That sound you hear is Johnny Cash spinning in his grave as remixers from all over the 12-inch spectrum get their mitts on “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Country Boy” and ten others on Johnny Cash Remixed, out today on Houston’s Compadre Records. Or might it be the Man in Black actually dancing?
Certainly Cash’s tastes seemed to grow more catholic towards the end - he covered everyone from Depeche Mode to Neil Diamond on his American Recordings series - and if nothing else, Remixed does have the blessing of his family; “Executive Producers John Carter Cash, Snoop Dogg and Mathew Knowles [whose Music World Entertainment owns Compadre]” is one of the oddest album credits you could ever hope to see.
Big Snoop shows up on opener “I Walk the Line,” which he and his QDT production team (Teddy Riley, DJ Quik) turn into a grungy duet that’s bizarre as hell but kind of cool too. Pete Rock slathers late-‘80s boom-bap all over the irresistible “Folsom Prison,” and Phillip Stier gives “Get Rhythm” a lightning-techno twist. Several other songs sound virtually unchanged save a little studio spit and polish: Count de Money’s “Big River,” Sonny J’s “Country Boy,” Wolf’s “Rock Island Line.”
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British bands the Heavy and Alabama 3’s “Doin’ My Time” and “Leave That Junk Alone,” meanwhile, are essentially covers with Cash’s voice floating in and out like on U2’s “The Wanderer.” Cash purists have every right to blanch at these mixing-board artistes slicing and dicing his songs, but the results suggest that even from beyond the grave, the old man is fully capable of busting a move. – Chris Gray