Album: Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash Remixed (Compadre)

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The Independent Culture

No music icon is secure from the posthumous assault of the digital makeover.

Things have moved on apace since Natalie Cole's "duet" with her dead daddy, reaching a nadir with last year's aptly-titled Elvis Vs Spankox remix album, in which the King's corpse became a punching-bag for some of the lowest blows in music history. This year it's Johnny Cash's turn, and it is nowhere near as undignified a disinterral. Indeed, I love the Philip Steir mix of "Get Rhythm" which opens this album at a gallop, with a bounding new bassline and juddering fuzz-guitar figure like staccato accordion. In general, when the remixers stick close to the originals, things aren't too bad: Pete Rock's take on "Folsom Prison Blues" has an infectious cantering manner, and Count De Money beefs up Cash's boom-chicka-boom rhythm on "Big River" without losing the basic track, resulting in something akin to a hypnotic JJ Cale groove. But having to work from finished mixes rather than multi-track masters means that in EQing out the original backings, the producers lose corresponding frequencies of Cash's voice, leaving a thin and etiolated ghost of his presence struggling to be heard, particularly over the indignities afflicted by Snoop Dogg on "I Walk The Line".

Download this: 'Get Rhythm', 'Big River', 'Folsom Prison Blues'