Johnny Cash | Bootleg III – LIVE Around the World (Columbia/Legacy)

 

cd johnny-cash-bootleg-iiiThe variety provided by the different contexts (besides changes in the band lineup, the reactions of the audience can’t help but influence the performance) make this album worth having.

 

 

 

Johnny Cash released quite a few albums during his lifetime (his website says he was one of just a few artists to sell over 90 million records) but there’s even more in the vault. Those recordings are now being released as part of the Cash Bootleg series developed by Gregg Geller and Steve Berkowitz. I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as too much Johnny Cash, and the performances on vol. III of the Bootleg series (50 performances, 39 of them previously unreleased, on 2 discs) are an interesting selection spanning the years from 1956 to 1979.

The earliest cuts feature Cash, Luther Perkins, and Marshall Grant playing at the Big “D” Jamboree in Dallas, and include an early version of one of Cash’s signature tunes, “I Walk the Line.” The collection also includes 1962 and 1964 renditions of that song, and a lot of the familiar favorites are here (although generally not in the familiar versions), including “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ballad of Ira Hayes,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “Ring of Fire.” There are also some tunes more often associated with other performers, including “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” from the 1964 New Port Folk Festival, “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” from a 1972 performance at Osteraker Prison in Sweden, and “City of New Orleans” (from the 1973 CBS Records Convention in Nashville).

The occasions for some of these performances are interesting in their own right. A selection of performances at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival is followed by another selection from the Annex 14 NCO Club in Long Binh, Vietnam, in 1969, which is followed (on the second disc) by a set played at the White House in 1970, introduced by none other than President Richard M. Nixon. Other recordings on this set have Cash performing at, among other places, the Carter Fold, New River Ranch, and the Wheeling Jamboree. The variety provided by the different contexts (besides changes in the band lineup, the reactions of the audience can’t help but influence the performance) make this album worth having, even if you already own different recordings of some of the tunes. B+ | Sarah Boslaugh

RIYL: Working in Tennessee; The Legend Begins: Rare & Unreleased Recordings

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