Johnny Cash – Greatest Hits

Album Review | Charly | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The recent plethora of Johnny Cash re-issues through Charly, all seven original Sun LPs newly remastered and released on 180 gram audiophile vinyl, together with the slightly expanded CD box set featuring those seven albums plus a special bonus disc of rarities, has effectively put Cash’s formative years back in the public conscience.  Twenty songs from the period between 1955 and 1961 have been carefully chosen and compiled for the release of this greatest hits compilation, featuring such classic Cash 45s as “Cry! Cry! Cry!”, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line”, packaged in a sleeve that could easily be mistaken for an original Sun release if it wasn’t for the Charly label tucked away in the corner, such terms as iTunes, Spotify and ‘digital stores’ in John A Singleton’s sleeve notes and of course, the barcode.  Times may have changed since Sam Phillips first recorded these gems as the actual celestial sun beat down on his tiny studios on Union Avenue in Memphis Tennessee around sixty years ago, yet listening to this collection reminds us of just how important the songs really are.  If you were to really concentrate whilst listening to the songs, on that particular period of history, on the twang of the guitar and the percussive rhythm of the ‘dollar bill’ sandwiched between the fretboard and the strings, on the simple arrangements and most importantly, on Johnny Cash’s iconic tones – hairs may very well stand up on the back of your neck.