A long-lost Johnny Cash album will soon see the light of day, 10 years after the country legend’s death. Cash’s estate will be releasing Out Among the Stars, an album Cash recorded in the early 1980s that was never released and has never been heard before, The Associated Press reports.
Cash recorded Out Among the Stars between 1981 and 1984, when he was signed to Columbia Records. Columbia never used those recordings, but Cash kept hold of the tapes. His son, John Carter Cash, and the archivists at Legacy Recordings finally found those tapes last year, stashed among Johnny and June Carter Cash’s vast archive of recordings and random souvenirs from their lives.
Johnny Cash had been at a low point in his career in the early Eighties when Columbia set him up to record the album with Country Music Hall of Famer Billy Sherill, a producer (and president of CBS Records Nashville) who was pushing country music in a pop direction that clashed with Cash’s outlaw style.
“It was the ‘Urban Cowboy’ phase,” John Carter Cash told the AP. “It was pop country, and dad was not that. I think him working with Billy was sort of an effort by the record company to put him more in the circle of Music Row and see what could happen at the heart of that machine.”
Although Columbia never saw fit to release the recordings (and dropped Cash from the label a few years later), John Carter Cash saw something special in the 12 tracks, which include duets with June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. Cash’s backing band on the record includes Hargus “Pig” Robbins and Marty Stuart, who was brought back in to re-record his part. “We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard,” he said. “Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He’s pitch perfect.”
Out Among the Stars is due out on March 25th.