Omni's 2009 Tommy Cash collection pairs his two 1970 albums Rise and Shine and Six White Horses while adding a big chunk of 1971's This American Way of Life, which means that the only album in his stint at Epic this doesn't touch is his debut, Your Lovin' Takes the Leavin' Out of Me. Although it would have been nice to have at least the title single from that 1969 album here, it's churlish to complain about a compilation as generous as this. Cash may have had trouble escaping his brother's long shadow -- and there are times when he does sound similar to the Man in Black, particularly when he's singing Carl Perkins on the hit single "Rise and Shine" -- but Tommy was quite different in his approach, leaning heavily on Merle Haggard's blend of country and folk, along with his social consciousness, then running it through a Music City filter that smoothed everything out and built it bigger. Cash finally got this blend right when he was on Epic, supported by the label's Nashville operation: produced by Glenn Sutton, supported by musicians like Jerry Kennedy, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Charlie McCoy, Buddy Spicher, and Chip Young -- who all helped his recordings sound state of the art for 1970, which is a large part of their appeal all these years later. It's not just that the sound evokes the era, so do the songs: the many versions of Haggard tunes, covers of '60s country standards from "The Long Black Veil" to "Roll Truck Roll," and an emphasis on socially conscious tunes. Sometimes, Cash doesn't seem particularly discerning about what social issue he's singing about, alternating the pro-interracial romance of "Irma Jackson" and the Kennedy/King assassination lament "Six White Horses" with the staunchly conservative "The Tears on Lincoln's Face" and "So, You're Tired of America," which may make his music ideologically muddled, but it also is a testament to Cash's malleable journeyman gifts. He sounds equally at ease with the left and right, just like he can deliver love ballads and historical tales, songs of drinking and working, with equal aplomb. This skill might have meant that he couldn't craft a persona any greater than being Johnny's little brother, but it does make this Omni collection a highly enjoyable, slightly kitschy, time capsule of modern country circa 1970.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine