Johnny Cash – Songs of Our Soil

ARTIST: Johnny Cash          220px-JohnnyCashSongsOfOurSoil

TITLE:  Songs of Our Soil

YEAR RELEASED: 1959

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None (!)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Five Feet High and Rising, My Grandfather’s Clock

LINEUP: Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Marshall Grant, Marvin Hughes, Morris Palmer, the Jordanaires. Buddy Harman drums on one.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Cash’s second album is about death and loss. The ‘soil’ in the title is about where you’re buried.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While there wasn’t a theme for the albums Sun put together, his Columbia albums, at least early on, are centered around a theme. This one is death and dying and loss and tragedy. Fun stuff, but he was on his way to becoming the Man in Black.

There aren’t any traditional Cash classics here, except “Five Feet High and Rising”, and I think his version of “Great Speckled Bird” has been in some compilations. A few of the tracks don’t quite measure up to his better work, but many of them are great examples of Cash’s way with a story, whether originally penned (seven of the 12 came from him) or from others.

It didn’t chart (the country album chart didn’t exist, I don’t think), and no singles were released from it, but I’m sure country LP fans bought it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “I Want to Go Home” is a version of “The John B. Sails” which most music mavens know as “Sloop John B”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of tracks recorded around that time.

GRADE: B+: It’s not going to be the first Cash album you grab for, but you should grab it eventually.

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