Bootleg Vol. II: From Memphis to Hollywood


The deluge of Johnny Cash vault material (and endless repackagings) released since he ceased to walk the line on this earthly plane shows no sign of abating. The first set in this “bootleg” series, Personal File, only scratched the surface of the hundreds of demos, outtakes and home recordings accumulated by the man over his lifetime. From Memphis to Hollywood dips into that trove again, this time to take us back to the very beginning of his career with an early radio appearance by a nervous and green Cash and the Tennessee Two in May 1955. Following that are 14 early demos of songs that he would later record for Sun, featuring Cash alone with his guitar. The set adds several Sun outtakes and a disc of B-sides and rarities from his ’60s work for Columbia, all of which are worthy listening. But it’s the glimpse of the first steps of a musical giant that makes this collection essential. –Stuart Munro

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