Johnny Cash 1993 Unreleased Songs Compiled For ‘Songwriter’ - Noise11.com
Johnny Cash Songwriter

Johnny Cash 1993 Unreleased Songs Compiled For ‘Songwriter’

by Paul Cashmere on April 24, 2024

in News

Shelved recordings of Johnny Cash from 1993 have been unearthed, cleaned up and will be released as ‘Songwriter’ on June 28.

Johnny was inbetween recording contacts at the time when he met with Rick Rubin, initially to make an album of new songs but them changed direction and released the American Recordings series.

The songs on ‘Songwriter’ have been sitting unreleased for over 30 years.

Son John Carter Cash found the recordings and took them to producer David ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, who in turn recruited Johnny’s old guitar player Marty Stuart along with Dave Roe, Pete Abbott and Cash Cabin to finish them off. Fergie stripped back the original records to just Johnny’s vocal and guitar and then started to rebuild them with the newly assembled musicians.

“Nobody plays Cash better than Marty Stuart, and Dave Roe of course played with dad for many years,” said John Carter. “The musicians that came in were just tracking with dad, you know, recording with dad, just as, in the case of Marty and Dave, they had many times before, so they knew his energies, his movements, and they let him be the guide. It was just playing with Johnny once again, and that’s what it was. That was the energy of the creation.”

“All those guys are the best, just cream of the crop,” said Fergie.

The album features guests including Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys on ‘Spotlight’, Vince Gill on ‘Poor Valley Girl’ and Waylon Jennings on ‘I Love You Tonight’ and ‘Like A Soldier’.

All 11 songs on ‘Songwriter’ were written and unreleased by Johnny Cash.

“We just went rudimentary,” said John Carter of the approach. “We went straight to the roots, as far as the sound, and tried not to overly enhance it. We built as if dad was in the room. That’s what we tried to do. Between the both of us, Fergie and I have spent thousands of hours with dad in the recording studio, so we just tried to act like he was there: WWJCD, right?”

“I think this record is the way I would have liked to have made one if I would have ever been in charge of one, before Rick Rubin or after Jack Clement,” said Fergie. “I’ve known John Carter since he was a boy, so it was great to finally work with him. He gave me a lot of leeway, especially in terms of grooves and things. We went right along the same page. There wasn’t ever a conversation or plan about an end product, it was just let’s do the best we can do.”

“I wanted it to be songs that mostly people hadn’t heard and that paid close attention to who he was as a songwriter and who he was as an American voice,” said John Carter. “One of my most important focuses in the past 10 years is to make sure that history, as best that I can possibly, is to give history the opportunity to notice him as the great writer he is. Bob Dylan says he’s one of the greatest writers of all of American written music and I agree. I want to put that in the forefront. His writing voice specifically is a certain voice, that I think if America wants to know their history, that’s a good place to look. Johnny Cash is definitely one true voice that we can listen to, specifically to his writings.”

JOHNNY CASH – SONGWRITER TRACKLISTING
CD/DIGITAL
1. Hello Out There
2. Spotlight
3. Drive On
4. I Love You Tonite
5. Have You Ever Been to Little Rock?
6. Well Alright
7. She Sang Sweet Baby James
8. Poor Valley Girl
9. Soldier Boy
10. Sing It Pretty Sue
11. Like A Soldier

VINYL
Side A
1. Hello Out There
2. Spotlight
3. Drive On
4. I Love You Tonite
5. Have You Ever Been To Little Rock?

Side B
1. Well Alright
2. She Sang Sweet Baby James
3. Poor Valley Girl
4. Soldier Boy
5. Sing It Pretty Sue
6. Like A Soldier

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