Johnny's Blues: A Tribute To Johnny Cash (Northern Blues Music)
By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV
Johnny Cash is one of the artists who's influence is so far reaching that it is hard to imagine modern music without him. Even today his vital presence is felt as well as seen with his newest album producing a chart hit with the Trent Reznor song "Hurt." Mr. Cash dose not as much covers songs as takes the time to adopt them to his own voice and sound, in turn making them his own. The album Johnny's Blues, is filled with artists mimicking this philosophy in reinterpreting Cash's songs. One of the great jewels uncovered from this technique are Blackie & The Rodeo Kings providing a dark and dirty take on the classic "Folsom Prison Blues" that feels like it's been filtered through the long line of dark cells housed within the hard rock walls and razor wire of Folsom itself. Corey Harris gives a rhythm heavy of African influence to "Redemption" to which his voice adds an almost rasta feel. The swaggering gospel take on "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" has Mavis Staples providing a rich voice to this powerful June Carter-Cash number that anchor's this album so well. From the Blues to Cash isn't that big of a jump as songs like "Big River" had the rhythmic stomp of Blues when Cash sang them, but Colin Linden, just added that spark of attitude that makes it punchy and fresh for this tribute. This CD is not so much a collection of covers as it is a menagerie of evolutions that have advanced from their original forms with the addition of elements from these great Blues artists. Rating: B
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