Johnny Cash Remixed – Thank Goodness For “Personal Jesus”
Johnny Cash would be dead now for almost six years. Time enough perhaps to have created sufficient space to be turning in his grave after the recent release of “Johnny Cash Remixed”. Or would he perhaps be cheering and singing along?
The collection of 17 hip-hopified tracks were co-produced by Snoop Dogg, Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé “Put A Ring On It” Knowles’ father), and John Carter Cash, the Man in Blacks’ son. Reviews of the album have been almost universally harsh:
- Mark Kemp at Rolling Stone gave it a 2/5 rating and suggests that “This set of heavily doctored Johnny Cash tunes almost succeeds as musical comedy.”
- Lisa Solod Warren at Blog Critics suggests that “The album is frankly a disappointment.”
- Stephen M. Deusner over at Pitchfork eloquently notes that it is “…more like a small, remote geyser through which a little bit of hell bubbles up into our world.”
That said though, there are a handful of people that feel that Cash may not be entirely put off by the remix effort.Personally, I must say that I think it is an interesting project, and whilst there are a number of the tracks that are of no particular value, there are some that do work for me. I particularly like the effort put in by Phillip Steir on “Get Rhythm“. As one reviewer suggest, the album is “not good, but interesting”.
It is undeniable that Cash was very interested in contemporary music towards the end of his life. Truth is that throughout his prolific recording career he covered a number of other artists. This remained true through to the release of the American series of recordings which contained a number of contemporary covers. In 2002 the release of American IV: The Man Comes Around saw versions of songs by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor (“Hurt“) and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore (“Personal Jesus“) amongst others. (He also did reworkings of songs by Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, for example.)
The You Tube file below contains Cash’s version of “Personal Jesus” overlain with a number of static images – it’s not the original video for the song as “This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions”. Go figure. The video for “Hurt” doesn’t seem to have the same restriction applied to it:
So, what do you think? Should the Man in Blacks’ music be left alone by contemporary musicians, or would he have been pleased to have been memorialised in this tribute form of cover recordings?
[Edit: Searching the database at Kalahari.net shows that they don’t include “Johnny Cash Remixed” amongst the 150+ titles they have. If you are a new Cash convert, or just interested in getting to know the mans’ work, we recommed from those titles the “Johnny Cash Ultimate Collection – Metal Tin Edition” – it’s an imported Triple Disc Box set for under R200! – won’t get a better introduction to the music of Johnny Cash]