The Fabulous Johnny Cash

The Fabulous Johnny Cash

Marking a smooth transition from Sun to Columbia, Johnny Cash’s first album for his new label mostly adhered to his trademark sound while expanding the reach of his repertoire. The Fabulous Johnny Cash again features the freight-train rhythms of guitarist Luther Perkins and upright bassist Marshall Grant (the Tennessee Two), helping keep the tracks lean, tight, and focused. Cash’s baritone is rich and vibrant, whether he’s pledging his heart (“I’d Rather Die Young”) or celebrating the vagabond life (“One More Ride”). His self-penned tunes are especially strong, displaying both a depth of feeling and a playful wit that marked his continued maturity as a songwriter. Especially memorable are his signature tunes “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” (a Western ballad with a timeless ring) and “I Still Miss Someone” (a lost-love lament of aching beauty). Songs like “Frankie’s Man, Johnny” (a clever updating of a traditional murder narrative) and “Pickin’ Time” add some humor to the mix, while covers of Dorothy Love Coates’ “That’s Enough” and Ira Stanphill’s “Suppertime” reflect Cash’s abiding Christian faith.

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