Johnny Cash

Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indians

Columbia (2248)

1964

Produced by Don Law & Frank Jones

**** recommended

Johnny tells sad stories of the Native Americans, through spoken word and song, mostly the latter.

 Drenched with tears, this is sadder and slower than many of Cash’s albums, but it’s solid from go to whoa.

While Cash wrote two of the songs, the majority of the compositions are by folk singer Peter La Farge.  La Farge would release his own Native-American themed album “on the Warpath” soon after the release of Cash’s album, the two albums featuring several of the same compositions. Unfortunately, the songs on these albums would serve as swan songs for La Farge, as he’d die unexpectedly in October 1965.

Like several of his long players from the 1960s, this is essential listening for Cash fans.

— winch

 

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