October 1998
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Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson
VH1 Storytellers
(American)

So this is the third review of a "country" album I have written in two months. I hope my friends don't think I have lost my rock and roll edge. But seriously, country (at least THIS kind of country) is the very heart of rock and roll. These guys had those "rock and roll lifestyles," they dress in black, they sing about booze and guns and love and hardcore stuff like that.

Did you see the VH1 Storytellers that featured Cash and Nelson? If you haven't, I suggest you check it out. It's so bare, so honest, and so great that it brought a shiver to my spine. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are America's very last "good ol' boys," and they are keeping it real.

You'll recognize songs like "Crazy," (written by Nelson but made famous by country diva Patsy Cline), "Night Life" (my theme song), "Folsom Prison Blues," and the radio favorites "Always On My Mind" and "On the Road Again." The two musicians are old friends, armed with nothing but their acoustic guitars and single microphones, and that is all they need to make the same great music they have been making for decades.

Cash's sloping baritone is an icon of country/rock, road songs, war songs (especially like the touching "Drive On") and songs about the low-down man. Nelson's nasal, nearly out of tune voice, makes you want to sing along, and yell "Sing it, Willie!"

If you're serious about music, but don't want to bother digging for dusty old Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson albums to learn a little history, this album is a perfect lesson in classic country rock, of buddies with guitars, of outlaws and cowboys. It's a piece of Americana that should be treasured by young and old, because these good ol' boys aren't getting any younger...it's a chance for us to hear their stories and songs before they forget them.

I must give this album the rating of:

[A+][99%]


Simply because Johnny Cash scares me.

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