Rarities and Tributaries
Johnny Cash, Vic Chesnutt, and more new old sounds
By Jim Caligiuri,
12:58PM, Wed. Feb. 23, 2011
If you’re a fan of Johnny Cash, the new collection of demos and rarities, Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. II (Columbia/Legacy), is a must. The two-disc set begins just before he recorded for Sun Records and ends with a demo of a tune that was used on his television show.
In between, there’s a rare radio transcription from Memphis station KWEM, a multitude of solo demos discovered after his death, including “I Walk the Line” and “Get Rhythm,” a cover of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings” done in Cash’s inimitable style, and a collaboration with Lorne Greene of TV’s Bonanza. With 22 unreleased tracks and a booklet filled with detailed session information and enlightening liner notes, Bootleg Vol. II is both lovingly put together and an outstanding testament to the breadth and wonder of the Man in Black’s talents.
The Cowboy Junkies and Vic Chesnutt were discussing the possibility of recording together when, on Christmas day 2009, the wheelchair bound singer-songwriter took his own life. The Toronto-based quartet soldiered on, and the result is Demons (Latent), the second disc of a four-volume series. The collection of Chesnutt songs is likely to appeal to both fans of the Junkies' intense moods and the Georgian’s quirky lyricism. A gothic waltz rendition of “West of Rome” is especially endearing, but one can hear the Timmons family stretching comfortably throughout.