Johnny Cash – Greatest!

ARTIST: Johnny Cash 220px-JohnnyCashGreatest

TITLE:  Greatest!

YEAR RELEASED: 1959

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Just About Time (#30 Country), Thanks a Lot (#12 Country), Luther Played the Boogie (#8 Country), Katy Too (#11 Country), Goodbye Little Darlin’ Goodbye (#22 Country), Get Rhythm (#1 Country)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A couple of covers of Hank Williams songs you may know.

LINEUP: Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, Marshall Grant, some session people.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sun Records plunders its vaults and comes up with a decent collection of songs leftover from Cash sessions made at Sun before he left.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Cash’s exit for Columbia left Sun in a predicament. They no longer had one of their most popular artists under contract, yet they still had a lot of old masters that had not been released on album or even as a single.

Part of the deal with Cash’s exit was that Sun could release tracks from their vault for a period of time. So between now and 1964, there was a flood of Cash material hitting the marketplace and radio. Really, that was OK – if anyone had enough good country songs to fill the market it was Cash.

Some great songs, like “Thanks a Lot”, “Get Rhythm” and “Luther Played the Boogie”, were excellent representations of Cash and the sound of the Tennessee Two, this time augmented with backing vocals (like Cash had with his Columbia Records). It’s not that cohesive, since it’s a mish-mash of sessions, and we’re getting to a few cuts that are really b-sides or fillers at best. But it’s still a worthy listen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was released two months after his Columbia debut, and two months before his second Columbia release.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some bonus and alternate tracks.

GRADE: B+: Many good songs, but now we’re getting to a few of the filler tracks that up to this time Cash LPs had avoided.

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