Let’s get this out in the open; my knowledge of country prior to 1990 is sketchy, and prior to 1980 it is pretty terrible. This is one of the reasons for the reflection pieces in the first place. Ever since I heard “Gold All Over the Ground,” I wanted to dig through the catalogue of Johnny Cash, and then, coincidentally, I was sent the recommendation “On the Evening Train” by my boyfriend Rob–that comes from a much later album, so I started working my way through that, and then I heard “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” also coincidentally, which led me to Silver. I’ve been expressly informed that this isn’t the “most accurate representation of Johnny Cash,” and I’m sure that’s correct because I don’t have much of an idea, but I really enjoyed this one, so I thought I’d share it with you all.
Release Date: 1979
Style: some traditional country, some blues, Apple Music mentions it being more mainstream which is probably why it might not be the most accurate representation of Cash
Who Might Like This Album: Johnny Cash fans, fans of country influenced with soul and blues, fans of story songs and imagery
Standout Tracks: “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” “Cocaine Blues,” “West Canterbury subdivision Blues,” “Muddy Waters,” “I’ll Say It’s True,” “I’m Gonna Sit on the Porch and Pick on my Old Guitar”
Reflections: Well, this is the first album that I have discovered doing this, as opposed to revisiting one and greeting songs like old friends. This was a new kind of experience, like listening to a new album, but in a different way, as if I’d found something that had been lost. As I say, there is a lot of bluesy influence in these songs, and I really enjoyed that style. The imagery is great, especially in “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” and “West Canterbury subdivision blues,” where the narrator sings about leaving his “queen” behind in their “castle” too much, “and that was no way to leave her.” Eventually, another man came along and “plucked my grapes from the vine.” I love the metaphors in this one, and listening to songs from this era really paints a picture of how far the quality of mainstream songwriting has slipped. There are some more traditional tracks too, like the humorous “I’ll Say It’s True,” with George Jones, and the closer, “I’m Gonna Sit on the Porch and Pick on my Old Guitar.” It’s a nice mix of styles, and overall, this album was just a really enjoyable listen that I know I will keep coming back to.