According to a Legacy spokesperson, it will be "the most in-depth collection of Cash's gospel recordings ever assembled". The country crooner frequently performed gospel songs at his shows, including the famous concerts at Folsom Prison and San Quentin, and he allegedly left his original label, Sun Records, when they wouldn't allow him to perform gospel material. Tracks on the new collection include traditional gospel songs such as 'He Turned The Water Into Wine' and '(There'll Be) Peace in The Valley (For Me)' , as well as Cash originals 'The Preacher Said "Jesus Said"', and the hit written by Carl Perkins, 'Daddy Sang Bass'.
Gospel was what Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, and Marshall Grant originally wanted to record when they auditioned for Sam Phillips in 1954. In 1958, Sun Records' refusal to let Cash record a gospel album--despite his track record of hits--led him to leave for Columbia. This well-chosen package delineates sacred music's ongoing role in Cash's career, beginning with two 1970 performances from his ABC variety show, one featuring longtime Cash friend Rev. Billy Graham. The 1957 Sun tunes include the searing "I Was There When It Happened" and Cash's original "Belshazzar." "He Turned the Water into Wine," "In the Sweet Bye and Bye," "That's Enough," and his 1969 gospel hit "Daddy Sang Bass," all from Columbia, are particularly passionate, as is "Far Side Banks of Jordan" (a duet with June Carter Cash) and three never-before-issued performances, 1974's "My Ship Will Sail" and "How Great Thou Art and "It Is No Secret" from 1981. Given that one can't truly understand Cash without knowing his gospel side, this is a fine introduction. --Rich Kienzle