Known throughout the world as one of the major figures of post-Hank Williams country music, Johnny Cash constantly sought to expand his musical horizons and avoid being pigeonholed. Cash was at his most engagingly eclectic on Orange Blossom Special, recorded in 1964.
For starters, ''The Man In Black'' covered three tunes by Bob Dylan, then the most talked-about young singer-songwriter of the dawning folk-rock era. (''It Ain't Me Babe,'' ''Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,'' and ''Mama, You've Been On My Mind''), The Nashville musical establishment hardly embraced Dylan's mind-blowing lyrics, but Cash, knowing genius when he heard it, was the first major country star to cover Dylan's work. By the same token, he also rendered two numbers by A.P. Carter of the legendary Carter Family, who, along with Jimmy Rodgers, created the musical template that's still the model for ''traditional'' country, bluegrass, and some forms of folk. And Cash's unmistakable, tough-hewn baritone rendered the classic fiddle tune that is the title track, as well as ''Danny Boy'' (with a spoken word intro), the spiritual ''Amen'' and the traditional story-song ''The Long Black Veil.''. Cash's compositions include ''The Wall,'' one of the prison songs for which he is known, and the protest tune ''All Of God's Children Ain't Free.'' Orange Blossom Special (with liner notes by the artist and never-before seen archive photos) finds Cash backed by the Tennessee Two, his outstanding guitar/bass tandem of Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant and guest appearances by such Nashville aces as Boots Randolph on tenor sax, pianists Floyd Cramer and Bill Pursell, guitarist Norman Blake, and harmonica ace Charlie McCoy. And on Johnny Horton's ''When It's Springtime In Alaska (It's Forty Below),'' Cash is accompanied by the now-familiar female voice of June Carter.
''Johnny Cash transcends country music...he represents what American Music is all about!''
* 200g vinyl
* Stereo edition
* 28pt. gatefold includes NEW archived (early 1960s era) photos of Johnny Cash
* Box Car numbered edition
* Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio