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Release Date 16 August 2005

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Grammy Winner For 2006

Category 87 - Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

* The Legend
Ian Cuttler, art director (Johnny Cash)
[Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings]


A double disc of Johnny Cash's home-recorded music will be released in May by Sony BMG's Legacy Recordings. Personal File features music Cash recorded in his House of Cash studio near Nashville in the early 1970s through the early 1980s. It includes original songs, covers, poetry and stories about his teenage years. None of the 49 performances on Personal File has ever been released. In addition, Live in Denmark, a Cash concert from the 1970s, is scheduled for DVD release in June. 

Release Date 16 August 2005

NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Cash's Legacy Collected in New Boxed Set

Four-CD Package Includes Several Previously Unreleased Songs 

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

In the absence of a complete Johnny Cash boxed set collection, Cash fans have to make do with what exists. To date, that consists of the five-CD

American Recordings set Cash Unearthed, Germany's Bear Family Records' series of various boxes of two, four, five and six CDs from throughout Cash's career, the seven-CD Varese set The Original Sun Albums: Complete Collection and various other short compilations. For years, because of licensing issues, his Sun and Columbia recordings could not coexist on the same collection. That began to change with the Legacy Records 2002 two-CD set titled The Essential Johnny Cash, which amounted to a good introduction to Cash's body of work.

Now, Legacy extends Cash's legacy considerably with a more complete four-CD package, Johnny Cash: The Legend, which includes a number of previously unreleased recordings. Obviously, the later American Recordings are not included, but this box features the meat and potatoes of most of Cash's long career.

The songs come from recordings spanning more than four decades, from the early Sun Records work in the mid-1950s, through Cash's glory years on Columbia, down to his sporadic recordings in more recent days.

There are splendid things I hadn't heard in quite a while, such as the fine collaboration on "One More Ride" by Cash, Doc Watson and Marty Stuart from the latter's 1991 CD Busy Bee Café. And the old Sun songs retain their shine. Just listen to "The Wreck of the Old 97" from 1957 with just Cash and guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant working their minimalist musical magic. Or a sparkling version of Gene Autry's "Goodbye, Little Darlin'." Other old early Sun singles still sound brand new when listened to back-to-back, such as "I Walk the Line" followed by "There You Go" and "Home of the Blues" and "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way" and "The Ways of a Woman in Love."

There are also reminders of how Cash's work was squeezed by commercial pressures: 1963's trumpet-laden "Ring of Fire" was soon followed by the sound-alike "The Matador." And the same trumpets lingered in the subsequent -- but lovely -- "Understand Your Man." And the same sound lingered in 1967's forgettable "Rosanna's Going Wild."

The unreleased material here, except for one cut, comes directly from a forgotten trove of tapes in the House of Cash, which had been closed for some time since disastrous flooding hit the property. Gregg Geller, who produced Johnny Cash: The Legend, found a stash of hundreds of tapes, that bore little documentation, in a room behind the House of Cash studio. After a thorough study, many of them proved to be routine demos of songwriters pitching songs to the House of Cash. Others were album tracks that had been set aside and forgotten.

But there were some gems strewn among the many tapes. Among the several previously unreleased cuts are a stark early cut of the Leadbelly classic "Goodnight Irene" from 1954 or 1955 with Perkins and Grant. Cash does a dynamic version of Billy Joe Shaver's "You Can't Beat Jesus Christ," with Shaver adding vocals and guitar, from 1980. Elvis Costello joins Cash on the rare George Jones composition "We Ought to Be Ashamed," which was recorded during Christmas 1979 in the home of Nick Lowe and his then-wife Carlene Carter (Cash's stepdaughter and June Carter Cash's daughter), with Dave Edmunds producing.

The final treasure was a song called "It Takes One to Know Me." First, it appeared with no songwriter credit as a 1977 vocal demo by Cash, accompanying himself on guitar. A tape later found was a demo by the song's writer, Carlene Carter. Yet another tape yielded a rough of a vocal duet of the song by Cash and June Carter Cash over string section tracks. Ultimately, Johnny and June's son, John Carter Cash, produced a finished version of the song with backing vocals by his wife, Laura, and himself and a vocal by Carlene Carter. The result is well worth the effort.

What's missing here? Not much, as long as you can't possibly include everything on a four-CD box. I would love to hear again such Cash miscues as "The Chicken in Black." Cash did have quite a sense a humor, even though it was mostly masqueraded.

Ultimately, this is a very well-designed, intelligently packaged boxed set, one that's worthy of the rich, still unfolding Johnny Cash legacy.

1. I Walk The Line 
2. There You Go 
3. Home Of The Blues 
4. Ballad Of A Teenage Queen 
5. Guess Things Happen That Way 
6. Ways Of A Woman In Love, The 
7. Don't Take Your Guns To Town 
8. Ring Of Fire 
9. Matador, The 
10. Understand Your Man 
11. Ballad Of Ira Hayes, The 
12. Orange Blossom Special 
13. One On The Right Is On The Left 
14. Rosanna's Going Wild 
15. Folsom Prison Blues 
16. Daddy Sang Bass 
17. Boy Named Sue, A 
18. What Is Truth 
19. Sunday Morning Coming Down 
20. Flesh And Blood 
21. Man In Black 
22. Thing Called Love, A 
23. Kate 
24. Oney 
25. Any Old Wind That Blows 
26. One Piece At A Time 
27. Ghost Riders In The Sky 
1. Hey Porter 
2. Cry Cry Cry 
3. Luther Played The Boogie 
4. Get Rhythm 
5. Give My Love To Rose 
6. I Was There When It Happened 
7. Big River 
8. I Still Miss Someone 
9. Pickin' Time 
10. Man On The Hill, The 
11. Five Feet High And Rising 
12. Tennessee Flat Top Box 
13. I Got Stripes 
14. Troublesome Waters 
15. Long Black Veil, The 
16. Dark As A Dungeon 
17. Wall, The 
18. 25 Minutes To Go 
19. Cocaine Blues 
20. Doin' My Time 
21. I Will Rock And Roll With You 
22. Without Love 
23. Big LIght, The 
24. Highway Patrolman 
25. I'm Never Gonna Roam Again 
26. When I'm Gray 
27. Forever Young 
1. Wreck Of The Old 97, The 
2. Rock Island Line 
3. Goodnight Irene 
4. Goodbye Little Darling 
5. Born To Lose 
6. Walkin' The Blues 
7. Frankie's Man, Johnny 
8. Delia's Gone 
9. In The Jailhouse Now 
10. Waiting For A Train 
11. Casey Jones 
12. Legend Of John Henry's Hammer, The 
13. I've Been Working On The Railroad 
14. Sweet Betsy From Pike 
15. Streets Of Laredo 
16. Bury Me Not On The Lone Prarie 
17. Down In The Valley 
18. Wabash Cannonball 
19. Great Speckled Bird, The 
20. Wildwood Flower 
21. In Them Old Cottonfields Back Home 
22. Pick A Bale O'Cotton 
23. Old Shep 
24. I'll Be All Smiles Tonight 
25. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry 
26. Time Changes Everything 
1. Keep On The Sunny Side - (with The Carter Family) 
2. Diamonds In The Rough - (with The Carter Family) 
3. There'll Be Peace In The Valley For Me - (with The Carter Family) 
4. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord - (with The Carter Family) 
5. Another Man Done Gone - (with Anita Carter) 
6. Pick The Wildwood Flower - (with Mother Maybelle Carter) 
7. Jackson - (with June Carter) 
8. If I Were A Carpenter - (with June Carter) 
9. Girl From The North Country - (with Bob Dylan) 
10. One More Ride - (with Marty Staurt) 
11. You Can't Beat Jesus Christ - (with Billy Joe Shaver) 
12. There Ain't No Good Chain Gang - (with Waylon Jennings) 
13. We Ought To Be Ashamed - (with Elvis Costello) 
14. Crazy Old Soldier - (with Ray Charles) 
15. Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine - (with Tommy Cash) 
16. Who's Gene Autry - (with John Carter Cash) 
17. Night Hank Williams Came To Town, The - (with Waylon Jennings) 
18. I Walk The Line Revisited - (with Rodney Crowell) 
19. Highwayman - (with Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson/Kris Kristofferson) 
20. Wanderer, The - (with U2) 
21. September When It Comes - (with Rosanne Cash) 
22. Tears In The Holston River - (with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) 
23. Far Side Banks Of Jordan - (with June Carter Cash) 
24. It Takes One To Know Me - (with June Carter Cash/Carlene Carter/John Carter Cash) 
1. KWEM Announcements And Advertisements 
2. Johhny Cash Show Intro And Theme 
3. Wide Open Road 
4. Home Equipment Company Advertisement 
5. One More Ride 
6. Home Equipment Company Advertisement / Luther Perkins Intro 
7. Luther's Boogie 
8. Belshazzar Intro 
9. Belshazzar 
10. Closing Comments And Theme 
11. Overton Park Shel "Country Music Jamboree" Advertisement -

 (with Bill Strength) 
Product Notes: Top 

Full title: The Legend (Deluxe).

This Deluxe Edition of THE LEGEND contains a bonus CD, a bonus DVD and a 12"x16" 128 page book

Ring Of Fire - The Johnny Cash Musical 


                                    About the Johnny Cash Musical... 

Ring of Fire brings to life through the words and music, the stories made famous in Johnny Cash’s songs. The show features 38 of the music legend’s songs such as “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “The Man in Black,” and his final hit, “Hurt.”

Ring of Fire was created by Tony Award® winner Richard Maltby, Jr. and Conceived by William Meade. Directed by Richard Maltby, Jr., Ring of Fire features musical direction by Jeff Lisenby and choreography by Lisa Shriver. 

The cast includes Eric Anthony, Jeb Brown, Laurie Canaan, Jason Edwards, Tony® Award winner Jarrod Emick, Dan Immel, Ron Krasinski, Jeff Lisenby, David M. Lutken, Beth Malone, Cass Morgan, Brent Moyer, Randy Redd and two-time Grammy® Award winner Lari White.

The design team includes Neil Patel (scenic production designer), David C. Woolard (costume design), Ken Billington (lighting design), Peter Fitzgerald & Carl Casella (sound design) and Michael Clark (projection design). 

                                    The History of RING OF FIRE
                          by Richard Maltby, Jr. (Director / Creator)

About six years ago, Bill Meade got the idea for putting the music of Johnny Cash on the stage. Many people had approached Johnny, but only Bill's idea convinced him, and after about five years, just before he died, Johnny gave Bill the stage rights to this material.

When Bill asked me to create a theatrical show out of the music of Johnny Cash, he gave me a stack of CD's and books about two feet high (and rising). I listened and read and began to think, and two things became immediately clear. First, we shouldn't attempt to put Johnny Cash himself on the stage. The persona, the voice, are unduplicatable, and the very best we could achieve would be a poor imitation. Second, as interesting as Johnny Cash's life was, dramatizing it on the stage (it seemed to me) would only lessen, not enhance, it. A film could do that, perhaps, and indeed there is a movie coming out soon called I Walk the Line which will probably dramatize his life very well.

To me, Johnny Cash's biography wasn't the most important story available to tell. Taking all the songs together, adding in the life he led, the person he was, the people he knew, loved, and sang about, it seemed to me that there is another story here. It's an almost mythic American tale -- of growing up in simple, dirt-poor surroundings in the heartland of America, leaving home, traveling on wings of music, finding love, misadventure, success, faith, redemption, and the love of a good woman -- and eventually returning home. It's about the journey of a man in search of his own soul, which is what in fact emerges when you consider all the details of Cash's life together. That seemed to be a worthy story to put on a stage -- and the best part is we could tell it entirely in the songs.

I refer to this as a story, but you won't find a plot, or dramatized scenes, on stage in this entertainment. The details are there for those who choose to find them, but along with them are glimpses of the world Cash lived in -- of home, and family, and the land; of hard work and adversity; of faith and love and compassion for people who lead hard lives or are down on their luck. Humor is what gets you through this life, as these songs so often show -- and the simple hungers that draw one person to another are addressed with complete directness. These are songs full of love and feeling, wit and understanding, and like all country songs, they tell it like it is.

I have complete faith that although we do not dramatize Johnny Cash's life, by the end of the show the audience will feel that they have spent the evening in the presence of an extraordinary and real man. In many ways Johnny Cash wrote and sang about the lives we all lead, regardless of where we lead them. If, watching this show, you feel yourself being drawn back to your roots, it isn't accidental -- even if you've forgotten what those roots are. I hope as we bring to life these wonderful songs, we will touch your heart, mind and soul as well, and take you too back to a part of your life you may want to return to.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - He topped Nashville charts, conquered New York publishing and is the subject of a new movie. Now the late Johnny Cash will reach Broadway in February with the opening of "Ring of Fire," a musical featuring the classic songs of the legend known as "The Man in Black."

The producers said on Wednesday the musical featuring 38 of Cash's songs would begin performances in New York in February, directed by Richard Maltby, who won a Tony Award for conceiving and directing the Fats Waller musical "Ain't Misbehavin'."

The show follows a string of so-called "jukebox musicals" using an artist's song catalog, and comes within months of a biopic about the country legend, "Walk the Line," which was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival this month.

After a career that spanned five decades, Cash died in 2003, just a few months after the death of his wife, country singer June Carter Cash.

He told his own story -- from his youth as the son of an

Arkansas sharecropper, to touring with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and his descent into drug addiction -- in the book "Cash: The Autobiography," published in 1997.

The musical, which is playing a pre-Broadway engagement in Buffalo, New York, this month, features all the hits from "I Walk the Line" to "The Man in Black" and "Country Boy."

The Buffalo opening won a good review from The Toronto Star, which urged readers to put aside reservations about jukebox musicals based on disappointing recent shows such as those based on the music of John Lennon and the Beach Boys.

"There's no cliched stage biography here, nor is there an artificially constructed story trying to string it all together," the newspaper wrote. "What you get are three dozen numbers that Cash performed in his lifetime, presented in an impressionistic format that suggests the man's life journey, without ever spelling it out."

No single actor sings all Cash's songs or plays him.

"The persona, the voice, are unduplicatable, and the very best we could achieve would be a poor imitation," Maltby said, explaining the decision not to present Cash himself on stage.

In the program notes for the Buffalo production, he said Cash, who had rejected several previous ideas for a musical, had given his approval for the project shortly before he died.

Maltby said that while it is not Cash's life story, what emerges is "an almost mythic American tale -- of growing up in simple, dirt-poor surroundings in the heartland of America, leaving home, traveling on wings of music, finding love, misadventure, success, faith, redemption, and the love of a good woman."


Revised: September 03, 2007

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