"When the shadows lengthen and burn away the past." - from September When It Comes, duet with Rosanne Cash
DISC 4 - The Legend: Family and Friends (24 tracks, 80 minutes)
By Temple A. Stark, Casa Grande, Ariz.
"September When it Comes" is a 2002 recording with daughter Rosanne Cash that simply overcomes with emotion.
It's a good thing it comes near the end of the disc because otherwise you might well continue the tears it brings throughout the rest of the album.
God lord, but there's serious pain in Johnny Cash's voice in the song. That's made all the more poignant because "September ..." is about how proud he is of his daughter and the achievements of his family. She starts off the song, which appeared on her "Rules of Travel" album and at 1:30 in, Johnny Cash starts, in a weakened cadence that is only barely singing:
I plan to crawl outside these walls
close my eyes and see
And fall into the heart and arms
of those who wait for me
I cannot move a mountain now
I can no longer run
I cannot be who I was then
In a way, I never was.
I played it five times straight in a row, with a catch in my throat each time.
But that does come later.
From song one, "Keep On the Sunny Side" you can't help but mourn the fact that there weren't more songs with Johnny Cash's bass-baritone and various female voices; from June Carter's growl-to-gossamer range, to Anita Carter's haunting voice; an audio realization of crystal glass. Where's the Bjork / Cash collaboration, which may well have cracked the world asunder?
It makes this final disc "Family and Friends" all the more special.
It is clear from even a quick read of Johnny Cash's life, he would have been dead a lot sooner had it not been for family, especially June Carter Cash, and his friends who stayed clean with him.
Far from his isolationist "Man in Black" persona, the final disc here shows a tremendous eruption of synergetic energy; he feeds off other's creativity, as much as they thrill in working with him. It is obvious and if they didn't have it already it is a welcome and comforting knowledge for the Cash fan to have.