Unearthed (Johnny Cash album)

Box set by Johnny Cash
Released November 25, 2003
Recorded 1993-2003
Genre Country, Southern gothic, folk, gospel
Length 4:02:31
Label Universal
Producer Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash chronology
American IV: The Man Comes Around
American series chronology
American IV: The Man Comes Around
American V: A Hundred Highways

Unearthed is a box set by Johnny Cash, released two months after his death in 2003. It was produced by Rick Rubin and released by American Recordings. The first three discs feature outtakes and alternate versions of songs recorded for American Recordings, Unchained, American III: Solitary Man and American IV: The Man Comes Around. The fourth disc, My Mother's Hymn Book features gospel songs Cash first learned from his mother as a child and was later reissued as a standalone release. The final disc is a best of distillation of the first four American albums. It was certified Gold on 12/2/2004 by the RIAA.

Disc 1 Who's Gonna Cry

This disc features acoustic solo recordings in the same style as American Recordings. The song selection leans toward songs from Cash's back catalog, as noted below each song. Total running time: 51:13

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [1]

Track listing

  1. "Long Black Veil" (Danny Dill/Marijohn Wilkin) – 3:15
    Originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell (1959). Originally recorded by Cash for Orange Blossom Special.
  2. "Flesh and Blood" (Cash) – 2:29
    Originally recorded by Cash for the I Walk the Line soundtrack (1970)
  3. "Just the Other Side of Nowhere" (Kris Kristofferson) – 3:18
    Originally recorded by Kristofferson for Kristofferson (1970)
  4. "If I Give My Soul" (Billy Joe Shaver) – 3:01
    Originally recorded by Shaver for Tramp on Your Street (1993)
  5. "Understand Your Man" (Cash) – 2:06
    Originally recorded by Cash for I Walk the Line (1964). In July 2003 this was the final song Cash performed in public.
  6. "Banks of the Ohio" (Maybelle Carter) – 4:07
    Originally recorded by Cash with the Carter Family for Columbia in 1963 for Keep On The Sunnyside (1964)
  7. "Two Timin' Woman" (Hank Snow) – 2:06
    Originally recorded by Hank Snow
  8. "The Caretaker" (Cash) – 1:55
    Originally recorded by Cash for Songs of Our Soil (1959)
  9. "Old Chunk of Coal" (Shaver) – 1:54
    Originally recorded by Cash in 1979 on the album A Believer Sings The Truth
  10. "I'm Going to Memphis" (Cash/Hollie Dew/Alan Lomax) – 2:40
    Originally recorded by Cash for Ride This Train (1960)
  11. "Breaking Bread" (Randy L. George) – 2:48
  12. "Waiting for a Train" (Jimmie Rodgers) – 1:46
    Originally recorded by Cash for Blood, Sweat & Tears (1963)
  13. "Casey's Last Ride" (Kristofferson) – 3:21
    Originally recorded by Kristofferson for Kristofferson (1970) Johnny Cash Received permission to record it after calling Kristofferson personally who expressed amazement that anyone remembered the song. (Album Notes)
  14. "No Earthly Good" (Cash) – 2:43
    Originally recorded by Cash for The Rambler (1976)
  15. "The Fourth Man in the Fire" (Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith) – 2:48
    Originally recorded by Cash for The Holy Land (1969)
  16. "Dark as a Dungeon" (Merle Travis) – 3:00
    Originally recorded by Cash for a single, and later included on the compilation Old Golden Throat (1968)
  17. "Book Review" (dialogue)  – 2:07
    A snippet of Cash and Rubin discussing a book during a break in studio recording.
  18. "Down There by the Train" (Tom Waits) – 5:49
    Alternate take from American Recordings

Disc 2 Trouble in Mind

This disc feels more like Unchained. Most of the performances are electric, have a lighthearted feel, and feature Cash backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, members of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Red Devils, or his extended family. This CD features many covers of songs Cash had not previously recorded. One track features a duet with longtime collaborator Carl Perkins and was one of the last times Cash recorded with him before Perkins' death in 1998. Total running time: 52:10

Track listing

  1. "Pocahontas" (Neil Young) – 3:43
    Originally recorded by Young for Rust Never Sleeps (1978)
  2. "I'm a Drifter" (Version 1) (Dolly Parton) – 3:50
    Originally recorded by Parton for All I Can Do (1976)
  3. "Trouble in Mind" (Richard M. Jones) – 3:32
  4. "Down the Line" (Roy Orbison/Sam Phillips) – 2:38
    Originally recorded by Orbison in May 1956 as the B Side of "Ooby Dooby"
  5. "I'm Moving On" (Hank Snow) – 2:54
    First recorded by Snow in 1950. Cash previously recorded a version in 1984 as a duet with Waylon Jennings, however that version would not be released until 2014's Out Among the Stars.
  6. "As Long as the Grass Shall Grow" (Peter La Farge, Cash) – 4:21 with June Carter Cash
    Originally recorded by Cash for Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1964), and before that by La Farge. Cash rerecorded it with the lyrics altered to describe his relationship with and devotion to June Carter Cash. This is one of the only recordings from the American era to feature June who is otherwise absent from the recordings produced by Rick Rubin.
  7. "Heart of Gold" (Young) – 3:01 with Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Originally recorded by Young for Harvest (1972)
  8. "The Running Kind" (Haggard) – 3:11 with Tom Petty
  9. "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" (Carl Perkins) – 2:11
  10. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (Chuck Berry) – 2:21 with Carl Perkins
  11. "T for Texas" (Jimmie Rodgers) – 3:38
  12. "Devil's Right Hand" (Steve Earle) – 2:33
    Originally recorded by Steve Earle for Copperhead Road in 1988 and previously by The Highwaymen (with Johnny Cash) for The Road Goes on Forever (1995). Cash's solo arrangement, accompanied only by electric guitar, is completely different from the Highwaymen version.
  13. "I'm a Drifter" (Version 2) (Parton) – 3:45
  14. "Like a Soldier" (Cash) – 2:55 with Willie Nelson
    Alternate take from American Recordings
  15. "Drive On" (Cash) – 2:23
    Alternate take from American Recordings
  16. "Bird on a Wire" (Leonard Cohen) – 5:13
    Live, orchestrated alternate take from American Recordings

Disc 3 Redemption Songs

Like Solitary Man and The Man Comes Around, this disc is mostly acoustic, though Cash is backed by a full band on most songs. Like the second disc, it features several duets. Tracks 8 and 10 were originally released on the first vinyl pressing of The Man Comes Around. Total running time: 47:58

Track listing

  1. "A Singer of Songs" (Tim O'Connell) – 2:48
  2. "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore" (Jean Ritchie) – 3:13
    Originally recorded by Cash for Silver (1979)
  3. "Redemption Song" (Bob Marley) – 3:27 with Joe Strummer
    Originally recorded by Marley for Uprising (1980)
  4. "Father and Son" (Cat Stevens) – 2:49 with Fiona Apple
    Originally recorded by Stevens for Tea for the Tillerman (1970)
    Originally recorded by Cash for Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me as "Father and Daughter" (1974)
  5. "Chattanooga Sugar Babe" (Norman Blake) – 3:16
  6. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (Bobby Braddock/Curly Putman) – 2:37
    Originally recorded by George Jones for I Am What I Am (1980)
  7. "Hard Times Come Again No More" (Stephen Foster) – 4:01
  8. "Wichita Lineman" (Jimmy Webb) – 3:03
    Originally recorded by Glen Campbell for Wichita Lineman (1968)
  9. "Cindy" (Traditional) – 2:53 with Nick Cave
  10. "Big Iron" (Marty Robbins) – 3:52
    Originally recorded by Robbins for Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (1959)
  11. "Salty Dog" (Rudy Toombs/Traditional) – 2:26
  12. "Gentle on My Mind" (John Hartford) – 3:24 with Glen Campbell
  13. "You Are My Sunshine" (Jimmie Davis/Charles Mitchell) – 3:18
  14. "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Oscar Hammerstein II/Richard Rodgers) – 2:59
  15. "The Man Comes Around" (Cash) – 3:51
    Alternate take from American IV: The Man Comes Around

Disc 4 My Mother's Hymn Book

My Mother's Hymn Book
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released April 6, 2004
Genre Gospel
Length 38:28
Label American Recordings
Producer Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash chronology
American IV: The Man Comes Around
My Mother's Hymn Book
American V: A Hundred Highways
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [2]

My Mother's Hymn Book is a collection of Christian spiritual songs and hymns that Cash originally learned from his mother while growing up. The album features only Cash's voice and a single acoustic guitar. This disc was released as a stand-alone disc the following year (his 89th overall album) under the same title, and peaked at #9 on the Christian music album chart. In the album's liner notes Cash mentions that this is his favorite album he ever made.

This was Cash's final album devoted to previously unreleased performances of faith-based music and hymns, following a long string of such releases dating back to 1959 and individual singles and album tracks even before that, though many of the songs featured had previously been recorded by Cash. Tracks 6, 9 and 10 were previously recorded for Hymns from the Heart (1962); tracks 5, 11, 14 and 15 were previously recorded for Sings Precious Memories (1975); and track 7 was recorded in concert for The Survivors Live (1982). Several other songs, such as track 13, had been performed by Cash on TV or live in concert, but formal studio recordings had not yet been issued until now.

Although the images used on the standalone CD depict Cash near the end of his life, most of the recordings on My Mother's Hymn Book actually date to Cash's early sessions for American in 1993-1994 (hence the fact they only feature Cash performing by himself).

Track listing

  1. "Where We'll Never Grow Old" (James C. Moore) – 3:31
  2. "I Shall Not Be Moved" (V.O. Fossett) – 2:41
  3. "I Am a Pilgrim" (Merle Travis) – 2:27
  4. "Do Lord" (Fossett) – 2:12
  5. "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (James Milton Black) – 1:36
  6. "If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven" (Albert E. Brumley) – 2:31
  7. "I'll Fly Away" (Brumley) – 1:54
  8. "Where the Soul of Man Never Dies" (William Lee Golden/Wayne Raney) – 2:15
  9. "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" (Philip Bliss) – 3:14
  10. "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me" (Marion Easterling/Thomas Wright/J.F.B. Wright) – 2:14
  11. "In the Sweet By-and-By" (Sanford Fillmore Bennett/Joseph Philbrick Webster) – 2:25
  12. "I'm Bound for the Promised Land" (Traditional) – 2:15
  13. "In the Garden" (C. Austin Miles) – 3:18
  14. "Softly and Tenderly" (Will L. Thompson) – 3:17
  15. "Just as I Am" (William Batchelder Bradbury/Charlotte Elliot) – 2:38


Disc 5 — Best of Cash on American

This disc contains what the producers considered to be some of Cash's finest from his productive time at American Recordings; in essence, it is a "best of" compilation from the four albums he released under the label before passing away in 2003. All tracks previously released with the exception of Track 3, which is a previously unreleased extended edit. Total running time: 52:14

Track listing

  1. "Delia's Gone" (Silbersdorf, Toops) – 2:19
  2. "Bird on a Wire" (Leonard Cohen) – 4:04
  3. "Thirteen" (Danzig) – 3:23 (though unadvertised as such, this version is extended compared to the original album version)
  1. "Rowboat" (Beck) – 3:45
  2. "The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart)" (Lyon, McIntire) – 2:28
  3. "Rusty Cage" (Cornell) – 2:50
  4. "Southern Accents" (Petty) – 4:42
  1. "Mercy Seat" (Cave, Harvey) – 4:35
  2. "Solitary Man" (Diamond) – 2:25
  3. "Wayfaring Stranger" (Traditional) – 3:22
  4. "One" (Bono, Clayton, Edge, Mullen) – 3:52
  1. "I Hung My Head" (Sting) – 3:52
  2. "The Man Comes Around" (Cash) – 4:29
  3. "We'll Meet Again" (Hughie Charles, Ross Parker) – 2:57
  4. "Hurt" (Trent Reznor) – 3:38


Additional personnel

Follow-up release

In a March 2014 interview, Rubin indicated that "according to John's wishes", at least one more album of American recordings may be released in the future in a similar format to Unearthed, while John Carter Cash suggested that enough material exists for "three or four" albums, though he conceded that many American recordings may remain unreleased.[3]


  1. Jurek, Thom. Unearthed at AllMusic
  2. Collar, matt. Unearthed at AllMusic
  3. "Johnny Cash: 'four or five more albums in the works', says his son". The Guardian. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
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