Setlist: The Very Best Of Johnny Cash Live
Sony Legacy, 2010
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/10/2010
Sony Music/Legacy is releasing a new series of CDs featuring live recordings by some of the classic artists of the last half century. The first batch of eleven, Setlist, releases includes Alabama, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Jefferson Airplane, Judas Priest, Kansas, Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Quiet Riot, REO Speedwagon, and the subject of my review today, the legendary Johnny Cash.
The series features live tracks from prior releases ,which have been gathered together with a few unreleased performances thrown in for good measure to create these new compilation albums. They do not have a concert feel, since there is no flow from track to track. What they do accomplish is provide an excellent overview of each artist’s live work at different periods of their career.
Johnny Cash’s career spanned almost half a century. It began with the Sun Label during the ‘50s with fellow labelmates Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley. He released 49 singles that reached the American country top ten, and fifteen of those hit number one. His albums sold tens of millions of copies. He is one of only four people to have been inducted into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame, The Country Music Hall Of Fame, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Setlist: The Very Best Of Johnny Cash Live combines tracks from Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash At Madison Square Garden, The Best Of The Johnny Cash TV Show, Johnny Cash’s America, and Live At Osteraker Prison to form the fourteen track, forty-one minute disc.
There is a healthy dose of his best-known songs: “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Man In Black,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and early hits “I Walk The Line” plus “I Got A Woman” feature his deep baritone and his basic backing band. They all present a nice picture of Cash at his live best.
Tracks such as “Belshazzar,” “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” and “I Still Miss Someone” may have been odd choices, but they add depth to understanding his music.
Setlist: The Very Best Of Johnny Cash Live may not break any new ground but it does cover the old very well. It would have been nice to have had some unreleased material, but this is one of the few Setlist releases to not contain any. Still, if you have not been exposed to Johnny Cash live, this is a good place to start.