Unchained (Johnny Cash album)

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Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released November 5, 1996
Recorded 1995, 1996
Genre Country, Americana, rock
Length 41:11
Label American/
Warner Bros.
Producer Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash chronology
The Road Goes on Forever
VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
American series chronology
American Recordings
American III: Solitary Man

Unchained, also known as American II: Unchained, is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recording series (and his 82nd overall). Like all Cash's albums for American, Unchained was produced by Rick Rubin. On the album, Cash is backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as a guest appearance of Flea, bassist from Red Hot Chili Peppers, on "Spiritual", and Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, both of Fleetwood Mac, on "Sea of Heartbreak". Unchained focuses more on covers and less on original material than the first album in the series. In addition to three of Cash's own compositions, Unchained contained songs by Tom Petty ("Southern Accents"), Soundgarden ("Rusty Cage") and Beck ("Rowboat"), The album also included a cover of the classic 1962 Hank Snow song, "I've Been Everywhere", written by Geoff Mack. In comparison with the country folk sound of Cash's other American Recordings' albums this one has more of a hard, true country rock sound.

Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of Rusty Cage.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention) link

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Rowboat" (Beck) – 3:44
    Originally recorded by Beck for Stereopathetic Soulmanure (1994)
  2. "Sea of Heartbreak" (Paul Hampton, Hal David) – 2:42
    Originally a hit single for Don Gibson (1961)
  3. "Rusty Cage" (Chris Cornell) – 2:49
    Originally recorded by Soundgarden for Badmotorfinger (1991)
  4. "The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart)" (Del Lyon/Lani McIntire) – 2:26
    Originally recorded in 1930 by Jimmie Rodgers, also recorded by Larry Clinton, Bing Crosby, Art Kassel (all 3 in 1937), George Morgan, Hank Snow, and Michael Nesmith (1970)
  5. "Country Boy" (Cash) – 2:31
    Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on With His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957)
  6. "Memories Are Made of This" (Richard Dehr/Terry Gilkyson/Frank Miller) – 2:19
    Originally a hit single by Dean Martin and The Easy Riders (1956)
  7. "Spiritual" (Josh Haden) – 5:06
    Originally recorded by Spain for The Blue Moods of Spain (1995)
  8. "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea" (Maybelle Carter/Anita Carter/Helen Carter/June Carter Cash) – 2:32
    Originally recorded by The Louvin Brothers for Satan Is Real (1960)
  9. "Southern Accents" (Tom Petty) – 4:41
    Originally recorded by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for Southern Accents (1985)
  10. "Mean Eyed Cat" (Cash) – 2:33
    Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on Sings Hank Williams (1960)
  11. "Meet Me in Heaven" (Cash) – 3:21
  12. "I Never Picked Cotton" (Bobby George/Charles Williams) – 2:39
    Originally recorded by Roy Clark for I Never Picked Cotton (1970)
  13. "Unchained" (Jude Johnstone) – 2:51
    Later recorded by Johnstone for Coming of Age (2002)
  14. "I've Been Everywhere" (Geoff Mack) – 3:17
    Originally a hit single by Lucky Starr (1959) and Hank Snow (1962)


Additional personnel[edit]

  • Rick Rubin - Producer
  • David Ferguson - Engineer
  • Sylvia Massy - Engineer, Mixing
  • John Ewing Jr., Greg Fidelman, Eddie Miller, Michael Stock - Assistant Engineers
  • Gene Grimaldi, Eddy Schreyer - Mastering
  • Martyn Atkins - Art Direction, Photography
  • Christine Cano - Art Direction, Design, Photography, Inlay Photography
  • Andy Earl - Photography

Chart performance[edit]


Chart (1996) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 170
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 26


Best Country Album

See also[edit]

External links[edit]