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Various Artists: The Rockin' Roots of Johnny Cash

Track List

>Aint No Grave Can Hold My Body Down - The Fisk Jubilee Singers
>I Still Miss Someone - Rosanne Cash
>Comments By: Tommy Cash/Tim Robbins - George Jones/Kris Kristofferson/Willie Nelson
>Big River - George Jones/Kris Kristofferson/Marty Stuart/Travis Tritt/Willie Nelson
>I Walk the Line - John Mellencamp/Marty Stuart/Travis Tritt
>Hey Porter - John Mellencamp/Hank Williams, Jr.
>Comments By: Hank Williams/Tim Robbins - Brooks & Dunn
>Ring of Fire - Rodney Crowell/Hank Williams, Jr.
>Comments By: Kris Kristofferson/Ronnie Dunn - Kid Rock
>Jackson - Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives/Brooks & Dunn
>Comments By: Rodney Crowell/Tim Robbins - Rosanne Cash
>Understand Your Man/Dont Think Twice It's Alright - Jack Clement/Rodney Crowell
>What Is Truth - Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow
>Rock Island Line - Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives/Steve Earle
>Comments By: Marshall Grant/Rosanne Cash - Johnny Western
>Tennessee Flat Top Box - Larry Gatlin/Rosanne Cash/Laura Cash
>Guess Things Happen That Way - Jack Clement/Willie Nelson/Sheryl Crow
>Comments By: Tim Robbins/Trent Reznor/Sheryl Crow - Kris Kristofferson
>Hurt - Dave Matthews/Emmylou Harris/Sheryl Crow
>Comments By: Bono/Tim Robbins - Willie Nelson
>Folsom Prison Blues - Randy Scruggs/Steve Earle
>Rebel, The (Johnny Yuma) - Johnny Western/Kid Rock/Hank Williams, Jr.
>[Untitled] - Jimmy Tittle/Sheryl Crow
>September When It Comes - Rosanne Cash
>We'll Meet Again - The Cash Family
>If I Were a Carpenter - Willie Nelson/Sheryl Crow
>Comments By: Dan Rather/Kris Kristofferson
>Sunday Morning Coming Down - Kris Kristofferson
>Long Black Veil - Emmylou Harris/Dave Matthews
>Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) - Willie Nelson
>Passin' Thru - Randy Scruggs
>Comments By: Al Gore/Kid Rock
>There Ain't No Good Chain Gang - Kid Rock/Hank Williams, Jr.
>I'll See You Again - Jimmy Tittle/Sheryl Crow
>Comments By: Ray Charles/Tim Robbins
>September When It Comes - Rosanne Cash
>We'll Meet Again

Album Notes

Performers include: Leadbelly, Hank Williams, Monroe Brothers.

Tribute albums dedicated to country music legends are fairly common these days. When done right, they serve to remind the listening public of the artist's body of songs and contribution to the genre. Less common, though as important, are albums that gather the songs that influenced an important artist. The Roots of Johnny Cash does just that, gathering songs from the Carter Family, Roy Acuff, and a number of others. Many, like Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Merle Travis' "Dark as a Dungeon," will be familiar to fans of older country music. Most of these songs, "Rock Island Line," "Wreck of the Old '97," and "Wabash Cannonball," would be recorded by Cash at some point in his career. There are also several lesser-known influences like Vernon Dalhart, Leon Payne, and the Rouse Brothers. A particularly fascinating connection comes from the folk/blues contingent, featuring singers like Leadbelly and Furry Lewis; fascinating, because many forget that blues played a central role in early country music. Jimmie Rodgers' "Waiting for a Train," infused with bluesy slide guitar, also reinforces this connection. The selections on The Roots of Johnny Cash emphasize that many of these influences were not contemporaries of Cash, meaning that he was firmly grounded in the past. This added to the uniqueness of his sound and approach. Indeed, there has always been a power in Cash's voice that reaches back to something more elemental. The Roots of Johnny Cash offers a good place for the listener to dig deeper into country music's past and to better understand the background of one of country music's greatest icons. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.


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