Mean As Hell! Ballads From the True West is Johnny Cash's gunslinger album: a collection of songs about cowboys and their myths. That means there are classic Western ballads like "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" and "The Shifting Whispering Sands," there are fables like "The Blizzard" and the title track, history lessons like "Remember the Alamo," and jokey satires like "25 Minutes to Go." Mean As Hell has a handful of good songs -- usually the straight ballads, but some of the myths are fun too -- but for the most part, there's too much unintentional kitsch on the record to make it necessary.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine