Artsweek editor: Hello?

Jesse: Hey, I’ve got bad news.

What’s wrong?

It’s about the CD review,

Don’t say it.

Look, it’s like this: Johnny Cash is my god and I don’t think that I can do his new box set any justice.
Sure you can, put your mind to it.

It’s not like that – there is so much good material that I don’t know where to start.

Well, what do you think your favorite song is?

That’s like asking a mom who their favorite son is.

Just try.

OK, how about this: I’ll break it down by CD.

How many are there?

Five, and they’re sick. They all have a different feel to them. We’re talking four albums worth of material that Johnny and Rick Rubin just decided not to release during the American Recordings sessions and then the last album is a collection of his greatest hits from all four of the American series.

OK, calm down. Let’s talk about disc one.
Check. Disc one’s title is Who’s Gonna Cry, which is taken from track eight, “The Caretaker.” This is also the saddest track of the set because the chorus is the Man in Black singing, “Who’s gonna cry when John dies.” And at the end of the track you can hear him laugh.

Good start, keep going.

The second is Trouble in Mind. This disc consists of collaborations with more musicians. Cash and the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” and the track immediately following features Johnny with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Then the next disc is Redemption Songs, featuring Cash’s version of Marley’s “Redemption Song” with help from the late and great Joe Strummer.

Are there any drawbacks?

It’s hard to say. I enjoy listening to the all gospel collection on disc four, My Mother’s Hymn Book, but it just doesn’t move me as much as, say, “A Singer of Songs” from disc three.
What about the last disc?

Well, it’s a hits collection, but that is debatable, because they didn’t include “Unchained,” from the first American album, which won him a Grammy.

But it’s like that with any “best of” album, from any band.
That’s true… So yeah, I just don’t think I’ll be able to review the album, it’s just too… I can’t even think of the word.

I understand. Well, we’ll keep in touch; thanks for calling.

Yeah, sorry… bye.

[Je$$e Hoy will be eternally grateful if you have contact info for the Donnas’ drummer. Thanks.]