15 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded on May 12, 1997, in New York City, this is a singular and special concert document. It shows Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson together with two guitars, trading songs in front of a small audience, with no guests or extra instrumentation. Usually these “unplugged” shows are on some level a spectacle or a gimmick, but in this case it really is all about the music. The performances here are very much in line with Cash’s “American Recordings” series, and were overseen by the same producer, Rick Rubin. Rubin understood that these veterans were at their best when they were working casually, with the most basic tools. They sing a couple songs together, but most of the time they trade off on their most famous songs, as Nelson accompanies Cash on guitar or vice versa. While both men are in prime form, it’s a special treat to hear Nelson in this setting, since Cash had already performed many of his songs in this style for American Recordings. These versions of “Me and Paul,” “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “Always On My Mind” are about as close as you’ll ever come to having Willie performing on your back porch.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded on May 12, 1997, in New York City, this is a singular and special concert document. It shows Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson together with two guitars, trading songs in front of a small audience, with no guests or extra instrumentation. Usually these “unplugged” shows are on some level a spectacle or a gimmick, but in this case it really is all about the music. The performances here are very much in line with Cash’s “American Recordings” series, and were overseen by the same producer, Rick Rubin. Rubin understood that these veterans were at their best when they were working casually, with the most basic tools. They sing a couple songs together, but most of the time they trade off on their most famous songs, as Nelson accompanies Cash on guitar or vice versa. While both men are in prime form, it’s a special treat to hear Nelson in this setting, since Cash had already performed many of his songs in this style for American Recordings. These versions of “Me and Paul,” “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “Always On My Mind” are about as close as you’ll ever come to having Willie performing on your back porch.

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