Johnny Cash

Setlist: The Very Best of Johnny Cash Live

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Sony’s Setlist series isn’t a standard budget-line compilation: these discs bypass hits in favor of live tracks cut throughout the years, mixing up highlights from classic live albums with a handful of rarities, including some unreleased cuts. In the case of Johnny Cash’s entry, this contains highlights from the classic albums Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and At San Quentin, along with highlights from a fleet of archival releases: At Madison Square Garden, The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show, Johnny Cash’s America, and Live at Osteraker. Every one of these releases were recorded between 1968 and 1972, so this holds together as a compilation, and while it doesn’t necessarily deliver the hit version of “A Boy Named Sue,” each cut here is strong, capturing Cash close to the peak of his powers, which is certainly enough for a rousing, entertaining live sampler.

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