As the story goes, it took an unlikely pairing (with hip-hop and metal producer Rick Rubin) to right the Man in Black’s career. After years of neglect, Cash spent his last decade soaking up the adulation that had pretty much eluded him since the Seventies. During those lost years in between, he hit some undeniable low points; in desperation, he was somehow talked into cutting a novelty single titled “The Chicken in Black.” But it wasn’t all bleak, as a newly uncovered, previously unreleased album makes plain.
Not long before Columbia Records dropped him from the only label he’d known since 1960, Cash recorded an LP called Out Among the Stars. He hung onto the master tapes, which John Carter recently found among a huge stash of Johnny and wife June Carter’s effects. The album, due out March 25th, features duets with June and his old friend Waylon Jennings. John Carter hand-picked the track “She Used to Love Me a Lot,” a stout, twangy ballad of regret colored by the mandolin of a young Marty Stuart, to release ahead of the album.
“I really love this song,” he tells Rolling Stone. “The depth that’s there reminds me of the real serious stuff that Dad did later in his life. And I truly think it’s one of the beautiful undiscovered gems in my dad’s catalog.”