139. Johnny Cash – “Unchained”

So, as most of you probablky now, Cash had a huge revival when paired with rap and heavy metal impresario Rick Rubin for American Recordings. This was the follow up when Cash was joined by Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers as backing band.

Cash johnny cash unchained album coverThis is a curious effort.  Cash’s standout features – his voice and laconic but heartfelt delivery – are certainly on display.  So too, are the slightly quirky song choices, most notably his cover of Soundgarden‘s Rusty Cage.

But, it all sounds a little too easy.  He isn’t pushed to deliver anything challenging, and he doesn’t surprise quite enough.  There are  a few too many twee song choices too, especially the always corny I’ve Been Everywhere.

This is certainly not my ‘go to’ Cash CD.  I do smirk a little at his somewhat misogynistic Mean Eyed Cat and sing along to the bass vocals on I Never Picked Cotton. Country Boy is a fantastically paced track where the band is used very effectively. Likewise, I’m certain Southern Accent will spring to mind once or twice on my impending US travels.

Cash would do better than this album, but a lot of bands wouldn’t.

File under: Could be more unfettered

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