It's rare when forty years into a career, an artist unleashes an indisputable masterpiece. Johnny Cash pulled it off, though. American Recordings was the brainchild of Cash and producer Rick Rubin, who had the genius to recognize that Cash's incomparable voice alone with an acoustic guitar and a clutch of great songs was a can't-miss proposition. Cash's own tunes ("Drive On") align perfectly with apt selections by the likes of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and (no joke) Glenn Danzig. American Recordings is stark, stirring and, at times, even funny. Best of all it restored a master to much-deserved pre-eminence.