Johnny Cash Love, God, Murder (Columbia/Legacy)
Love, God, Murder (Columbia/Legacy)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., June 16, 2000
Love, God, Murder (Columbia/Legacy)The songs of Johnny Cash have been anthologized many times and in a variety of different configurations, but this 3-CD set is very different from the many greatest-hits that precede it. This career-spanning collection is so distinctive, in fact, simultaneously celebrating Cash's unique artistry and providing a delightful overview of his 45-yearrecording career, that it makes the collections that came before it seem superfluous. Selecting the songs himself, Cash personally produced this box set, and each disc thematically covers an elemental portion of his body of music -- thus Love, God, Murder. In a nice touch by the label, each disc has also been made available separately. Many of his best-known songs ("Ring of Fire," "I Still Miss Someone," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," "I Walk The Line") are sprinkled throughout, yet the set also contains tracks previously unreleased in the U.S. Among them are a 1966 take on Harlan Howard's "The Sound of Laughter," and two Cash originals, 1964's "My Old Faded Rose" (co-written with June Carter) and 1967's "I Tremble for You." In most people's minds, Cash will always be the rebellious Man in Black, yet this collection firmly exposes his true roots, straddling the honesty and authenticity of folk music, the unrefined rawness of early rock & roll, and the deep sense of despair found in country. Many tracks on each disc sparkle, revealing them to be classics time has forgotten, including "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You," "Going to Memphis," "The Greatest Cowboy of Them All," and "Hardin Wouldn't Run," making the entire box a joyous listen and a refreshing way to rediscover the variety of emotions and musical roads Cash has traveled. Each disc also contains his own enlightening reflections on the music, as well as curiously interesting essays by Carter (Love), Bono (God), and Quentin Tarantino (Murder) that do an excellent job of amplifying the subject at hand. All in all, Love, God, Murder is a box set music fans will cherish, both those unfamiliar with the depth of his work and longtime fans alike.