Home Read Classic Album Review: Johnny Cash | Orange Blossom Special: American Milestones Series

Classic Album Review: Johnny Cash | Orange Blossom Special: American Milestones Series

Mixing country classics with Dylan covers, Cash bridges his ’50s & ’60s styles.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


To celebrate country legend Johnny Cash’s 70th birthday, the folks at his record label Sony threw quite a little party in his honour — by releasing a couple of greatest-hit collections, a star-studded tribute disc, and reissues of five of the Man in Black’s classic discs from the ’50s and ’60s.

In typical fashion, the quintet — The Fabulous Johnny Cash, Hymns by Johnny Cash, Ride This Train, Orange Blossom Special and Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash and June Carter — were all remastered and augmented with bonus tracks, copious liner notes and even anecdotes from Cash himself. Here’s the lowdown on one of them. You can use the search box to find the rest:


Johnny Cash
Orange Blossom Special

The Year: 1965.

The Back Story: Forever on the cutting edge of cool, Johnny delivers countrified covers of three tunes — It Ain’t Me Babe, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright and Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind — by some folkie upstart named Dylan. Then he tosses in a few originals, along with confident, rootsy versions of Orange Blossom Special, Long Black Veil, Wildwood Flower and Danny Boy just for good measure.

The Hits: If all those tunes don’t do it for you, well, there’s also a pretty duet with June Carter on When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below).

The Extras: Not that you need them, but there are three — A dark reading of The Carter Family’s Engine 143, the tinkly piano ballad (I’m Proud) The Baby is Mine and a second version of Dylan’s Mama with toreador horns — all previously unreleased in North America.

The Final Verdict: The bridge between Cash’s ’50s and ’60s styles.