This 2CD set features one disc of early rarities, and one of sundry items from Cash's Columbia catalogue – not the most comfortable combination, but not without interest.
It opens with a live radio broadcast from 1955, Johnny's band cramming in a few songs between his stumbling, Hank Hill-style delivery of commercials for aluminium siding, before stiff demos of "I Walk the Line" and "Get Rhythm" present Cash as a more wholesome sort than was probably the case. You can almost hear the cash tills ringing in Sam Phillips's mind as he heard these for the first time. At Columbia, Cash's voice was swathed in echoey reverb, and often assailed by ghastly backing harmonies, but the comic self-deprecation of songs like "The Losing Kind" shines through undimmed.
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