A phenomenon probably unique to the Country and Western and folk song fields is the composer who is also the best singer of his own songs. One of the notably gifted — and most successful — examples in recent years is Johnny Cash, whose hit recordings of original compositions have appeared repeatedly on national best-seller charts. Endowed with a vibrant, virile baritone voice, he is one of the best songwriting talents since the legendary Hank Williams.
The title of Johnny's new collection, I WALK THE LINE, is also the title of the million-seller that catapulted him into the national spotlight only a few years ago. Appropriately, the song leads off this album which includes six Cash originals and one collaboration. After he sings Bad News ("I'm bad news, always gettin' into trouble"), the effect of which Johnny heightens by a devilish chuckle, he follows with three other famous Cash originals, the grim Folsom Prison Blues ("I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die"), the poignant Give My Love to Rose ("the words a dyin' fella said") and Hey Porter ("tell me the time, how much longer will it be till we cross that Mason-Dixon line?"), a jubilant going-home song. I Still Miss Someone is a sentimental song that Johnny wrote to brother Roy's words.
A song with a too-late-now theme, Understand Your Man, shows a lighter side to Johnny's writing and performing talents. A new arrangement of Wreck of the Old 97 concludes with the sobering moral: "Never speak harsh words to your true-lovin' husband, he may leave you and never return." After Still in Town, Johnny sings another of his own songs, Big River ("I taught the weepin' willow how to cry"), Gene Autry's classic Goodbye, Little Darlin' Goodbye and concludes with the inspirational Troublesome Waters.
I WALK THE LINE offers Johnny Cash, renowned story-teller-insong, at his creative and performing best.