Sings the Ballads of the True West

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Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West
JohnnyCashTrueWest.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOriginal: September 1965
Re-issued: August 27, 2002
RecordedAugust 14, 1959 - April 26, 1965
Genre
LengthOriginal: 64:52
Re-issue: 68:26
LabelColumbia
Producer
Johnny Cash chronology
Orange Blossom Special
(1965)
Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West
(1965)
Everybody Loves a Nut
(1966)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars link
PopMattersfavorable

Johnny Cash 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, while the melody of "Streets of Laredo" would be recycled for the song "The Walls of a Prison" featured on Cash's album From Sea to Shining Sea.

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.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Hiawatha's Vision"Johnny Cash2:25
2."The Road to Kaintuck"Cash, June Carter2:43
3."The Shifting, Whispering Sands Part I"Jack V.C. Gilbert, Mary Margaret Hadler2:54
4."The Ballad of Boot Hill"Carl Perkins3:48
5."I Ride an Old Paint"Traditional, Cash2:58
6."Hardin Wouldn't Run"Cash4:19
7."Mr. Garfield"Ramblin' Jack Elliott4:35
8."Streets of Laredo"Traditional, Cash3:39
9."Johnny Reb"Merle Kilgore2:50
10."A Letter from Home"Maybelle Carter, Dearest Dean2:35
11."Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"Traditional, Cash2:26
12."Mean as Hell"Cash3:07
13."Sam Hall"Tex Ritter3:15
14."25 Minutes to Go"Shel Silverstein3:14
15."The Blizzard"Harlan Howard3:53
16."Sweet Betsy from Pike"Jimmie Driftwood3:57
17."Green Grow the Lilacs"Traditional, Cash2:47
18."Stampede"Peter La Farge4:01
19."The Shifting, Whispering Sands Part II"Jack Gilbert, Mary Hadler2:28
20."Reflections"Cash2:58
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
JohnnyCashMeanasHell.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1966
RecordedAugust 14, 1959 - April 26, 1965
Genre
Length38:15
LabelColumbia
ProducerDon Law, Frank Jones
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."The Shifting Whispering Sands, Part I"Jack V.C. Gilbert, Mary Margaret Hadler2:54
2."I Ride an Old Paint"Traditional, Cash2:58
3."The Road to Kaintuck"Cash, June Carter2:43
4."A Letter from Home"Maybelle Carter, Dearest Dean2:35
5."Mean as Hell"Cash3:07
6."25 Minutes to Go"Shel Silverstein3:14
7."Mr. Garfield"Ramblin' Jack Elliott4:35
8."The Blizzard"Harlan Howard3:53
9."Streets of Laredo"Traditional, Cash3:39
10."Sweet Betsy from Pike"Jimmie Driftwood3:14
11."Stampede"Peter La Farge2:57
12."Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"Traditional, Cash2:26
Total length:38:15


Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1965 Country Albums 4

External links[edit]