Compared to the amount of different types of music that is available to stream today, the music scene was very limited in the mid to late 1950s. Musicians were bound to a very limited source of music creation and production. Despite this, great music was beginning to emerge at this time along with the invention of the LP which began the concept of the album.
Having said that, Johnny Cash is likely the most famous country musician of them all. His songs are legendary. Even Kid Rock wanted to be him in a way, reflected in his song named Johnny Cash. Let’s take a listen to the music here and see if Johnny Cash’s debut in 1957 is as legendary as the critics say it is.
First off is Rock Island Line which has some muted electric guitar parts and strummed acoustic guitar parts that perfectly match Johnny Cash’s voice. It raises the tempo throughout, and is a really excellent song to start off this album with. It’s a fabulous song and is really timeless. Short and sweet.
Next is I Heard That Lonesome Whistle which is a laidback tune that sounds very southern USA sort of song. It’s very soulful and good listening, mainly about breaking people’s hearts. It’s much slower than the previous track and evokes sadness, although it is not hugely depressing. A good piece of country music to hear.
Country Boy is a rural story about said country boy. It’s a more cheerful and excellent musical accomplishment about a time and place that is away from city like trends and styles. A great sense of storytelling is here, and is a nice listen overall. Short and sweet.
If the Good Lord’s Willing is another upbeat piece with strummed acoustic guitars and muted guitar parts. It’s a cool country and simple musical tune to hear. This is really fine music to hear, even today. It’s a lovely tune to hear and talks about work on a farm and simple musical ideals. Nice.
Next is Cry, Cry, Cry which is a slower piece about crying alone at night. It’s a well described musical melancholy tale, without sounding overly depressing. Johnny Cash was a great musician, and even this album alone proves that. It’s a good simpleton’s sort of song. A great effort to listen to. The guitar riff sort of solo is unique.
After that is the ballad like Remember Me which is a song of true and devotional love about being there for a partner. It’s a good ode to love and loneliness. There is the riff guitar solo again which is unique to Johnny’s Cash’s music. A short and sweet tune.
So Doggone Lonesome is next with some really dark sounding guitar parts. The song is about dealing with the loss of a lover. It sounds very emotional and deep to hear. A great effort to hear and Johnny Cash puts in quite an emotional performance. This is the sort of music about pleading for a lover to return. It’s not Kurt Cobain/Nine Inch nails depressing, but it is a good song to hear.
I Was There When It Happened is another short tale. It is a good musical story and accomplishment. It refers to Jesus and Christian ideals, which is a very country music sort of thing. This is very simple music to hear, and sounds really good about said topic, even if you are not Christian. Excellent songs here. Some good backing vocals are here as well.
Next is I Walk The Line which is another good song on this album. It’s a decent and classic tune to listen to, about matters of love at hand. Songs such as these made Johnny Cash a real legend in the music world. It’s a nice and loving song in romantic matters. Good to hear. It sounds very dark, a good tune to hear on this album.
After that we have The Wreck Of The Old 97 which is a great piece musically and lyrically. The guitar solo here is fantastic, halfway between rhythm and lead playing. A good song about disaster at hand, it is a great and odd sort of listen.
Folsom Prison Blues is about being in prison itself, and dreaming of a better life in the outer world. It’s a very deep sort of topic lyrically, but the music is awesome to match it. Johnny Cash was a great musician, no questions about it. Another solidly good listen. A simpleton’s music here.
Doin’ My Time is another jailbird country song for those who have been through tough times. It’s not exactly light and easy subject matter like what The Beatles would do. But hey, it is still a great listen. An excellent and timeless piece of music, just like the rest of the album. Brilliant. The combination of Johnny Cash’s unique voice, strummed acoustic guitar and rhythmic and clean guitar parts make this a great listen.
Most bands don’t have half a clue on their first album, in general. Johnny Cash did, and although many people tend to pigeonhole him into a country music niche, he is a star in his own right. This is definitely a classic album and a great start to a career that spanned decades. Do check this out, it is a great listen.