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Johnny Cash|American Recordings

American Recordings

Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash was in the unenviable position of being a living legend who was beloved by fans of classic country music without being able to interest anyone in his most recent work when he was signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings label in 1994. Rubin, best known for his work with edgy rockers and hip-hop acts, opted to produce Cash's first album for American, and as he tried to brainstorm an approach that would introduce Cash to a new audience, he struck upon a brilliant idea -- doing nothing. For American Recordings, Rubin simply set up some recording equipment in Cash's Tennessee cabin and recorded him singing a set of songs accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The result is an album that captured the glorious details of Johnny Cash's voice and allowed him to demonstrate just how emotionally powerful an instrument he possessed. While Rubin clearly brought some material to Cash for these sessions -- it's hard to imagine he would have recorded tunes by Glenn Danzig or Tom Waits without a bit of prodding -- Cash manages to put his stamp on every tune on this set, and he also brought some excellent new songs to the table, including the Vietnam veteran's memoir "Drive On," the powerful testimony of faith "Redemption," and a sly but moving recollection of his wild younger days, "Like a Soldier." American Recordings became a critical sensation and a commercial success, though it was overrated in some quarters simply because it reminded audiences that one of America's greatest musical talents was still capable of making compelling music, something he had never stopped doing even if no one bothered to listen. Still, 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 /TiVo

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American Recordings

Johnny Cash

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1
Delia's Gone (Album Version)
00:02:17

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

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

2
Let The Train Blow The Whistle (Album Version)
00:02:15

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

3
The Beast In Me (Album Version)
00:02:45

Nick Lowe, ComposerLyricist - Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

4
Drive On (Album Version)
00:02:23

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

5
Why Me Lord (Album Version)
00:02:20

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Kris Kristofferson, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

6
Thirteen (Album Version)
00:02:29

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

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

7
Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer) (Album Version)
00:03:52

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Roy Rogers, ComposerLyricist - ALAN LOMAX, ComposerLyricist - Tim Spencer, ComposerLyricist - John Avery Lomax, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

8
Bird On A Wire (Album Version)
00:04:01

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

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

9
Tennessee Stud (Album Version)
00:02:54

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - JIMMY DRIFTWOOD, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

10
Down There By The Train (Album Version)
00:05:34

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Tom Waits, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

11
Redemption
00:03:03

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

12
Like A Soldier (Album Version)
00:02:50

Rick Rubin, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

13
The Man Who Couldn't Cry (Album Version)
00:05:00

Rick Rubin, Producer - Loudon Wainwright III, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist

℗ 1994 American Recordings, LLC

Album Description

Johnny Cash was in the unenviable position of being a living legend who was beloved by fans of classic country music without being able to interest anyone in his most recent work when he was signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings label in 1994. Rubin, best known for his work with edgy rockers and hip-hop acts, opted to produce Cash's first album for American, and as he tried to brainstorm an approach that would introduce Cash to a new audience, he struck upon a brilliant idea -- doing nothing. For American Recordings, Rubin simply set up some recording equipment in Cash's Tennessee cabin and recorded him singing a set of songs accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The result is an album that captured the glorious details of Johnny Cash's voice and allowed him to demonstrate just how emotionally powerful an instrument he possessed. While Rubin clearly brought some material to Cash for these sessions -- it's hard to imagine he would have recorded tunes by Glenn Danzig or Tom Waits without a bit of prodding -- Cash manages to put his stamp on every tune on this set, and he also brought some excellent new songs to the table, including the Vietnam veteran's memoir "Drive On," the powerful testimony of faith "Redemption," and a sly but moving recollection of his wild younger days, "Like a Soldier." American Recordings became a critical sensation and a commercial success, though it was overrated in some quarters simply because it reminded audiences that one of America's greatest musical talents was still capable of making compelling music, something he had never stopped doing even if no one bothered to listen. Still, 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 /TiVo

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Two legendary live albums released at the end of the sixties gave Johnny Cash’s career a huge boost and turned him into an international star. They were two records were unlike any others: they were recorded in prison. But how did the Man in Black find himself in such an unusual concert hall?

How Kanye West Turned Hip-hop on its Head

Over the last twenty years, Kanye West has consistently changed the course of rap music and influenced his era’s pop scene like no other. Collaborating with Paul McCartney, Rick Rubin, and Rihanna, he has both revitalized the careers of Jay-Z and Common and provided a platform for Kid Cudi and John Legend. Kanye West remains a major influence on artists such as Childish Gambino, Drake and The Weeknd. Cast yourself back to the career of an endlessly enigmatic artist.

The Pioneers of Rock’n’Roll

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