Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
Posthumous albums by major artists can present a challenge to the fans of those artists. Sure, I can appreciate the records Tupac Shakur cut during his lifetime but do we really need an endless parade of archival material that wasn’t suitable for release during his lifetime? So it goes. It was with great trepidation in mid 2006 when I bought American V: A Hundred Highways – the 1st record of unreleased Johnny Cash material that he cut just prior to his death on September 12, 2003. I needn’t have worried so much – not only was the album of stunning quality, it was also his 1st #1 record since 1969’s Johnny Cash at San Quentin. Personally speaking (and this is my site after all), it gave a track that will go on every CASH mix I make until the day I die – “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. The track is notable for featuring an intoxicating mix of militant & gospel based sounds, Johnny’s righteous voice driving the point home with every syllable. The song is based on a traditional folk tune and has been recorded by quite a few artists in the past (Johnny Cash’s Sun Records buddy Elvis Presley being the most notable). None of them approached the material from this angle – this is the best version ever laid to tape. The video is notable for featuring a ridiculous amount of celebrities, driving home the point that the love of Johnny Cash is a universal condition (and one that doesn’t need to be treated). It gives me chills to hear Johnny Cash sing these words:
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John go do My will!”
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down