The Ultimate Johnny Cash Box Set Available December 4th


35 Albums Released on CD for the First Time by Columbia/Legacy in the U.S.; First 19 Albums (1958-1967) Released for First Time in Mono on CD by Columbia/Legacy in the U.S.

Rarities abound!: Live albums in London, Prague, Sweden, and New York; 1970 movie soundtrack albums; The Holy Land and The Gospel Road bible chronicles; Christmas and Children’s albums; and much more!

Two brand-new compilations especially for this box set:

  • Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar (at Sun Records, 1954-58, 28 songs);
  • The Singles, Plus (2 CDs, 55 songs, singles not originally included on albums, ‘plus’ guest performances on albums by Bob Dylan, The Carter Family, The Earl Scruggs Revue, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, Shel Silverstein, and others)

Available everywhere December 4, 2012, through Columbia/Legacy

Signed to Columbia Records at age 26 in 1958, the arc of Johnny Cash’s career played out at the label over the next three decades, a near lifetime of work in music, film and television now presented on JOHNNY CASH – THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION. Containing 61 distinct album packages (single and double CDs, totaling 63 discs overall) housed in a box with a lift-off cover, the deluxe set will be available everywhere December 4th through Columbia/ Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

Released in the year in which Cash would have turned 80 (born February 26, 1932), JOHNNY CASH – THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION is a monumental tribute to the original Man In Black. Working with Columbia producers Don Law (1958-67), Frank Jones (1960-67), Bob Johnston (1968-70), Larry Butler (1972-78), Charlie Bragg (1972-77), Brian Ahern, Billy Sherrill, Chips Moman, and others, Cash was always in command of his direction, whether it was country & western, gospel, blues, rockabilly, traditional balladry and folk, or any other style he chose to pursue. The new box set was compiled by multi-Grammy Award®-nominated producer Gregg Geller and multi-Grammy® and W.C. Handy Award-winning producer Steve Berkowitz, who have supervised Legacy’s historic Johnny Cash reissue program for over a decade.

Willie Nelson, who took part in April’s “We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash” concert in Austin (available on DVD and Blu-ray from Legacy), had this to say about Cash at the event: “I always looked at John as somebody who had been there before me and who was doing it the way he wanted to do it. I always admired and respected him for doing that − he was one of the first rebels, one of the first outlaws (if you want to call him that) that hit Nashville and I was a great fan of his not only for his music but for his attitude.”

The box set begins with The Fabulous Johnny Cash, his Columbia debut LP recorded and released in 1958, with his first #1 country single at Columbia, “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town.” It wraps up in 1990 (though Cash actually left Columbia in 1983) with Highwayman 2, the second Columbia album by the quartet of Johnny, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson, featuring the Top 25 country hit, “Silver Stallion.”

In between, a total of 35 album titles are being released for the first time on CD by Columbia/Legacy in the U.S. And the first 19 chronological titles (dating from 1958 to 1967) are being released for the first time in monaural (mono) sound on CD by Columbia/Legacy in the U.S. Each title is packaged as a mini-LP CD with its original artwork, including the five original gatefold albums in Cash’s Columbia discography.

THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION takes its place alongside similarly important Columbia career retrospectives by Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, and Billie Holiday. The contents are housed in a box that resembles the lift-off lid design of The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection box set issued by Columbia/Legacy in 2009

THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION is accompanied by a full-color booklet that includes complete discographic information for every album: songwriters, recording dates and cities, musicians, guest performers, producers, release dates, original catalog numbers, Billboard pop and country chart numbers for albums and single tracks, and more.

The booklet also features liner notes by veteran annotator Rich Kienzle, who references many of the Columbia albums along the way. “When one thinks of Johnny Cash’s recordings, one thing is certain,” Kienzle writes. “The Columbia years loom larger than any other phase. A star when he arrived in 1958, when he departed he was an American icon.”

Complementing the Columbia albums, the producers have assembled two new compilations for this box set:

  • Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar, a 28-song collection of single and non-single tracks released during his Sun Records years (1954-58), including “Hey Porter,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Walk The Line,” “Cry! Cry! Cry!,” “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen,” “Big River,” and more; actually an expanded edition of his 1957 Sun LP, bearing that album’s iconic cover design; and
  • The Singles, Plus, a 2-CD, 55-song collection (spanning 1958-85) of single sides that did not originally appear on Johnny’s Columbia albums, ‘plus’ guest performances on other artists’ albums, among them Bob Dylan, The Carter Family, Mother Maybelle Carter, June Carter Cash, The Earl Scruggs Revue, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, and Shel Silverstein.

There are several rarities and Johnny Cash catalog anomalies to be found throughout THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION. Chief among these are three live albums (out of the eight live albums in the box set):

  • Johnny Cash pa Osteraker, recorded at Osteraker Prison in Sweden in 1972, released in Europe in 1973, and later added to the U.S. catalog;
  • Strawberry Cake, recorded at the Palladium in London in 1975, and released in 1976, named for the Cash-composed single track that appeared on this album; and
  • Koncert V Praze, recorded at the Sport Hall in Prague in 1978, released on the Czech Supraphon label in 1983, now officially joining the U.S. catalog.

Among the other rarities in THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION are two original motion picture soundtrack albums, both produced in Nashville in 1970 by Bob Johnston, who also served as Columbia staff producer (at the time) of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Flatt & Scruggs, The Byrds, and others:

  • I Walk the Line, directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Gregory Peck as a smalltown Tennessee sheriff, the soundtrack comprised entirely of Johnny Cash songs, featuring his final self-penned #1 country single, “Flesh and Blood”; and
  • Little Fauss And Big Halsy, the motorcycle racing movie starring Robert Redford, Lauren Hutton and Michael J. Pollard, with a soundtrack mixing vocal and instrumental tunes by Cash and Carl Perkins.

“Johnny Cash and Columbia Records were joined at the hip for 28 years,” Kienzle writes, “or nearly 60 percent of his 48-year recording career that began in early 1955 when he did his first formal session for Sun Records in Memphis, continuing until just before he died in 2003. Cash staked his claim and established himself at Sun; at Columbia, he defined himself for all time.”

THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION follows up other important Cash-themed titles released by Columbia/Legacy on August 7. A new series entitled “The Greatest” was launched with three new 14-song compilations, The Greatest: Country Classics, The Greatest: Gospel Songs, and The Greatest: Duets, plus The Greatest: The Number Ones. The deluxe version of The Greatest: The Number Ones features a CD with every Sun Records and Columbia side to hit #1 Country in Billboard and/or Cashbox from 1956 (“I Walk the Line”) to 1984 (“Highwayman”), accompanied by a DVD with live performances of ten of the songs. (This configuration is also available as a standalone CD, without DVD.)

August 7 also marked Legacy’s release of We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash, a DVD+CD set and separate Blu-ray disc. The packages chronicle the all-star tribute concert of April 20, 2012, held at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Artists who performed that night and appear in the feature include Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Iron & Wine, Shooter Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Shelby Lynne, Pat Monahan of Train, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and others.

THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION also follows up the critical and commercial success of The Johnny Cash Bootleg Series, which has presented four historic releases to date. Released in April, the most recent title in the series is The Soul Of Truth: Bootleg Vol. IV, which includes 51 gospel-themed recordings.

Johnny Cash - The Complete Columbia Album Collection

(Columbia/Legacy 88697 91047 2)

# Title Rec. Rel. Catalog
1 * The Fabulous Johnny Cash  1958 1958 CL 1253
2 * Hymns By Johnny Cash 1958-59 1959 CL 1284
3 * Songs Of Our Soil 1959 1959 CL 1339
4 * Now There Was A Song! 1960 1960 CL 1463
5 * Ride This Train 1959-60 1960 CL 1464
6 * Hymns From The Heart 1961 1962 CL 1722
7 * The Sound Of Johnny Cash 1961-62 1962 CL 1802
8 * Blood, Sweat And Tears 1962 1962 CL 1930
9 * Ring Of Fire: The Best Of Johnny Cash 1958-63 1963 CL 2053
10 * The Christmas Spirit 1959-63 1963 CL 2117
11 * Keep On The Sunny Side - The Carter Family with special guest Johnny Cash 1963 1963 CL 2152
12 * I Walk The Line 1963-64 1964 CL 2190
13 * Bitter Tears: Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The American Indian 1964 1964 CL 2248
14 * Orange Blossom Special 1964 1965 CL 2309
15 *# Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The True West 1959-65 1965 C2L 38
16 * Everybody Loves A Nut 1965-66 1966 CL 2492
17 * Happiness Is You 1962-65 1966 CL 2537
18 * Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash & June Carter 1964-67 1967 CL 2728
19 * From Sea To Shining Sea 1967 1967 CL 2647
20 Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (Live) 1968 1968 CS 9639
21 The Holy Land 1968 1968 KCS 9726
22 Johnny Cash At San Quentin (Live) 1969 1969 CS 9827
23 # Hello, I’m Johnny Cash 1969 1970 KCS 9943
24 The Johnny Cash Show (Live) 1970 1970 KC 30100
25 I Walk The Line o.s.  1970 1970 S 30397
26 Little Fauss And Big Halsy o.s. 1970 1970 S 30385
27 Man In Black 1971 1971 C 30550
28 A Thing Called Love 1971-72 1972 KC 31332
29 # Johnny Cash: America – A 200-Year Salute In Story And Song 1970-72 1972 KC 31645
30 # Christmas – The Johnny Cash Family 1972 1972 KC 31754
31 Any Old Wind That Blows 1972 1973 KC 32091
32 # The Gospel Road (2-CD) 1972 1973 KG 32253
33 Johnny Cash And His Woman 1973 1973 C 32443
34 Johnny Cash pa Osteraker (Live at Osteraker Prison, Sweden)  1972 1973 CBS 65308
35 Ragged Old Flag 1974 1974 KC 32917
36 The Junkie And The Juicehead Minus Me 1973-74 1974 KC 33086
37 The Johnny Cash Children’s Album 1971-73 1975 C 32898
38 Johnny Cash Sings Precious Memories 1974 1975 C 33087
39 John R. Cash 1974 1975 KC 33370
40 Look At Them Beans 1975 1975 KC 33814
41 Strawberry Cake (Live at the Palladium, London, England) 1975 1976 KC 34088
42 One Piece At A Time 1975-76 1976 KC 34193
43 The Last Gunfighter Ballad 1975-76 1977 KC 34314
44 The Rambler 1977 1977 KC 34833
45 I Would Like To See You Again 1976-77 1978 KC 35313
46 Gone Girl 1977-78 1978 PC 35646
47 Silver 1979 1979 JC 36086
48 Rockabilly Blues 1979-80 1980 JC 36779
49 Classic Christmas 1980 1980 JC 36866
50 The Baron 1980-81 1981 FC 37179
51 The Survivors: Johnny Cash - Jerry Lee Lewis - Carl Perkins (Live) 1981 1982 FC 37961
52 The Adventures Of Johnny Cash 1981-82 1982 FC 38094
53 Johnny 99 1983 1983 FC 38696
54 Koncert V Praze (In Prague Live) 1978 1983 Supraphon   1113-3278
55 Rainbow 1984-85 1985 FC 39951
56 Highwayman: Waylon Jennings - Willie Nelson - Johnny Cash - Kris Kristofferson 1984-85 1985 FC 40056
57 Heroes 1984-85 1986 FC 40347
58 Highwayman 2: Waylon Jennings - Willie Nelson - Johnny Cash - Kris Kristofferson 1989 1990 CK 45240
59 At Madison Square Garden (Live) 1969 2002 CK 86808
60 Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar 1955-58 2012
61 # The Singles, Plus (2-CD) 1958-84 2012
* indicates original monaural (mono) recording
# indicates gatefold cover package
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Comments for this News article

Do the albums in this package have the bonus tracks that were added to the individual CD releases (for example At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin?