“Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and
cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I
could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since. ”
Yes, I moved to Nashville recently, but I bought this LP in New York City; it’s Johnny’s very first long-player, recorded just down the road from here at Memphis’ famed Sun Studios and released almost 60 years ago!
Cash had failed to impress Sun boss Sam Phillips at his first audition, in which he sang some gospel songs, but he tried again with the spunkier, rockabilly country of “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!,” and earned himself a record deal.
Touring stints with the Louisiana Hayride and label mate Elvis Presley followed in short order, as did Johnny’s first signature numbers, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line” – all of it faithfully backed by guitarist Luther Perkins and upright bassist Marshall Grant, a.k.a. the Tennessee Two.
So the wily Sam Phillips eventually moved to capitalize on his budding star’s momentum by compiling all available studio sides onto what was then a premium, high-priced format: the 33 1/3 RPM 12” record.