate Producer - JIM SCOTT, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Cornell, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, Additional Producer, StudioPersonnel - Sylvia Massey, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

4
The One Rose (That's Left In My Heart) (Album Version)
00:02:25

lani mcintire, ComposerLyricist - Del Lyon, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - John Carter Cash, Producer, Associate Producer - JIM SCOTT, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, Additional Producer, StudioPersonnel - Sylvia Massey, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

5
Country Boy (Album Version)
00:02:30

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

6
Memories Are Made Of This (Album Version)
00:02:18

Richard Dehr, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Frankie Miller, ComposerLyricist - Terry Gilkyson, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

7
Spiritual (Album Version)
00:05:06

Rick Rubin, Producer - Josh Haden, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

8
The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea (Album Version)
00:02:31

Maybelle Carter, ComposerLyricist - Helen Carter, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - June Carter, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer - Anita Carter, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

9
Southern Accents (Album Version)
00:04:40

Ronny Scaife, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - John Carter Cash, Producer, Associate Producer - JIM SCOTT, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob McDill, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sylvia Massey, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

10
Mean Eyed Cat (Album Version)
00:02:32

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

11
Meet Me In Heaven (Album Version)
00:03:20

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

12
I Never Picked Cotton (Album Version)
00:02:37

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Charles Williams, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer - Bobby George Boyd, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

13
Unchained (Album Version)
00:02:50

Rick Rubin, Producer - Jude Johnstone, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

14
I've Been Everywhere (Album Version)
00:03:16

Rick Rubin, Producer - Geoff Mack, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - David Ferguson, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 1996 American Recordings, LLC

Album Description

After 1994's American Recordings revitalized Johnny Cash's career, he and producer Rick Rubin had to come up with an encore, and in some respects 1996's Unchained was the sort of album many were expecting American Recordings to be. Instead of the solo acoustic approach of American Recordings, Unchained paired Cash with a noted rock band Rubin had worked with in the past -- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, whose roots-conscious style and Southern heritage would seemingly make them compatible with the Man in Black. There's no arguing that Petty and his band sound fully committed on Unchained and deliver uniformly heartfelt and expert performances. However, part of what made American Recordings so effective was the opportunity to hear Cash's emotionally forceful vocals with only the most minimal accompaniment, and as good as the Heartbreakers are, in their presence Cash sounds a bit more restrained and less willing to push himself. Also, while having Cash cover Glenn Danzig's "Thirteen" worked unexpectedly well on American Recordings, taking on Beck and Soundgarden doesn't fare nearly as well here, and Cash's version of "Memories Are Made of This" may have been a better match in theory, but it doesn't quite make it in practice. But there are more than a few triumphant moments on this disc, including inspired recuts of "Country Boy" and "Mean Eyed Cat," a dignified and deeply felt interpretation of Petty's "Southern Accents," and a rollicking tear through "I've Been Everywhere" for the finale. If Unchained didn't seem like an event or an instant classic like its immediate predecessor, it confirmed Cash was still a vital artist with plenty of life in him, no mean feat for a man of 64 who'd been making records for more than 40 years.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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