Sings the Ballads of the True West

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Sings the Ballads of the True West
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released Original: September 1965
Re-issued: August 27, 2002
Recorded August 14, 1959 - April 26, 1965
Genre Country, folk
Length Original: 64:52
Re-issue: 68:26
Label Columbia
Producer Don Law, Frank Jones
Johnny Cash chronology
Orange Blossom Special
(1965)
Sings the Ballads of the True West
(1965)
Everybody Loves a Nut
(1966)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars link

Sings the Ballads of the True West is a conceptual double album and the 22nd overall album released by country singer Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in 1965 (see 1965 in music). Covering twenty individual songs, the album, as its title suggests, contains various ballads and other songs on topics related to the history of the American Old West. This includes Carl Perkins' "The Ballad of Boot Hill", "Streets of Laredo", and the sole single from the album, "Mr. Garfield", describing the shock of the population after the assassination of President James Garfield. One of the songs, "25 Minutes to Go", would later be performed at Folsom Prison and appear on Cash's famous At Folsom Prison recording in 1968. Sings the Ballads of the True West was re-issued in 2002 (see 2002 in music) through Legacy Recordings, with two bonus tracks, one of which is an instrumental version of a track available on the album. The original album was included on the Bear Family box set Come Along and Ride This Train.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
Total length:
64:52

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1965 "Mr. Garfield" Country Singles 15

Modern Interpretations & Associations[edit]

Baltimore based creative folklore/music ensemble Television Hill have recorded a 6 song concept EP called My Name's Hardin, the title of which pokes fun at Bob Dylan's misspelling of outlaw Wes Hardin's name on his 1967 release John Wesley Harding and paying homage to Dylan's record and Johnny Cash's double concept LP Sings the Ballads of the True West. The EP is a biographical work exploring Wes Hardin's life and draws from Hardin's autobiography, Letters from Prison and an assortment of other biographical and relevant source material.

Mean as Hell![edit]

In March, 1966 (see 1966 in music), Columbia released Mean as Hell! : Ballads From The True West, a single LP distillation of Sings the Ballads of the True West. It peaked at #4 on the top country albums chart. It has not been released on CD.

Mean as Hell! : Ballads From The True West
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released March 1966
Recorded August 14, 1959 - April 26, 1965
Genre Country, folk
Length 38:15
Label Columbia
Producer Don Law, Frank Jones
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Shifting Whispering Sands, Part I"   Jack V.C. Gilbert, Mary Margaret Hadler 2:54
2. "I Ride an Old Paint"   Traditional, Cash 2:58
3. "The Road to Kaintuck"   Cash, June Carter 2:43
4. "A Letter from Home"   Maybelle Carter, Dearest Dean 2:35
5. "Mean as Hell"   Cash 3:07
6. "25 Minutes to Go"   Shel Silverstein 3:14
7. "Mr. Garfield"   Ramblin' Jack Elliott 4:35
8. "The Blizzard"   Harlan Howard 3:53
9. "Streets of Laredo"   Traditional, Cash 3:39
10. "Sweet Betsy from Pike"   Jimmie Driftwood 3:14
11. "Stampede"   Peter La Farge 2:57
12. "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"   Traditional, Cash 2:26
Total length:
38:15


Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1965 Country Albums 4

External links[edit]