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American VI: Ain't No Grave - Johnny Cash

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Genre: Country - Traditional Country / Artist: Johnny Cash / Audio CD released 2010-02-22 at Mercury

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      29.09.2010 22:16
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      Decent epitaph

      American VI: Ain't No Grave, Johnny Cash, 2010

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      Background
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      American VI is the second posthumous 'American' album that Rick Rubin has put together after the death of Johnny Cash in 2003. Taken from the American V album recordings, this next instalment features much of the same style of music that has made this series such a fantastic bookend to Cash's career.

      Many people will be familiar with Cash's later career probably more so than his earlier work, mainly through his cover versions of distinctly different artist's work - most notably Nine Inch Nails 'Hurt'. Armed with a new producer in the guise of bearded rap and hard rock producer Rick Rubin, Cash entered into a new artistically focussed career phase, covering many old and new songs in his distinctive deep baritone voice along with minimal guitar work. It's a style that has won him many plaudits and rejuvenated his flagging career at the time. Most of these albums were backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but Ain't No Grave puts Cash back at the forefront without any real 'celebrity' involvement. In fact, apart from a Sheryl Crow cover, this album is purely 'old school' country music.

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      Opinion
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      I found 'Ain't No Grave' particularly eerie. It's not a long album, clocking in at just 32 minutes, but does feel very much like Cash's last gasp. Again, the recording sounds relatively dark and abrasive, but also warm and melancholic which fits in perfectly with the 'posthumous' title.

      I suppose you could liken 'Ain't No Grave' to listening to the haunting Lennon tracks that the Beatles used as their Anthology singles - Free As A Bird and Real Love, voices from the grave several years after their singer had died.

      I wouldn't say that American VI is the best American album that Cash has made, I would probably regard this album as 'more of the same' really. There aren't any real standout tracks apart from the title track that uses a grim chain dragging sound effect throughout - isn't it a bit strange that Tom Jones decided to use the same song for his Praise and Blame album, released very close to one another?

      Cash's cover of Sheryl Crow's 'Redemption Day' is also effective, again ominously seeing what was to come - his imminent death, but the album does have an up-tempo number to end - the Elvis song 'Aloha Oe'.

      A decent epitaph to a country legend.

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      Tracklist
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      1. "Ain't No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)" (Claude Ely; credited as Traditional) - 2:53
      2. "Redemption Day" (Sheryl Crow) - 4:22
      3. "For the Good Times" (Kris Kristofferson) - 3:22
      4. "I Corinthians 15:55" (Johnny Cash) - 3:38
      5. "Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound" (Tom Paxton) - 3:26
      6. "A Satisfied Mind" (Red Hayes, Jack Rhodes) - 2:48
      7. "I Don't Hurt Anymore" (Don Robertson, Walter E. Rollins) - 2:45
      8. "Cool Water" (Bob Nolan) - 2:53
      9. "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" (Ed McCurdy) - 3:14
      10. "Aloha Oe" (Queen Lili'uokalani) - 3:00

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Ain't No Grave
      2 Redemption Day
      3 For The Good Times
      4 I Corinthians 15:55
      5 Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
      6 Satisfied Mind
      7 I Don't Hurt Anymore
      8 Cool Water
      9 Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
      10 Aloha Oe