Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dylan/Cash Sessions

During the Nashville Skyline sessions in February 1969, Dylan teamed up with Johnny Cash to record over a dozen songs. Only one of these made it onto Nashville Skyline ("Girl from the North Country"). Most of the rest are here, in perfect fidelity. If you were to judge this as a proper studio album, the notices wouldn't be too positive, due to the ragged and tentative performances. Judged as a loose, informal meeting of two giants, it's very pleasurable listening, though more for Cash's contributions than Dylan's. With full band backing (including Carl Perkins on electric guitar), the pair run through easygoing, rockabilly-tinged versions of Dylan songs, Cash songs, old Sun rockabilly chestnuts ("That's All Right Mama" and "Matchbox"), and a bit of country gospel. Cash, in fact, dominates the proceedings: he sings lead more often, and the mere two Dylan tunes ("Girl from the North Country" and "One Too Many Mornings") are outweighed by a larger heaping of Cash classics ("Big River," "I Walk the Line," "I Still Miss Someone," "Ring of Fire," "Guess Things Happen That Way"). The CD might even appeal more to Cash fans than Dylan ones, especially as Dylan's singing is not up to scratch: his timing is off, he often sings on one note, and he even needs to be occasionally cued by Johnny for the right words. The disc also includes three interesting Dylan performances from a TV broadcast on The Johnny Cash Show in May 1969, as well as five less essential quadrophonic mixes of Nashville Skyline tracks.

1. One Too Many Mornings
2. Mountain Dew
3. I Still Miss Someone
4. Careless Love
5. Matchbox
6. That's All Right Mama
7. Big River
8. Girl From The North Country
9. I Walk The Line
10. You Are My Sunshine
11. Ring Of Fire
12. Guess Things Happen That Way
13. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
14. Blue Yodel
15. Blue Yodel No 5
16. I Threw It All Away
17. Living The Blues
18. Girl From The North Country
19. Nashville Skyline Rag
20. I Threw It All Away
21. Peggy Day
22. Country Pie
23. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

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