Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” (1970)

KCS 9943
“Columbia”, Marcas
Printed in U.S. A.

A long, free verse poem about J.R. by record producer Bob Johnson. (Check back for full read.)

Offer expires December 31st, 1970

The most interesting detail about my copy is a sticky label of scrolling parchment with the words “Ex Recordus Libris” printed above my mom’s signature, maiden surname. If she got it when it was released, she was around 16 – at most, 23.

I’ve heard criticism that records don’t make for the best investment, because…how was it put in that NPR segment I heard recently — canned food in the bomb shelter is a waste there isn’t a can opener…? Something to that affect.

Well, here I am, listening to an album bought by my mom on a turntable she and my dad used to play albums over 30 years ago. Only the stylus has been replaced. As far as music preservation goes, it’s hard to argue with the superiority of vinyl over most all newer innovations. There’s a reason they’re called records.

I guess it’s a good thing my parents thought to throw in the can opener.

SIDE 1: 1. “Southwind,” (-J. Cash-); 2. “The Devil to Pay,” (-M. Travis – L. Rusk); 3. “‘Cause I Love You,” (-J. Cash-); 4. “See Ruby Fall,” (-J. Cash – R. Orbison-); 5. “Route #1, BOX 144,” (-J. Cash-); 6. “Sing a Traveling Song,” (-K. Jones).

♠SIDE 2: 1. “If I Were a Carpenter,” (-T. Hardin-); 2. “To Beat the Devil,” (-K. Kristofferson-); 3. “Blistered,” (-B. E. Wheeler-); 4. “Wrinkled, Crinkled; Wadded Dollar Bill,” (-V. Matthews); 5. “I’ve Got a Thing About Trains,” (-J. Clement); 6. “Jesus Was a Carpenter,” (C. Wren-)

My sources (hello, Wikipedia) tell me this was Johnny’s 33rd album! Amazing! It was 13 years into his recording career, and by the time of his death in 2003, Cash had 87 albums under his belt (with posthumous albums being released as recently as 2010).

I’d write all about the interesting facts about Johnny Cash, but, you know…that whole it’s been done thing. Two tidbits I enjoyed picked up were these, though: Johnny’s given name was “J.R.,” with “John R.” being adopted when he was 18 because the Air Force wouldn’t allow him to register under initials; he was the first radio operator to learn of Stalin’s death.

The most popular song on this album is “If I Were a Carpenter,” a duet with Cash’s second wife, June. They won a Grammy for it, and this album went gold. It has the quintessential twang and bump of country/rockabilly with which a good number of people have come to associate his music. I noticed the attributions to Kris Kristofferson and Roy Orbison on this album; perhaps I’ll research those affiliations and leave an update in this post sometime in the future.

Few musicians from the 20th century were as prolific as Cash, and we’ll hear more of him in this archive.

Musicians: Carl Perkins, Bob Wootton, Jerry Shook – Guitar;  Norman Blake – Dobro/Guitar;  Marshall Grant – Bass;  W.S. Holland – Drums;  Bill Pursell – Piano;  George Tidwell – Trumpet;  The Carter Family – Background Vocals

Produced by Bob Johnson
Engineering: Charlie Bragg
Cover photo: Joel Baldwin /Look Magazine
Manufactured by Columbia Records / CBS Inc. / 51 W. 52nd Street, New York, N.Y. / ® “Columbia,” Marcas Reg.

Columbia stereo records can be played on today’s mono record players with excellent results. They will last long as mono records played on the same equipment, yet will reveal full stereo sound when played on stereo record players.


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