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Rockabilly Blues CD

Rockabilly Blues

While stepdaughter Carlene Carter was hanging out with then-husband Nick Lowe and his British roots rock mates Dave Edmunds, Martin Belmont, and Pete Thomas, Johnny Cash decided to see what they thought about the font they claimed for inspiration: rockabilly and roots country. Lowe got to produce one track on Rockabilly Blues, as did old pal and rockabilly co-conspirator Cowboy Jack Clement. Earl Pool Ball did the other eight, but Cash held the reins tight. Rockabilly Blues is one of the great lost Cash records. Not only does it feature two of his finer songs from the period, the title track and the bitter love song "Cold Lonesome Morning," it features Cash singing a pair of gems by Billy Joe Shaver, "The Cowboy Who Started the Fight" and "It Ain't Nothing New Babe," as well as one by Cash acolyte Kris Kristofferson, "The Last Time" (which, incidentally, is one of the last times a new Kristofferson tune was recorded by anyone). Cash's "Rockabilly Blues (Texas 1955)" is not essentially a rockabilly tune, though Edmunds' guitar playing certainly embodies its feel -- but then, Cash was never a rockabilly singer, either. "One Way Rider," with its horns and staccato pacing, is the perfect song for Lowe to produce. June Carter is wailing on the duet, and the slide guitar parts ring like jagged bells through the heart of the mix. The only problem with this set is how quickly it blazes by. Why Columbia wasn't interested in Cash in 1980 is as confusing now as it was then. All the kids they groomed to come up after him, including newbies Montgomery Gentry, would have killed to make a record this fine.
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Cold Lonesome Morning
Without Love
The Cowboy Who Started the Fight
The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over
Rockabilly Blues (Texas 1955)
The Last Time
She's a Go-er
It Ain't Nothing New Babe
One Way Rider