Sunday, November 12, 2006

Black Cadillac - Rosanne Cash

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Surely it would stand to reason that an album whose lyrics chiefly concern the death of not only Rosanne Cash's parents (father Johnny Cash, mother Vivian Liberto) but her step-mother too (June Carter Cash) should be a miserable experience for the listener. Thankfully, Black Cadillac is anything but miserable or depressing but is ultimately uplifting and beautiful.

What will surprise many is the sheer breadth of styles Rosanne melts into the album; Burn Down This Town rocks out, whilst Radio Operator gives us a slice of rockabilly; World Unknown is a piano-driven epic whilst the horns in the rhythmic title track and the jazzy World Without Sound are no doubt a tip of the hat to the horns in Ring Of Fire.

In many ways this album makes a fitting companion to Johnny Cash's Personal File cd released earlier in the year being as it is a very personal collection of songs that obviously mean the world to the performer. There is no over-sentimental navel-gazing on display here; I Was Watching You's autobiographical leanings, where Cash relives the death of her father on what she calls the "longest day" of her life, could be cloying in less accomplished hands, but instead Cash transposes the mornful with the redemptive.

And in a sense that is what this triumph of an album is all about. Grief can never totally disappear, but then those loved ones that pass on never truly leave our side either. But this is much more than a tribute to a fallen icon, this is an album which will touch anyone who listens to it. And if you can keep your eyes dry during the closing track The Good Intent, especially when Johnny Cash tells his little baby girl "bye, bye, bye" then you might want to check your pulse.

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