Here Was A Man: The Ultimate Gospel Collectio CD (2007)

Artist: Johnny Cash

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The sacred side of Johnny Cash

by on 3/31/2007

Much like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash evinced both sacred and profane sides. Unlike Williams, however, Cash didn't split his sanctified and secular work under two different names – he intertwined them on singles and albums from early in his career. Cash's run at Sun is often said to have ended with Sam Phillips' disinterest in recording gospel, and while Cash's first full album of sacred songs was recorded for Columbia, he waxed such songs in his last year at Sun. Backed by the basic twang of the Tennessee Two, Cash recorded his own "Belshazzar" and a cover of Governor Jimmie Davis' "I Was There When it Happened" while under contract to Phillips. ¶ Arriving at Columbia, Cash wasted no time in recording more songs of faith. His debut LP included "That's Enough," and his second album was composed entirely of hymns, including the original "It Was Jesus" and covers of the traditional "The Old Account" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and his third LP (the concept album "Songs of Our Soil") featured his rendition of "The Great Speckle Bird." The Columbia sides expand upon the basic click-clack of the Tennessee Two with some piano and backing singers, but it's Cash's dominating baritone that takes the faithful home. ¶ The ups and downs of Cash's life lend varying shades of meaning to his songs of praise. At times they're clearly expressions of joy, while at other junctures they're cries for help. He continued to record sacred works throughout his tenure at Columbia, both solo as on 1962's second album of hymns, "Hymns From the Heart," and together with the Carter Family. Maybelle Carter's autoharp provides the introduction to Cash's slow, wailing take of "Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)," and together with her daughters she provides the bracing mountain harmonies Cash's session singers could never achiceve. ¶ Mid-70s sides "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and "In the Sweet By and By" are more fully produced, with pop horns and backing vocals that lose the intimacy of the earlier works. Cash's singing is subservient here to overblown, generic arragnements. The unreleased 1974 side "My Ship Will Sail" pares things down effectively, leaving Cash to intertwine with a small gospel chorus, and 1976's June Carter duet, "Far Side of Jordan" rests on the tic-tac twang of the guitar, even with string accompaniment. ¶ Carl Perkins' "Daddy Sang Bass" is the best known title here, a staple of Cash's live show in the late '60s that pulled together the Statler Brothers and Carter Family as harmony singers. "Children Go Where I Stand" is a bouncy duet with June Carter, backed by an army of choral singers, and the closer to this 24-track, 67-minute collection. In addition to sampling 23 years of Cash's gospel sides (from 1957 through 1979), this set includes three previously unissued tracks, "How Great Thou Art," "It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)," and "My Ship Will Sail." The bonus tracks (and a few others) create some hiccups in the disc's chronological ordering, and the jumps is production quality are disconcerting. Though not as cohesive as his purpose-built albums of hymns and gospel, this is a nice overview of work from throughout his career. [©2007 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Authoritative collection of Johnny Cash gospel

by Kyle D. on 4/17/2007

Perhaps one of the best Johnny Cash gospel compilations I've had the pleasure of listening to. Though I may have preferred more slow, ballad-style songs, the mix of faster, up-beat tracks was a nice balance. Not necessarily for every Johnny Cash fan, but would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good gospel album.

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Product Overview


Label Sony
SKU 203756321
UPC 886970073929
UPC 14 00886970073929
Format CD
Release Date 3/6/2007
Author Johnny Cash
Disc 1
1 Here Was a Man
2 Preacher Said "Jesus Said", The
3 I Was There When It Happened
4 Belshazzar
5 That's Enough
6 It Was Jesus
7 Old Account, The
8 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
9 Great Speckled Bird, The
10 He'll Understand and Say Well Done
11 How Great Thou Art - (previously unreleased)
12 It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) - (previously unreleased)
13 He Turned the Water into Wine
14 Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)
15 Troublesome Waters
16 (There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)
17 When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
18 In the Sweet By and By
19 My Ship Will Sail
20 Far Side Banks of Jordan
21 Oh, Come Angel Band
22 Amazing Grace
23 Daddy Sang Bass
24 Children Go Where I Send Thee
Product Attributes
Artist Cash,Johnny
Label Cbs/epic/wtg Records
Music Format Compact Disc
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Authoritative collection of Johnny Cash gospel by Kyle D. on Apr 17, 2007

Authoritative collection of Johnny Cash gospel by Kyle D. on Apr 17, 2007

The sacred side of Johnny Cash by on Mar 31, 2007