Dec
19

Cash’s “Out Among The Stars” Not Just Another Re-release

December 19, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  24 Comments

johnny-cash-out-among-the-starsIn the last few years, the amount of re-releases, rare recordings, and other such reconstituted music material we’ve been bestowed by the Johnny Cash and Hank Williams camps and others has made the announcement and release of archival material somewhat of a mundane event. It’s not that there isn’t material on these albums that is worthy of ears, but they’re usually only good for maybe a few individual tracks that you must find by sifting through outtakes and alternative versions to get to. Sometimes these releases are padded with material that has been previously released, or has been put out in bootleg form before. And with so many of these releases, the mystique of hearing something new from a deceased artist has ironically become commonplace. Sometimes the release dates for these projects come and go and you don’t even notice despite your loyal fandom.

That will not, and should not be the case for the upcoming Johnny Cash album Out Among The Stars set to be released on March 25th, 2014. Instead of a hodgepodge of live or radio recordings or other such discarded studio fodder, Out Among The Stars is a complete album that was recorded between 1981 and 1984 by Cash, with songs that were meant to be together, but never saw the light of day. A true “lost album” if there ever was one. It was produced by Country Music Hall of Famer Billy Sherrill, renown as one of the architects of the countrypolitan, or Nashville Sound. But this wasn’t 1965, and Johnny Cash wasn’t just some artist looking to soften his sound with strings and choruses. Sherrill was also the president of CBS Records at the time, and the pairing was meant to create something special; something that could re-ignite Johnny Cash’s career.

It was the early 1980′s and Cash’s label Columbia was not sure what to do with him. Like so many other golden-era, aging country artists at the time, Cash was seen as cold product, and eventually Columbia dropped Cash in 1986, shelving Out Among The Stars, even though they released some other recordings and albums that were made after the album. It is pretty obvious that Columbia executives didn’t think much of the project, but as we’ve come to find out over the years, from back then and today, just because Music Row doesn’t approve, doesn’t mean it is bad.

Apparently when Cash was cut from Columbia, June Carter stashed the masters for Out Among The Stars amongst other archival recordings. The masters weren’t even found until last year when the family was going through the material looking for potential archival releases.

“They never threw anything away,” Cash’s son John Carter Cash tells The Tennessean. “They kept everything in their lives. They had an archive that had everything in it from the original audio tapes from ‘The Johnny Cash Show’ to random things like a camel saddle, a gift from the prince of Saudi Arabia….We were so excited when we discovered this. We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard. Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He’s pitch perfect. It’s seldom where there’s more than one vocal take. They’re a live take and they’re perfect.”

Out Among The Stars features 12 tracks, including a duet with Waylon Jennings, and two duets with Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash. The recordings feature Country Hall of Fame keys player Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and a young Marty Stuart. And for better or worse, Legacy Recordings had Marty Stuart, Buddy Miller, and Jerry Douglas “fortify” the recordings for this release. No, this is not the dusting off of some old demos to have fans who will buy anything Cash dig into their pockets yet again. Great care was taken with this project from beginning to end, and the result may mean the continuance of the surprising and sustainable interest Johnny Cash enjoys well after his passing.

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Pre-Order Out Among The Stars on CD

Pre-Order Out Among The Stars on Vinyl

Below is a clip of the song “She Used To Love Me A Lot,” written by Dennis Morgan, Charles Quillen, and Kye Fleming, and originally recorded by David Allan Coe with producer Billy Sherrill in 1985.

24 Comments to “Cash’s “Out Among The Stars” Not Just Another Re-release”

  • I cannot wait for this.

       3 likes

  • video isn’t working for me and I couldn’t find it on youtube. could you add a link for the video please?

       0 likes

    • http://vevo.ly/NwXk2l

      There may be country restrictions on the video.

         0 likes

      • Hopefully not the same kind that we see on the radio, eh? ;)

           10 likes

        • :) Best laugh I’ve had so far today.

          A couple of days back I was listening to a Pop radio station and a Taylor Swift song came on, so I hit a country music station preset and (son of a b…) the same exact Taylor Swift pop song was playing. I was wondering what the point of even having country radio stations is anymore. When I tune in a country station, I’d like to hear some country thank you.

             2 likes

          • Ha. I know the feeling. I was listening to a country station & Luke Bryan’s That’s My Kind of Night came on so I changed it to another country station and it was on there too. Little variety these days.

               0 likes

          • No kiddin. seems like the country stations used to play the widest variety. they would mix a little of the old with a little of the new stuff. not so much the case anymore.

               0 likes

  • Awesome-o, I’m pumped. I’m still waiting on them to release the full Johnny Cash Show on DVD, however.

       2 likes

  • Is it too early to predict this album as a favorite for your 2014 album of the year Trig?

       1 likes

    • Definitely my most-anticipated of 2014 at the moment.

         3 likes

  • For me, the best part of that is that he covers a Coe song.

       0 likes

    • It’s not a D.A.C. Cover… The songs were pitched to multiple people back in the day. Billy Sherill took my friend, Gary Gentry’s song, that was meant to be for Gary and pitched it to David. Oh by the way.. It was a song called “The Ride”…

         0 likes

  • Slightly off-topic, but I just typed ‘johnny cash’ into Spotify’s search bar. The ‘Top Hit’ was a garbage Jason Aldean song named Johnny Cash.

    Vomit.

       4 likes

  • I wonder if that title (Out Among the Stars) was a new addition to the project. It struck me as maybe a reference to Johnny’s verse in the classic song “The Highwayman” by The Highwaymen.

    Absolutely already pre – ordered this.

       0 likes

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgopazcck34 is it a cover of this?

       0 likes

  • Can’t wait for this one! Great article as well. I love reading your indepth background, and really appreciate the TLC that you put into your articles Trigger. Always a pleasure.

       0 likes

  • Another disc you MUST have for your collection is Johnny Cash Live in England, 1994. It’s JC on the main stage at The Glastonbury Festival playing to probably the biggest crowd of his career. His reception was rapturous. So much so the old boy stood there with tears rolling down his face. There was validation, tangibly so, after a lifetime of striving. Whatever dead ends his less adroit career moves may have lead him up Stateside, over in Britain he was ever the edgy outsider meeting his love in St Paul’s, Minnesota! Christ! What a day that was!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Live-England-1994-Johnny-Cash/dp/B00GOIKAHA/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1387725367&sr=8-23&keywords=johnny+cash

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz17IbpRU9s

       0 likes

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzCyHZLhYK4

    The band’s smiles here say it all…..boys this ain’t Branson. :)

       0 likes

  • FANtastic! I’ll be waiting for a pre-order link Triggerman, Great News!

       0 likes

    • Pre ordered today!…also being released on vinyl Wooohoo!

         0 likes

  • Trig, what do you make of the “VH1 Storytellers” album that Cash and Willie made in 1998? I’m currently listening to it and I think it’s quite great. The music, of course, is impeccable, the production is also good (I think Rubin is a great producer), but my favorite part is the rapport between Nelson and Cash, who make light of the evening and their respective careers (with a particularly somber anecdote about a fourth Highwaymen album/tour that never came to fruition due to Waylon’s death.)

       0 likes

    • That’s a legendary episode. Haven’t watched it in years but I watched it every chance I got back in the day.

         1 likes

      • Kudos. I looked for the actual episode itself and am disappointed to say that I couldn’t find it. There’s no DVD or VHS release to my knowledge and the clips on YouTube appear to be only parts of the show sourced from a home recording. I picked up the album for $5.00 at Walmart last week because I hadn’t had a chance to hear it and it was worth every penny. It should still be in stock if you’re needing a copy (and every Walmart tends to carry the same items, so I’m sure that the one in your neighborhood would have one or two just like mine).

           0 likes

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