Various Artists

Boy Named Sue: Johnny Cash Revisited

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Boy Named Sue: Johnny Cash Revisited was released in 2002 in conjunction with Johnny Cash's 70th birthday. It is comprised solely of German artists who share a collective affinity for "the Man in Black," acknowledging that he spent portions of four years in the early '50s stationed in Bavaria during the Korean War. The first half of this album includes reasonably straight country and rockabilly renderings of early Cash staples like "Locomotive Man," "I Guess Things Happen That Way," "Jackson," "Give My Love to Rose," and "Big River." The Bionaut samples "I Wish I Were Tied to Bertha," and Kingston Cowboys take advantage of the brassy accents of "Ring of Fire" to transform it into a ska piece. Wiglaf Droste & das Spardosenterzett dig no deeper than Cash's 2000 release, American III: Solitary Man, for the Tom Petty classic "I Won't Back Down," which frankly won't be remembered as a Cash standard. Hack Mack Jackson delivers "Rusty Cage" with all the conviction of Cash's version from Unchained and with the gutteral angst of the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies. Borrowing judiciously from stylists like Leon Russell and Tom Waits is singer Danny Dziuk and his rendition of "Let the Train Blow the Whistle." The final three selections proffer a decidedly modern approach to Cash's music, the most unique being Queen of Japan's Asian-techno adaptation of "Wanted Man." Boy Named Sue: Johnny Cash Revisited is a fitting tribute to an artist whose music spanned portions of six decades and influenced and moved artists in the folk, country, and rock fields the world over.