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CD Review: Johnny Cash

Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth (Columbia/Legacy)

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It doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are — when Johnny Cash sings spiritual songs, you can't help but pay attention. Mixing traditional hymns, folk tunes, and a few originals, this two-disc set collects 51 mostly unreleased songs Cash recorded in the '70s and '80s with help from his musical family, including daughter Rosanne, wife June Carter, and son-in-law Rodney Crowell. The messages boil down to salvation, but the settings don't stray too far from Cash's secular material, from the mariachi horns that show up in "Wings in the Morning" to the Sun-style rock & roll burner that is "Strange Things Happening Every Day." This personal set pays tribute to Cash's faith in his savior and his music.

John Patrick Gatta

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