The 'Lost' Johnny Cash Album "Out Among The Stars" Finally Sees The Light Of Day!

I've hit a few lows in my life, both musically and personally, but the one saving grace that keeps me from sucking a gun is that at least I'm not the guy who passed on signing the Beatles (Dick Rowe, Decca UK) nor am I the sorry sack of crap who dropped Johnny Cash in 1984.

Two or three songs into Out Among The Stars, the "lost" Johnny Cash album that had the unfortunate luck of being heard by a bunch of tin-aired bean counters who had ZERO respect for The Man In Black, you start to realize just how nucking futs the music industry really was back in the '80s.  As vibrant a time as it was for pop, rock, and rap, country music had no spine.  As bad-ass a man as David Allan Coe may have been, his CBS albums sure didn't provide any proof.  Zzz.

Grab yourself any Willie Nelson album from that era and what you'll hear is an overly slick, by-the-numbers cliche of what country had been in the '70s.  I love Willie to death, but even he was trying to be Duran Duran, ha ha.  Meanwhile, Roy Orbison went unsigned through much of the decade until Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Tom Petty asked him if he wanted to start a band.

So that was the reality a newly sober Johnny Cash had to work with his first few weeks out of rehab.  "Hey, you look great, Johnny!  We're gonna have to let you go."

That was their response upon hearing these songs, recorded during sessions with Billy Sherrill in '81 and '84. Even if I preface such a statement with the fact that country radio in the '80s had completely lost its freakin' mind by turning its back on many of its bigger stars in favor of, well, lesser talents.

Still, this was a label couldn't see fit to recognize the radio-friendliness of songs like "Out Among The Stars" and "Baby Ride Easy", much less the swaggering Waylon Jennings duet "I'm Movin' On" or the playful "If I Told You Who It Was".

This isn't the greatest country album ever made, don't get me wrong, but this is not an album that deserved to be shelved.  CBS/Legacy shouldn't just release the album, they should promote it with posters that begin with the words, "We're sorry."


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