Preview: Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection

Artist: Johnny Cash
Title: Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Format(s): 63-CDs, DD

Columbia and Legacy have been releasing complete catalogs of many artists over the last year or so, but few have been as big as the upcoming Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection.

This new 63-CD set has every album released by Cash on Columbia from 1958's The Fabulous Johnny Cash through 1990's Highwaymen 2, including 35 albums being released for the first time on CD from Columbia/Legacy and 19 early albums being released for the first time in the U.S. in mono.

Willie Nelson, who took part in April’s “We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash” concert in Austin (available on DVD and Blu-ray from Legacy), had this to say about Cash at the event: “I always looked at John as somebody who had been there before me and who was doing it the way he wanted to do it. I always admired and respected him for doing that - he was one of the first rebels, one of the first outlaws (if you want to call him that) that hit Nashville and I was a great fan of his not only for his music but for his attitude.”

Each title is packaged as a mini-LP CD with its original artwork, including the five original gatefold albums in Cash’s Columbia discography. The set is accompanied by a full-color booklet that includes complete discographic information for every album: songwriters, recording dates and cities, musicians, guest performers, producers, release dates, original catalog numbers, Billboard pop and country chart numbers for albums and single tracks, and more.

The booklet also features liner notes by veteran annotator Rich Kienzle, who references many of the Columbia albums along the way. “When one thinks of Johnny Cash’s recordings, one thing is certain,” Kienzle writes. “The Columbia years loom larger than any other phase. A star when he arrived in 1958, when he departed he was an American icon.”

The last two albums in the set are two new compilations:
  • Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar, a 28-song collection of single and non-single tracks released during his Sun Records years (1954-58), including Hey Porter, Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk The Line, Cry! Cry! Cry!, Ballad Of A Teenage Queen, Big River, and more; actually an expanded edition of his 1957 Sun LP, bearing that album’s iconic cover design
  • The Singles, Plus, a 2-CD, 55-song collection (spanning 1958-85) of single sides that did not originally appear on Johnny’s Columbia albums, ‘plus’ guest performances on other artists’ albums, among them Bob Dylan, The Carter Family, Mother Maybelle Carter, June Carter Cash, The Earl Scruggs Revue, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, and Shel Silverstein.
Among the rarities are three concerts and two soundtracks:
  • Johnny Cash pa Osteraker, recorded at Osteraker Prison in Sweden in 1972, released in Europe in 1973, and later added to the U.S. catalog;
  • Strawberry Cake, recorded at the Palladium in London in 1975, and released in 1976, named for the Cash-composed single track that appeared on this album; and
  • Koncert V Praze, recorded at the Sport Hall in Prague in 1978, released on the Czech Supraphon label in 1983, now officially joining the U.S. catalog.
  • Walk the Line, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Gregory Peck as a smalltown Tennessee sheriff, the soundtrack comprised entirely of Johnny Cash songs, featuring his final self-penned #1 country single, Flesh and Blood; and
  • Little Fauss And Big Halsy, the motorcycle racing movie starring Robert Redford, Lauren Hutton and Michael J. Pollard, with a soundtrack mixing vocal and instrumental tunes by Cash and Carl Perkins.
Album List:
  • The Fabulous Johnny Cash (Mono)
  • Hymns By Johnny Cash (Mono)
  • Songs Of Our Soil (Mono)
  • Now There Was A Song! (Mono)
  • Ride This Train (Mono)
  • Hymns From The Heart (Mono)
  • The Sound Of Johnny Cash (Mono)
  • Blood, Sweat And Tears (Mono)
  • Ring Of Fire: The Best Of Johnny Cash (Mono)
  • The Christmas Spirit (Mono)
  • Keep On The Sunny Side - The Carter Family with special guest Johnny Cash (Mono)
  • I Walk The Line (Mono)
  • Bitter Tears: Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The American Indian (Mono)
  • Orange Blossom Special (Mono)
  • Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The True West (Mono)
  • Everybody Loves A Nut (Mono)
  • Happiness Is You (Mono)
  • Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash & June Carter (Mono)
  • From Sea To Shining Sea (Mono)
  • Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (Live)
  • The Holy Land
  • Johnny Cash At San Quentin (Live)
  • Hello, I’m Johnny Cash
  • The Johnny Cash Show (Live)
  • I Walk The Line (Soundtrack)
  • Little Fauss And Big Halsy (Soundtrack)
  • Man In Black
  • A Thing Called Love
  • Johnny Cash: America – A 200-Year Salute In Story And Song
  • Christmas – The Johnny Cash Family
  • Any Old Wind That Blows
  • The Gospel Road (2-CD)
  • Johnny Cash And His Woman
  • Johnny Cash pa Osteraker (Live at Osteraker Prison, Sweden)
  • Ragged Old Flag
  • The Junkie And The Juicehead Minus Me
  • The Johnny Cash Children’s Album
  • Johnny Cash Sings Precious Memories
  • John R. Cash
  • Look At Them Beans
  • Strawberry Cake (Live at the Palladium, London, England)
  • One Piece At A Time
  • The Last Gunfighter Ballad
  • The Rambler
  • I Would Like To See You Again
  • Gone Girl
  • Silver
  • Rockabilly Blues
  • Classic Christmas
  • The Baron
  • The Survivors: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins (Live)
  • The Adventures Of Johnny Cash
  • Johnny 99
  • Koncert V Praze (In Prague Live)
  • Rainbow
  • Highwayman: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson
  • Heroes
  • Highwayman 2: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson
  • At Madison Square Garden (Live)
  • Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar
  • The Singles, Plus (2-CD)

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