Walking the Line

From Buffett in Boca to Cash in the Intracoastal: What it takes to make an icon

Though they were soulful and grave, most of the songs on disc four couldn't keep our interest. There were too many distractions -- sail rigging, dolphin spotting, beer drinking, shit talking -- to concentrate on the music, and when we weren't sailing, we were sleeping. Sadly, songs from Cash's spectacular American Recordings series -- the covers of Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, and Tom Waits that newly minted fans revere most -- are absent here. Included instead are songs that somehow seem less hip and more grit, as well as insightful liner notes that tell his incomparable personal history. If these are the songs that reveal the true Johnny Cash, it's worth it to spend a few hours with The Legend. It -- and the countless other Cash boxes out there -- proves that the Man in Black, unlike Buffett or Johnson, generated his iconic status entirely on his own, purely through music.

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