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Monday, May 29, 2023
Johnny Cash

Record Routine: Johnny Cash comes inside on new outtakes collection

On March 25, Legacy Recordings released Out Among the Stars, a full album comprised of 12 never-before heard studio recordings by the late Johnny Cash. The tracks were unearthed by Cash and June Carter’s only son, John Carter Cash, who said he found the recordings while browsing the family archives. The tracks were produced by Country Music Hall of Famer Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s in Nashville, Tenn. and were then shelved by Columbia Records.

June Carter joins Cash on two of the album’s tracks—the classic Johnny & June fun, flirty, "Jackson”-esque “Baby Ride Easy” and the yearning, romantic “Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time.” Fellow country music icon Waylon Jennings joins Cash on one of the highlights of the album “I’m Movin’ On,” a fast-paced and bluesy toe-tapper.

The album is a fantastic mixture of Cash’s cowboy-rock roots (“She Used to Love Me a Lot”) and upbeat commercial pop country of the time (“If I Told You Who it Was”). There are also a few ballads to tug at the heartstrings such as the sweet and heartfelt “After All” and the nostalgic and sentimental “Tennessee.”

Two of the tracks were written by Cash himself (“Call Your Mother” and “I Came to Believe”) and they pinpoint the importance of Out Among the Stars as an album overall. The era that Cash created this piece was during the burning-out of his fame (before his resurgence in the early '90s) and the height of his sobriety after years of drug abuse. These two songs reflect his life at the time because they both seem to look back on the past in a reflective, regretful yet matter-of-fact manner and seem to help him come to terms with what had happened in his life and how far he had come.

John Carter Cash spoke with USA Today of his own personal connection with the album, but I feel his words can speak for any Johnny Cash fans for whom this album is a sort of time machine to look back on their idol in his better days: "What I hear, what gets me so excited, is personal. I'm getting back in contact with the man who was my best friend in 1984. I get to hang out with these records and spend some time with my dad, remember him as he was at that time in my life."

Rating: A

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