I’ve been reading the autobiography of Johnny Cash since the news that came that Cash died. It’s incredibly interesting how he incorporates his faith into his life. He’s certainly fallen flat, and he admits that, but he’s found grace.
Another interesting thing is the projects you don’t hear about. My favorites are the offbeat ones. Apparently in 1986 Cash recorded the record, Chicken in Black, as a parting shot to 30 years with CBS records. They had failed to market his releases in the 1980s, and there was a fair amount of bitterness. Cash described the album as “intentionally atrocious.” I don’t think the album was ever released, but the title track was, and a video was made featuring Johnny Cash in a chicken suit. I don’t know where that video is, but somebody needs to find it.
The Children’s Album by Johnny Cash is another one I’d love to find. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the album, but it was re-released as All in the Family in 1999 and includes some previously unreleased outtakes as well as June Carter’s 1975 solo album, Appalachian Pride.
The Bible voiced by Johnny Cash is another one I’d love to have. Thomas Nelson released the audio version of the New King James version read by Johnny Cash. It’s no longer in print, but I think it should be re-released. The Bible to a classic voice like Johnny Cash (it sure beats Larry King).
On the religious theme, there’s also The Gospel Road, a movie Cash did about the life of Christ. Cash considered it one of his major accomplishments, but it’s not exactly widely available. Supposedly it’s available through World Wide Pictures, since Billy Graham and Johnny Cash were so close, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find anything there either.
Finally, there’s an album that brings together some of the odd side of Cash, Crazy Country. It’s a compilation album released in 1998 that includes “Chicken in Black,” “Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “The One on the Right Is On The Left,” and “Boa Constrictor,” among others (both “A Boy Named Sue” and “Boa Constrictor” were written by Shel Silverstein). I imagine some of these are from Cash’s Children’s Album, but who knows. As a bonus, the album is only $6.98 from Amazon.