Johnny Cash - 16 Biggest Hits Volume II
Corralling Johnny Cash’s best work from the ‘50s through the ‘80s onto one disc proved flat-out impossible — which led Sony to release this second anthology in 2001. If anything, this is a more diverse and eye-opening collection than Volume 1, stretching from folksy country tunes like “Tennessee Flat-Top Box” through widescreen pop ballads like “Highwayman.” Just about every aspect of Cash’s repertoire is covered here, including prison songs like “I Got Stripes,” traditional tunes like “Orange Blossom Special” and humorous fare like “The One On the Right Is On the Left.” “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town” and “To Beat the Devil” reveal his dramatic way with a story-song, while his reading of “The Lady Came from Baltimore” is filled with tenderness. Songs like “Busted” are genuine populist statements — yet in the end Cash comes across as a loner, facing his fate and his God on his own terms. These diverse tracks create a composite portrait of an artist who strode across musical categories effortlessly. Johnny Cash did it all with humility and grace, building a legend song by song.