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):
There’s never a bad time to get re-acquainted with the Man in Black’s back catalog. Here’s one of the entries:
THE YEAR: 1959, shortly after Johnny Cash took his big booming voice and left Sam Phillips’ Sun Records for the big leagues.
THE FACTS: This is only Cash’s second major-label album, but the singer-songwriter was already hitting his stride. Songs Of The Soil is the first of Cash’s many concept albums — most of its dozen tracks are folk ballads and Cash compositions about the beauty and power of nature.
THE HIGHLIGHTS: The flood tale Five Feet High And Rising may be the most famous tune here, but don’t overlook The Great Speckle Bird and I Want To Go Home, which Brian Wilson rejigged a few years later into a little something called Sloop John B.
THE EXTRAS: The upbeat prison lament I Got Stripes and the poppy love song You Dreamer You, both of which were recorded at the same time as Songs Of The Soil but ended up on later albums.
THE VERDICT: As earthy and natural as its title.