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CD REVIEW: Johnny Cash – Out Among the Stars

| 6 May 2014 | Reply

CD REVIEW: Johnny Cash – Out Among the Stars
Legacy Recordings
Review by Shayne McGowan

Johnny Cash - Out Among The Stars cover

Out Among the Stars is another posthumously released studio album from Johnny Cash. The recordings come from lost 80s sessions with producer Billy Sherrill, which were shelved by Cash’s record company, Columbia and discovered by Cash’s son in 2012.

Now as much as I love my rock, hard rock and metal, I also have a soft spot for the so called outlaw country artists such as David Allen Coe, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, and indeed Johnny Cash. I don’t keep it a secret, but it has earned me some strange looks over the years.

Why “Out Among the Stars” was ever shelved, I’ll never understand, because it’s great! It is fairly standard Johnny Cash material, and it features the obligatory guest spots from his wife, June Carter, but it features at least two songs that are now amongst my all-time favorite Cash songs.

It’s just really easy to like this stuff. The title track opens this collection, and it’s exactly what you expect from Johnny Cash. He is always the storyteller, and there’s a certain sadness in his delivery that lets us know that although this particular song might not be coming from his personal experience, he’s been there and done it all before.

“Baby Ride Easy” features the first of two June Carter appearances on this record. For lack of a better term, it’s quaint, but it’s not a patch on some of there earlier collaborations. “She Used to Love me a Lot” features that sadness again, and the story within this song is one that many people have lived through. This is one that has made its way in to my Cash favorites. “After All” is much the same, although more on the sadder side of things, while “I’m Movin’ On” picks up the pace, and the mood a little, with a song about leaving a girlfriend who done you wrong. It also features guest vocals from Waylon Jennings.

“If I Told You Who it Was” is a fun song about a chance encounter with a female country star, that become something a little more than just a chance encounter. It’s another track that has become a favorite for me.

“Call Your Mother” is a break-up song, and probably my least favorite of all the songs on this album. “I Drove Her Out of My Mind” is playful and up-beat on the surface, but is actually dark and sinister at its core, and is yet another favorite. “Tennessee” is a song about loving where you live, while “Rock ‘n’ Roll Shoes” is Johnny promising to not stop until the day he dies. “Don’t you Think It’s Come Our Time” is the second appearance of June Carter, and is a little better than “Baby Ride Easy”, but again, not close to their earlier work together.

“I Came to Believe” is the final actual song on “Out Among the Stars”, and caps things off nicely. It’s a fairly simple song, and seems to be Cash’s way of asking for forgiveness. To close out the album, there is an alternate version of “She Used to Love Me A Lot”, which I can take or leave to be honest.

Altogether, this is an excellent collection of songs that long time Johnny Cash fans will love, and I highly recommend it.

Category: CD Reviews

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