‘Out Among the Stars’ is the fourth Johnny Cash record to be released posthumously after his son found the recordings among his late father’s belongings and turned them into an album.
It features 12 tracks, most of them cover versions, recorded in the early 1980s, at a time when Cash’s star had started to fade.
None were ever released by Columbia Records and they disappeared after the label dropped Cash in 1986. Those were difficult times for the country music icon.
“He relapsed into drug addiction in the early 1980s. In 1983, late ’83, he went through the Betty Ford Center,” says his son, John Carter Cash.
“He wrote a song there called ‘I Came To Believe’ about turning his life over to God. What a blessing and what a beautiful song. It is on ‘Out Among the Stars.’ In 1984, my father was clear-headed. He was bright. He was full of energy and spirit. And at that time period my dad was my best friend. We were together, very close. So listening to these recordings, to me, is like coming back full circle. And like coming back close to my best friend again.”
The tracks were recorded with veteran producer Billy Sherrill, and though they needed some instrumental work, John Carter Cash says his father’s performance was flawless.
“There were guitar solos missing here and there. Basically what we had is the live recordings. Luckily the vocalist was my father, who was Johnny Cash, who only needed one take back in 1984. He was focused, he was in perfect voice, he was practiced, he was on the road all the time performing. So we had this strong baritone voice that carried those tracks. But we knew that we had to do a little bit with the music. There were certain things that needed to be done to finish these recordings,” said Carter Cash.
The album has been warmly received by music critics who say "the collection sees the Man in Black shining brightly out among the stars, even at a moment when most of the world wasn't really interested in stargazing".
The Johnny Cash album ‘Out Among the Stars’ is out now.