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Rock

Johnny Cash: I Walk the Line

I Walk the Line
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  • Sonics
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In 1964, Columbia called Cash into the studio to re-record some of his Sun Record hits and a few new tracks in stereo, but their hard-panned mix is confusing rather than illuminating. When MoFi took this project on, they found that the mono master sounded terrific and was worthy of an audiophile release. There’s a lot of unremovable, regrettable reverb on Johnny’s voice, especially compared to the drier sound from Sun Records, but the instruments are much more immediate, and the sound is rich and natural overall. As a comparison, the CD-quality stereo files on streaming services have a congested guitar and an in-your-face bass. The hi-res (24/96) is better balanced, but the goofy, exaggerated stereo still makes it diffused. The laughing arrogance in “Bad News” is actually rather terrifying; this is the same man who sang “Cocaine Blues” with unrepentant swagger, I have to remind myself. “Big River” is full of vitality and sly humor; another high point is “I Still Miss Someone,” a deceptively simple heartbreaker. I’ve long thought those two songs were some of Cash’s best, and there’s plenty more to enjoy in this welcome addition to the legacy of the Man in Black.

Tags: I WALK THE LINK JOHNNY CASH LP MOBILE FIDELITY SACD

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