The Johnny Cash American Recordings LP boxed set, a classic black box housing all studio albums released between 1994 and 2010 on 180gm vinyl will be released in May. American Recordings is the 81st album by the country singer Johnny Cash after he was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin’s American Recordings label, better known for rap and heavy metal than for country music. Under Rubin’s supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar.
His successful collaboration with Rick Rubin was in part due to Rubin seeking a minimalist sound for his songs. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash’s finest album since the late 1960s, while his versions of songs by more modern artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig helped to bring him a new audience.
American Recordings received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards. In 2003, the album was ranked number 364 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Unchained is the second album in Johnny Cash’s American Recording series and contains songs by Tom Petty (“Southern Accents”), Soundgarden (“Rusty Cage”) and Beck (“Rowboat”). Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of “Rusty Cage”. American III: Solitary Man was notable for being Cash’s highest charting solo studio LP since his 1976 One Piece at a Time. Between Unchained and Solitary Man, Cash’s health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalised for pneumonia.
American IV: The Man Comes Around is the fourth album in the American series by Johnny Cash and his 87th overall, released in 2002. This is the last album released before his death in 2003. The majority of songs are covers which Cash performs in his own sparse style, with help from producer Rick Rubin. For the song “Personal Jesus”, Rubin asked then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style.
American V: A Hundred Highways is the 93rd overall album and a posthumous title by Johnny Cash released on July 4, 2006. The liner notes of “Unearthed”, a box set composed of outtakes from the first four entries into the series, claim “around 50” songs were recorded during the American V sessions before Cash’s death on September 12, 2003. However, only two albums worth of material were released, including American VI: Ain’t No Grave, which was released in February 2010.