Title - 'Out Among The Stars' (Columbia/Legacy)
Artist - Johnny Cash
This "new" album actually contains songs that Johnny Cash cut in 1981 and 1984 and never released because there simply was no market for his music at the time.
The sound quality of the material is excellent, better than a lot of other 80's era releases that I've heard showing the care that was put into the mastering of these tracks.
Cash's voice is in fine form and he is singing his heart out. The instrumentation is top notch as well, including the great Marty Stuart playing guitar and mandolin on these tracks.
Out Among The Stars begins with the bouncy storytelling of the very same title track (albeit about a desperate boy committing suicide by police) and continues on with ‘Baby Ride Easy’ which is a fabulous duet with his wife June. One of the best tracks on the album comes next in the form of ‘She Used To Love Me A Lot,’ which is a little darker than we're used to from Cash, in truth.
The quietness of ‘After All’ comes next and finds Cash vocally alongside a piano for the most part. Then comes the blues feel of ‘I’m Movin’ On,’ which has a live feeling to it due to Waylon Jennings sitting in with him. ‘If I Told You Who It Was’ is yet another barnstormer of a Cash track and allows him to tell a backstage Grand Ole Opry story. ’Call Your Mother’ is standard fare, but ’I Drove Her Out Of Her Mind’ is another Cash sing-along where he talks about killing his girlfriend in a car crash!
The banjo-fused ‘Tennessee’ is next, with the tripper ‘Rock and Roll Shoes’ along next for the musical ride. Both tracks are what is expected from any Cash album from any era. ‘Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time’ is a beautiful duet again with June, before the religious-orientated ‘I Came to Believe.’
The somber, and slightly extended ‘She Used To Love Me A Lot’ [JC/EC Version] wraps the album up, and as much as it’s pure Cash at his raw finest, it’s also yet another fine example of a sound that remains timeless; ageless. Complete with a little ghost backing vocals along with some swirling reverb, it’s a great way to bring this “new” album to a close from "The Man in Black."
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk