Johnny Cash – The Soul of Truth: Bootleg Vol. IV

January 01, 1970



The fourth volume in Johnny Cash’s posthumous Bootleg series, The Soul of Truth takes a more specialized tack, one that illuminates
Cash’s prodigious religious output throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. Cash
aficionados who might not otherwise tend to explore spiritual realms may at
first be inclined to shy away, but the performances herein offer ample reason
to explore this music regardless. Cash, it seems, was extremely devout, a man
who possessed a diehard devotion that was reflected through his rugged and
resolute persona.


Consequently, it’s difficult to separate his gospel output
from his secular efforts, at least in terms of their tone and temperament.  Cash recorded a number of gospel albums
during his lifetime, two of which are included in their entirety — A Believer Sings the Truth, recorded for
a small custom label in 1979, and Johnny
Cash-Gospel Singer
, released in 1983 for CBS’s gospel label, Priority
Records. Neither album received wide distribution, so their reappearance here,
along with various outtakes from those sessions, further enhances the treasure
trove of rarities the Bootleg series
is based on. Happily then, the performances themselves offer a wider appeal
than a fundamental religious tag might otherwise suggest. “Wings in the
Morning” and “When He Comes,” the latter sung with daughter Rosanne Cash, boast
the Mexicali
horns that punctuated “Ring of Fire” and come across with the same sort of
resilience that typified the best of his classic material. Likewise, the supple
ballads “Lay Me Down in Dixie, “Keep Me From
Blowing Away” ” and “Gospel Boogie (A Wonderful Time Up There)” offer gentle,
reassuring odes to humility and humanity with an easy embrace. The jaunty
tempos are catchy as can be, while the heavenly choir on “Oh Come, Angel Band”
seems to affirm the fact that salvation is indeed close at hand. And when on
“Over the Next Hill (We’ll Be Home)” Johnny and June promise to wait for one
another in the afterlife, the touching and prophetic meaning of the song
strikes an especially tender chord.


Ultimately then, these 51 tracks help define the man and his
muse, making this an essential addition to any Cash cache.


Me Down in Dixie,” “”Wings in the Morning,”
“Over the Next Hill (We’ll Be Home)” LEE ZIMMERMAN


Leave a Reply