Johnny Cash

1955-1958 Recordings

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AllMusic Review by

There are a lot of collections of Johnny Cash's classic Sun sides, but this 32-track compilation is certainly one of the best. The fidelity is absolutely top-notch, taken from first-generation tapes, and brings the sound of Sam Phillips' Sun studio to life, minus any later annoying overdubs. It's also a nice mix of a few hits, like "I Walk the Line," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Get Rhythm," and "Rock Island Line," with classic album tracks like "Luther Played the Boogie," "The Wreck of Old '97," and "Train of Love." Two versions of "Wide Open Road" are here, one from Cash's original Sun audition, featuring the halting steel guitar of original band member A.W. "Red" Kernodle. Most telling are the undubbed versions of later material, like "Thanks a Lot" and "Katy Too," which sound refreshingly free of useless background vocals, and keep the focus on Cash and Luther Perkins' elemental but very effective lead guitar. A single-disc set that packs a lot of wallop.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:26
2 2:04
3 2:48
4 2:35
5 2:28
6 2:23
7 1:59
8 2:16
9 2:43
10 1:51
11 2:19
12 2:13
13 2:13
14 2:32
15 2:24
16 1:41
17 1:47
18 1:19
19 2:29
20 2:31
21 2:36
22 2:10
23 2:31
24 2:38
25 2:15
26 1:40
27 2:01
28 2:44
29 1:41
30 1:58
31 1:56
32 2:36
blue highlight denotes track pick