Columbia’s deep delve into Johnny Cash’s personal archives is paying off for a second time with Bootleg, Volume 2: From Memphis to Hollywood—a two-CD, 57-track set that appears on the 22nd.
The first “genuine bootleg” set in this series came out in 2006; it featured home recordings that Cash had made in 1973 but locked away in a small vault on his Tennessee estate. Volume 2 moves further back in time and explores Cash’s beginnings in and around Sun Studios in Memphis. You’ll hear early radio broadcasts, radio ads, and Cash’s own home recordings (which include amazing demo versions of “I Walk the Line,” “Big River,” and “Get Rhythm”). A second disc covers Cash’s first decade at Columbia—it, too, is full of demo recordings and previously unreleased versions of songs, like “Six White Horses.” Most of these tracks are eye-opening—most of them are totally delightful—and more than a few are absolutely essential: We’re already looking forward to Volume 3.
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