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Cash’s ‘Unearthed’ Box Set Unveiled
A sprawling five-disc Johnny Cash box set will arrive Nov. 25 from American Recordings/Lost Highway. Dubbed “Unearthed,” the set features 79 songs, 64 of them previously unreleased and produced by Rick Rubin during the late country great’s sessions for his four “American Recordings” albums released between 1994 and 2002.
Rubin first unveiled plans for the set exclusively to in August. Cash died Sept. 12 from complications related to diabetes at the age of 71.
The first three discs feature such finds as solo acoustic versions of “Long Black Veil” and “Flesh and Blood,” and covers of Steve Earle’s “Devil’s Right Hand,” Roy Orbison’s “Down the Line” and the Neil Young songs “Heart of Gold” and “Pocahontas.”
Discs two and three boast several duets, some with old friends and others with newer acquaintances. On the veteran side, Cash’s former Sun Records labelmate Carl Perkins joins him for a run through the familiar “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” while his bandmate in the Highwaymen, Willie Nelson, shows up on “Like a Soldier.” Glen Campbell sings with Cash on “Gentle on My Mind.”
Skewing away from his contemporaries, late Clash lead singer Joe Strummer joins Cash on a version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and Tom Petty appears on “The Running Kind.” Fiona Apple also sings “Father and Son” with him and Nick Cave joins in on “Cindy.”
Of the Strummer duet, Rubin told, “When we were recording [Cash’s 2002 album] ‘The Man Comes Around,’ Joe was coming every day, because he loved Johnny Cash, and he just happened to be in L.A. on vacation. He actually extended his trip a week longer just to come every day and be around Johnny.”
A solo version of “Redemption Song” also appears on Strummer’s new album, “Streetcore” (Hellcat/Epitaph). “Originally, the song was supposed to be a duet, and we recorded it as a duet. But, just in case, both Johnny and Joe sang the whole song several times,” Rubin explained, noting that the track was nearly complete (“It wasn’t mixed, but most of the overdubs were there”) before Strummer died suddenly in December.
The fourth “Unearthed” disc is subtitled “My Mother’s Hymn Book,” and is comprised of 15 songs from a book of hymns Cash’s mother read to him as a child. Via solo acoustic performances, the deeply spiritual artist revisits such secular songs as “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Do Lord,” “If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven” and “In the Sweet By and By.”
The final disc is a “best of” representation of the four albums Cash released with Rubin at the helm: 1994’s “American Recordings,” 1996’s “Unchained,” 2000’s “American III: Solitary Man” and last year’s “American IV: The Man Comes Around.”
“Unearthed” will also include a 104-page clothbound book including a track-by-track discussion by Cash, Rubin and others. Also featured is one of Cash’s final interviews, in which he and Rubin talk about the body of work they created.
As previously reported, Cash’s life and career will be celebrated with a musical tribute Nov. 10 at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr. and Sheryl Crow are among those confirmed to participate.
Here is the “Cash Unearthed” track list:
Disc I – Who’s Gonna Cry
“Long Black Veil”
“Flesh and Blood”
“Just the Other Side of Nowhere”
“If I Give My Soul”
“Understand Your Man”
“Banks of the Ohio”
“Two Timin’ Woman”
“The Caretaker”
“Old Chunk of Coal”
“I’m Going to Memphis”
“Breaking Bread”
“Waiting for a Train”
“Casey’s Last Ride”
“No Earthly Good”
“The Fourth Man in the Fire”
“Dark as a Dungeon”
“Book Review”
“Down There by the Train”
Disc II – Trouble in Mind:
“I’m a Drifter” (Version 1)
“Trouble In Mind”
“Down the Line”
“I’m Moving On”
“As Long as the Green Grass Shall Grow”
“Heart of Gold”
“The Running Kind” (w/Tom Petty)
“Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”
“Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” (w/Carl Perkins)
“‘T’ for Texas”
“Devil’s Right Hand”
“I’m a Drifter” (Version 2)
“Like a Soldier” (w/Willie Nelson)
“”Drive On” (alternate lyrics)
“Bird on a Wire” (live w/orchestra)
Disc III – Redemption Songs
“A Singer of Songs”
“The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore”
“Redemption Song” (w/Joe Strummer)
“Father and Son” (w/Fiona Apple)
“Chattanooga Sugar Babe”
“He Stopped Loving Her Today”
“Hard Times”
“Wichita Lineman”
“Cindy” (w/Nick Cave)
“Big Iron”
“Salty Dog”
“Gentle on My Mind” (w/Glen Campbell)
“You Are My Sunshine”
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
“The Man Comes Around” (early take)
Disc IV – My Mother’s Hymn Book
“Where We’ll Never Grow Old”
“I Shall Not Be Moved”
“I Am a Pilgrim”
“Do Lord”
“When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”
“If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven”
“I’ll Fly Away”
“Where the Soul of a Man Never Dies”
“Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”
“When He Reached Down”
“In the Sweet By and By”
“I’m Bound for the Promised Land”
“In the Garden”
“Softly and Tenderly”
“Just As I Am”
Disc V – Best of Cash on American
“Delia’s Gone”
“Bird on a Wire”
“The One Rose”
“Rusty Cage”
“Southern Accents”
“Mercy Seat”
“Solitary Man”
“Wayfaring Stranger”
“I Hung My Head”
“The Man Comes Around”
“We’ll Meet Again”