Johnny Cash

The Holy Land

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Johnny Cash's "The Holy Land" is such a personal recording that it should have stayed in his vaults. Cash mixes many self-penned country/gospel songs with a recorded narrative account of a trip he took with June Carter to the Holy Land. Cash's narration is passionate and personal, but ultimately it is uninteresting, because he ends up sounding more like a tour guide than a spiritually enlightened artist. As for the music, most of it is unsatisfactory. Songs like "Land of Israel" and "God Is Not Dead" have a really dated sound and a forced sense of religious politics. The two standout tracks on the album are the big hit "Daddy Sang Bass" (written by Carl Perkins) and "Nazarene," a religious song that could have fit next to "Greystone Chapel" on Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. It should be noted that the original vinyl copies of The Holy Land included a really cool 3-D image on the cover, a la the Rolling Stones' At Their Satanic Majesties Request.

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