Johnny Cash

Story of a Broken Heart

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The title of this LP is given as "Story of a Broken Heart by Johnny Cash" on the sleeve and "Story of a Broken Heart: Johnny Cash Sings" on the inner label. This obscure, cheesily designed (ironically for a label named Design) album is obviously trying to market itself as a Johnny Cash record. But in truth, just four of the ten songs on this budget compilation are Johnny Cash tunes. These are all from his Sun era ("Mean Eyed Cat," "Luther's Boogie," "Get Rhythm," and "Story of a Broken Heart"), and while they're good, they're much easier to find -- and surrounded by far more compatible packaging -- on countless other releases. Filling out this meager selection are two songs apiece by Frank Simon, Bobby Austin, and Jan Howard. Simon and Austin were better known as writers than as performers, and Simon's songs are mediocre honky tonk pop, while Austin's are somewhat better but still undistinguished circa-1960 country-pop. Howard's pair of tunes are better, with "Weeping Willow" a slice of longing country-pop and "I've Got My Pride" pretty lively honky tonk. It's a motley assortment, though, with short running time, substandard mastering, and unappetizing graphics.