Title - 'Johnny Cash Remixed' (Compadre Records)
Artist - Johnny Cash
On the face of it, remixing Johnny Cash’s extensive canon seems very odd. Some of Cash’s tracks date back over 50 years and Cash himself occupies a special, warm place in American music. Wouldn’t the remixing of these much-loved tracks by contemporary producers result in a puzzling culture clash? I am happy to report that the answer to the question is a resounding NO.
The 13 tracks are lovingly put together and executive produced by Cash’s son, John Carter Cash. The legacy of Johnny Cash is well protected and well served by the resulting collection. John Carter Cash has obviously gone to great lengths to ensure that Cash’s music is mixed with dignity and respect. In fact, it might be argued that on several tracks, the contemporary use of modern equipment has enhanced and perhaps improved the original recordings.
The album opens with Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’, featuring co-executive producer Snoop Dogg. Re-mixed by ODT Muzic, this is probably the track that will get most airplay; however, it is not the most representative track on the album. If you hear only this track, and disapprove, don’t write off the rest of the album that would be a great mistake. For me, the best track is Philip Steir’s remix of ‘Get Rhythm’. Reminiscent of Junkie XL’s remixing of Elvis Presley’s ‘A Little Less Conversation’ from 2002; ‘Get Rhythm’ has club hit written all over it.
Other highlights include the Alabama 3 remix of ‘Leave that Junk Alone’ and ‘Port of Lonely Hearts’ remixed by Midnight Juggernauts. Other well known Cash tracks are ‘Big River’, ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Straight A’s in Love’ all of which are well served. Perhaps one glitch is the saccharine ‘Sugartime’ which, for me, just didn’t work. The album closes with the sensational ‘I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow’ where Apparat beautifully remix a stunning Cash vocal.
If you love Johnny Cash and are open to some new interpretations you, like me, will adore this album. It has been put together with love and respect. I approve and I’m sure Johnny Cash would have approved too.
Peter ‘taB’ Walker
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