Posted on March 31st, 2014 (3:34 pm) by Adam Vedomske

Rick is at his favorite burger joint about to dig into his burger and fries. As he reaches for the ketchup a man comes up and takes a fry. He looks up and it is Bill Murray. Before he has a chance to say anything Bill Murray looks him in the eyes and states, “No one will ever believe you!” Johnny Cash’s Out Among The Stars features tales like this and shows why we fell in love with The Man in Black in the first place. Tales that seem unbelievable but are true at the same time.

Out Among The Stars was originally recorded in the ‘80s at a time when, to Cash, it seemed pointless to release the album. The ‘80s for Cash showed a lull in his popularity, when the majority of his albums didn’t even chart. Listening to this unreleased material out of that context where The Man in Black is now a musical icon gives a glimpse of what type of man he truly was. John Carter Cash (Johnny’s son with June Carter) stated. “What I hear, what gets me so excited, is personal. I'm getting back in contact with the man who was my best friend in 1984. I get to hang out with these records and spend some time with my dad, remember him as he was at that time in my life."

The album starts with the title track, where Cash seems to seek redemption in his tale-like songs. This track is a perfect example of this. It tells the story of a boy who robs a liquor store and the ensuing shoot-out. This sort of tale is what The Man in Black is famous for writing. The story of the anti-hero, the poor man, the working man, the man who has been oppressed by life so much that he lashes out against society. Cash then asks the listener to consider the thief’s position and consider that if given different circumstances wouldn’t he be able to start over and be able to fly like eagles out among the stars.

“I Drove Her Out Of My Mind” tells another tale, a sinister story which shows why he is called The Man in Black. It offers a little more wit than any other track on this album. “I Drove Her Out Of My Mind” is not as dark as “Delia’s Gone,” but it is a tale in the same vein. This song also features Cash speaking to the listener instead of him merely singing and there is a part where he laughs a sinister, almost scary, laugh.

Other notable tracks are “I’m Movin’ On” (Hank Snow cover) and “She Used To Love Me A Lot” both featuring Waylon Jennings. The latter is a dark ballad of lost love produced by Elvis Costello. June Carter Cash is featured on two tracks “Baby Ride Easy” and “Don’t You Think Our Time Will Come.” “Baby Ride Easy” also features June’s daughter Carlene Carter, from her first marriage to country star Carl Smith.

The most notable track on the album is “I Came To Believe.” The song waltzes around his personal struggles at one of Cash’s hardest times. It shows that even through his problems he still was able to keep his faith. "A lot of people don't know it, but in the early '80s he had struggled with addiction, he had dark times and almost broke off his relationship and marriage with mother. It was a tough time, it really was," John Carter Cash said. The song opens with the lyrics:

“I couldn’t manage the problems I brought on myself
And it just made it worse when I laid them on somebody else
So I finally surrendered it all, brought down in despair
I cried out for help, and I felt a warm comforter there.”

This shows what type of person Johnny Cash was. He was a strong man, yet humbly so and hard working man. Out Among The Stars is another testament to this man and his legacy.

Track List:

  1. Out Among the Stars
  2. Baby Ride Easy
  3. She Used to Love Me a Lot
  4. After All
  5. I’m Movin’ On
  6. If I Told You Who It Was
  7. Call Your Mother
  8. I Drove Her Out of My Mind
  9. Tennessee
  10. Rock and Roll Shoes
  11. Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time
  12. I Came to Believe
Johnny Cash, The Man In Black, Out Among The Stars
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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79 / 100
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