Johnny Cash And The Royal Philharmonic

Johnny Cash

Sony, 2020

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Look, we all know the reality of the situation is that Sony is going to keep milking the Cash Cow (see what I did there? That’s comedy, folks) until they run out of recordings – and these aren’t even real recordings, they’re the Royal Philharmonic “reimagining” Cash’s music using their score under original vocals. This sounds like a recipe for an exploitative steaming pile of musical manure that not even Cash can save.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Well, it’s not that bad. However, I can’t say it’s good either; it has its moments, but on the whole this is a tired retread born in the brain of an amoral marketing executive.

First off, the good. The mixing of Cash’s vocals and the Philharmonic is flawless; had I not known this was a pastiche, I would have thought it was recorded live. Songs like “Galway Bay” and “The Highwayman” work quite well, even if it’s eerie to hear a dead guy (Waylon Jennings) on an album that’s trying to sound like it’s recorded live.

And – really – that’s about it.

The bad is legion. Longtime DV Faithful know that I think Bob Dylan’s voice is a crime against nature, and his guest performance on “Girl From The North Country” is worse than usual, attempting to shatter Zeno’s Paradox in a nadir of nasal nastiness. “I Walk The Line” has the strut and confidence stripped right out of it, diluted into the musical equivalent of an incel’s forum post. And as for the cover of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” – that’s a crime. The original song is an intimate, intense, storytelling experience. This version has more bombast and padding than a Donald Trump press conference.

I love Johnny Cash. But this is an idea that someone should have shot down in a pitch meeting, and instead we have to take the CD out back and shoot it like a lame horse. Avoid this one.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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