Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)

Johnny Cash ◊ American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)

 Tento člověk Johnny Cash byl charakter. Vstřebával jsem z jeho přístupu k písni všechno, co mi moje duševní kapacita umožňovala. Vzhledem k tomu, že toto je jeho 93. album, musím říct, že mám co dělat, abych se alespoň přiblížil k polovině toho, co vydal. Vydání tohoto alba se paradoxně už Johnny Cash nedožil, tím více to však inspiruje k představivosti, jak toto nahrávání probíhalo. Věděl zřejmě, že se blíží konec a proto vložil do písní úplně všechno z těch nejniternějších zákoutí svého srdce. Moje vnímání hudby ovlivnil daleko více než Bob Dylan nebo Elvis Presley. Proč tomu tak bylo a proč tomu tak stále je, ukazuje i tento fakt: "Even so, Cash declared that he was "the biggest sinner of them all", and viewed himself overall as a complicated and contradictory man. Accordingly, Cash is said to have "contained multitudes", and has been deemed "the philosopher-prince of American country music"."   Ben Tais Amundssen

Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) Side TwoJohnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) Inside 1Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) Inside 2

 © Marvin Koner  © Don Hunstein 

 © David Gahr            Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways
Birth name: John R. Cash
Born: February 26, 1932, Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
Died: September 12, 2003, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres: Country, rock and roll, gospel
Occupations: Singer-songwriter, musician, actor
Instruments: Vocals, guitar
Notable instruments: Martin Acoustic Guitars
Years active: 1955–2003
Album release: July 3, 2006/July 4 (CD)
Record Label:
American Recordings – B0002769-01, Lost Highway – B0002769-01
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, CD, CD REMASTER (2009)
Duration:     42:52
A1  Help Me
Songwriter – Larry Gatlin  2:51  
A2  God's Gonna Cut You Down
Written-By – Traditional  2:38  
A3  Like The 309
Songwriter – Johnny Cash  4:35  
A4  If You Could Read My Mind
Songwriter – Gordon Lightfoot  4:30  
A5  Further On Up The Road
Songwriter – Bruce Springsteen  3:24  
A6  On The Evening Train
Songwriter – Hank Williams  4:17  
B1  I Came To Believe
Songwriter – Johnny Cash  3:44  
B2  Love's Been Good To Me
Songwriter – Rod McKeun*  3:18  
B3  A Legend In My Time
Songwriter – Don Gibson  2:37  
B4  Rose Of My Heart
Songwriter – Hugh Moffatt  3:18  
B5  Four Strong Winds
Songwriter – Ian Tyson  4:34  
B6  I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now
Songwriter – Lou Herscher, Saul Klein  3:00
Cash engineer David "Fergie" Ferguson (assisted by Jimmy Tittle) and Rubin oversaw the completion of the recordings. Other musicians on the album include keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarists Mike Campbell, Smoky Hormel, Matt Sweeney and Jonny Polonsky.
Johnny Cash – vocal, guitar
Laura Cash – fiddle
Dennis Crouch – bass guitar
Smokey Hormel – guitar
Pat McLaughlin – guitar
Larry Perkins – guitar
Jonny Polonsky – guitar
Randy Scruggs – guitar
Marty Stuart – guitar
Benmont Tench – organ, piano, harpsichord
Pete Wade – guitar
Mac Wiseman – guitar
Additional personnel:
Martyn Atkins – photography
Christine Cano – art direction, design
John Carter Cash – executive producer
Lindsay Chase – production coordination
Greg Fidelman – mixing
Paul Figueroa – mixing assistant
Dan Leffler – mixing assistant
Vlado Meller – mastering
Rick Rubin – producer, liner notes
David Campbell - string arranger
Mark Santangelo – mastering assistant
Jimmy Tittle – assistant engineer
Chart performance:
Even in death, Johnny Cash topped the Billboard 200 with the album American V: A Hundred Highways. It is his first No. 1 album since 1969's Johnny Cash at San Quentin with 88,000 copies sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Chart (2006)  /  Peak position
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums    #1
U.S. Billboard 200    #1
Canadian Albums Chart    #4
Song information:
The liner notes of Unearthed, a box set composed of outtakes from the first four entries into the series, claim "around 50" songs were recorded during the American V sessions before Cash's death on September 12, 2003. However, only two albums worth of material will be released, including American VI: Ain't No Grave, which was released in February 2010.
As the other American series albums, the album includes covers, originals, and a re-recording of a song. The originals on this album are "I Came to Believe" and "Like the 309", the latter of which was the last song Cash ever wrote before passing away.
The album takes its name from a lyric on the track "Love's Been Good to Me" by Rod McKuen; the opening verse begins (emphasis added):
I have been a rover
I have walked alone
Hiked a hundred highways
Never found a home
Art Direction, Design – Christine Cano
Guitar – Jonny Polonsky, Matt Sweeney, Mike Campbell, Pat McLaughlin, Randy Scruggs, Smokey Hormel
Mastered By – Vlado Meller
Mastered By [Assistant] – Mark Santangelo
Mixed By – David Ferguson, Greg Fidelman
Mixed By [Assistant] – Dan Leffler, Paul Figueroa
Performer – Johnny Cash
Performer [Additional Musicians] – Dennis Crouch, Jack Clement, Josh Graves, Larry Perkins, Laura Cash, Mac Wiseman, Mark Howard (7), Marty Stuart, Pete Wade
Photography By – Martyn Atkins
Piano, Harpsichord, Organ – Benmont Tench
Producer [Album Production Coordinator] – Lindsay Chase
Producer [Associate] – John Carter Cash
Producer, Liner Notes – Rick Rubin
Recorded By – David Ferguson
Recorded By [Assistant] – Jimmy Tittle
Recorded at Cash Cabin Studio, Hendersonville, TN and Akadamie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, Los Angeles, CA.
Mixed at Akadamie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, Los Angeles, CA.
Mastered at Sony Mastering, NY, NY.
Pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
American V: A Hundred Highways is the 93rd overall album and a posthumous album by Johnny Cash released on July 4, 2006. As the title implies, it is the fifth entry in Cash's American series. Like its predecessors, American V: A Hundred Highways is produced by Rick Rubin and released on Rubin's American Recordings record label via Lost Highway Records, as they currently distribute country releases from the American Recordings label. It was certified Gold on 8/18/2006 by the R.I.A.A.
1."Help Me" (Larry Gatlin) – 2:51
Previously recorded by Kris Kristofferson for Jesus Was a Capricorn (1972)
2."God's Gonna Cut You Down" (Traditional) – 2:38
Previously recorded by Odetta for Sings Ballads and Blues (1956), by Elvis Presley for How Great Thou Art (1967), and by The Blind Boys of Alabama (as "Run On for a Long Time") for Spirit of the Century (2001)
3."Like the 309" (Johnny Cash) – 4:35
4."If You Could Read My Mind" (Gordon Lightfoot) – 4:30
Originally recorded by Lightfoot for Sit Down Young Stranger (1970)
5."Further On (Up the Road)" (Bruce Springsteen) – 3:25
Originally recorded by Springsteen for The Rising (2002)
6."On the Evening Train" (Hank Williams) – 4:17
7."I Came to Believe" (Johnny Cash) – 3:44
Cash originally wrote this song prior to the sessions for this album
8."Love's Been Good to Me" (Rod McKuen) – 3:18
Originally recorded by Frank Sinatra for A Man Alone & Other Songs of Rod McKuen (1969)
9."A Legend in My Time" (Don Gibson) – 2:37
Originally recorded by Gibson for Sweet Dreams and Roy Orbison for Lonely and Blue (both 1960)
10."Rose of My Heart" by (Hugh Moffatt) – 3:18
Written in 1981 or 1982 and recorded by many artists, including Moffat for Troubadour (1989)
11."Four Strong Winds" (Ian Tyson) – 4:34
Previously recorded by Ian and Sylvia, John Denver and Neil Young
12."I'm Free from the Chain Gang Now" (Lou Herscher, Saul Klein) – 3:00
Originally recorded by Cash for The Sound of Johnny Cash (1962)
Review  by William Ruhlmann
American V: A Hundred Highways is the long-awaited album of Johnny Cash's final recordings, the basic tracks for which (i.e., Cash's vocals) were recorded in 2002-2003, with overdubs added by producer Rick Rubin after his death on September 12, 2003, at age 71. Between 1994 and 2002, Cash and Rubin had succeeded in fashioning a third act for the veteran country singer's career, following his acclaimed 1950s work for Sun Records and his popular recordings for Columbia in the 1960s and '70s. In the '80s, Cash's star had faded, but Rubin reinvented him as a hip country-folk-rock elder at 62 with American Recordings (1994), his first new studio album to reach the pop charts in 18 years. Unchained (1996) and American III: Solitary Man (2000) continued the comeback, at least as far as the critics were concerned, though none of the albums was actually a big seller. But American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), propelled by Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" and a powerful video, stayed in the pop charts longer than any Cash album since 1969's Johnny Cash at San Quentin. By 2002, however, Cash was in failing health, homebound and in a wheelchair, and he suffered a personal blow when his wife, June Carter Cash, died on May 15, 2003. The American series, which posited Cash as an aged sage and the repository for a bottomless American songbook, had already shown a predilection for gloom in the name of gravity; it's no surprise that the fifth and final volume would be even more concerned with, as three earlier Cash compilations had put it, God, Love, and Murder. The ailing septuagenarian certainly sounds like he's near the end of his life, but that said, he doesn't sound bad. Cash was never a great singer in a technical sense: he hadn't much range, his pitch often wobbled, and his lack of breath control sometimes found him grasping for sound at the end of lines. But he was a great singer in the sense of projecting a persona through his voice; his emotional range, which went from a Sinatra-like swagger to an almost embarrassingly intimate vulnerability, was as wide as the spread of notes he could hit confidently was narrow. Such a singer doesn't really lose that much with age; in fact, he gains even more interpretive depth. Listening to this album, one can't get around the knowledge that it is a posthumous collection made in Cash's last days, but even without that context, it would have much the same impact.

  © Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels
The album begins with two religious songs, Larry Gatlin's "Help Me," a plea to God, and the traditional "God's Gonna Cut You Down," which, in a sense, answers that plea. The finality of death thus established, Cash launches into what is billed as the last song he ever wrote, "Like the 309," which is about a train taking his casket away. The same image is used later in the cover of Hank Williams' "On the Evening Train," in which a man and his child put the coffin of a wife and mother on another train. Cash sings these songs in a restrained manner, and even has a sense of humor in "Like the 309," in which he complains about his asthma: "It should be awhile/Before I see Doctor Death/So it would sure be nice/If I could get my breath." In between the two train songs come songs that may not have been about death when their authors wrote them, but sure sound like they are here. As written, Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" seems to concern a romantic breakup expressed in literary and cinematic terms, but in Cash's voice, lines like "You know that ghost is me" and "But stories always end" become inescapably elegiac. Bruce Springsteen's "Further On (Up the Road)" is even easier to interpret as a call to the hereafter, with lines like "Got on my dead man's suit and my smilin' skull ring/My lucky graveyard boots and song to sing." These two songs make a pair with the album's two closing songs. Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds" is, like the Lightfoot selection, a folk standard by a Canadian songwriter, also nominally about romantic dissolution, although here the singer who is "bound for moving on" doesn't seem likely to come back. And the closing song, "I'm Free from the Chain Gang Now," may have lyrics implying that the unjustly imprisoned narrator has been set free, but in Cash's voice it sounds like he's been executed instead and is singing from beyond the grave. The four songs in between "On the Evening Train" and "Four Strong Winds," dealing with faith and love (the former expressed in a previously recorded 1984 Cash copyright, "I Came to Believe"), are weaker than what surrounds them, but they serve to complete the picture. And it's worth noting that Cash at death's door still outsings croaking Rod McKuen on the songwriter's ever-cloying "Love's Been Good to Me." Cash may never have heard Rubin's overdubs, but they are restrained and tasteful, never doing anything more than to support the singer and the song. If the entire series of American recordings makes for a fitting finale to a great career, American V: A Hundred Highways is a more than respectable coda.

   © John Seakwood © Senor McGuire © Charles Peterson © Jim Marshall © Andy Earl © Dana Tynan

 © Photo credit: Showtime Music Archives © Johnny Cash 1969; Source: LOOK April 29, 1969. p.74; Author: Joel Baldwin
Credit:Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Magazine Photograph Collection, card number lmc1998005787/PP

Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)