Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West

Rating 70%

MI0001675230I recently picked up, Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West on vinyl. This two LP set was released in 1965. I have been a huge Johnny Cash fan, especially during his earlier days. With this record, I was interested simply because of the American history that Johnny Cash sings about. The Wild West has always held the imagination of some of the American people. The culture, the myths, the legends, the Indians wars, and the outlaws and lawmen. The Wild West in the 1960’s was still popular among American culture through Hollywood, especially John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies and among countless other great actors.

Listening to this album, one can quickly hear the sound and style of the 60’s Country and Folk music. Strong and sometimes overwhelming female choirs, strings arrangements and orchestra. He also does narration that tries to tell the story of the old West through a series of songs on the record. Many of the songs have that classic Johnny Cash sound, style and lyrics.   One song that comes to mind is “25 Minutes To Go.” This song even has some of Johnny Cash’s sense of humor that many of his songs had. Other songs are more Folk than Country. Some of the songs are a bit dry, but one needs to expect that from this period of Country music.

The highlights are:

Record One:

  • The Ballad of Boot Hill
  • Johnny Reb

Record Two:

  • Mean as Hell
  • Sam Hall
  • 25 Minutes To Go
  • Stampede

Bottom line, if you’re really into Johnny Cash, then this album would be a must have for your collection. If you’re a fan of the new Johnny Cash, then you might just want to skip this one and stick with the greatest hits collection and the recordings from American Records.

Track Listing:

1. “Hiawatha’s Vision” Johnny Cash 2:25
2. “The Road to Kaintuck” Cash, June Carter 2:43
3. “The Shifting, Whispering Sands Part I” Jack V.C. Gilbert, Mary Margaret Hadler 2:54
4. “The Ballad of Boot Hill” Carl Perkins 3:48
5. “I Ride an Old Paint” Traditional, Cash 2:58
6. “Hardin Wouldn’t Run” Cash 4:19
7. “Mr. Garfield” Ramblin’ Jack Elliott 4:35
8. “Streets of Laredo” Traditional, Cash 3:39
9. “Johnny Reb” Merle Kilgore 2:50
10. “A Letter from Home” Maybelle Carter, Dearest Dean 2:35
11. “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” Traditional, Cash 2:26
12. “Mean as Hell” Cash 3:07
13. “Sam Hall” Tex Ritter 3:15
14. “25 Minutes to Go” Shel Silverstein 3:14
15. “The Blizzard” Harlan Howard 3:53
16. “Sweet Betsy from Pike” Jimmie Driftwood 3:57
17. “Green Grow the Lilacs” Traditional, Cash 2:47
18. “Stampede” Peter La Farge 4:01
19. “The Shifting, Whispering Sands Part II” Jack Gilbert, Mary Hadler 2:28
20. “Reflections” Cash 2:58


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