Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Til Things Are Brighter: A Tribute To Johnny Cash (1988)


Y'know, I'd like to offer you context about my re-up of this proto-alt-country collection of Johnny Cash covers done at his career's nadir by a bunch of British post-punkers like Mark Riley of The Fall, Jon Langford of the Mekons (who together were the executive producers), Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks, Mary Mary of Gaye Bykers on Acid, Mark Almond of Soft Cell et al but Graeme Thompson over at The Guardian did it so well right HERE.

To learn about twenty-three covers that prove that Johnny Cash always kept in touch with the underside of culture, please go read (and listen to) THIS POST, of which I take great pride in.


1     Michelle Shocked –  One Piece At A Time  3:38    
2     Stephen Mallinder –  I Walk The Line   2:11    
3     Steve Mack –  Rosanna's Goin' Wild  1:55    
4     Sally Timms –  Cry, Cry, Cry   3:01    
5     David McComb –  Country Boy  1:48    
6     Marc Riley –  Wanted Man   2:42    
7     Pete Shelley –  Straight 'A's In Love   1:45    
8     Cathal Coughlan – Ring Of Fire   2:25    
9     Tracey + Melissa Beehive –  5 Feet High And Risin'  1:39   
10    Brendan Croker –     Home Of The Blues     2:33    
11    Mary Mary  –     Boy Named Sue   3:32    
12    Mekons –     Folsom Prison Blues   3:19    
13    Marc Almond –     Man In Black   3:08

Note: Sure Michelle Shocked is going through a bad patch right now (were it not ever so?) but that doesn't reflect on the quality of this record in the slightest.

What do you make of this early attempt to restore some lost cool to Johnny Cash's reputation? Leave us a COMMENT to let us know what you think.


  1. This one's for Doug but that doesn't mean that y'all shouldn't leave a COMMENT as well!

  2. Vague, extra-murky, recollection of this...

    1. Yeah it's a re-up but fortunately Cash always has currency!

  3. Didn't know about this record... It's kinda cool that the post-punk generation paid this tribute to someone who, by then probably was the most anti-cool musician you could cover. Respect. Thanks for this!

  4. oh yeah, have this at home. good record. the marc almond tune is great!!

  5. hey. I played the bass on this. hung over lol. I think it had quite a big part to play in his renaissance actually - was well before the Rubin stuff... anyway glad you like it :

  6. I bought this when it came out because of the Michelle Shocked track.

    Then as now I loved the fact that the tracks weren't slavish covers. I remember some clown complaining that Sally Timms had the temerity to do her song totally different to Cash's version.

    Even if you prefer the original the fact that the song can be done differently is proof of how good the song is.

  7. Very excited to hear this (though Timms re-covered Cry, Cry, Cry on her excellent Cowboy Sally's Twilight Laments)

  8. Hey Jeffen

    I should have bought this on vinyl back in the day.Then for some odd reason I did not notice your initial post.Recently Marc Riley on his BBC 6 Music Programme mentioned the album and his humble involvement.Then I found your post and hence my request.Many great artists(Johnny Cash,Roy Orbison etc.) had a period where they trudged around North America playing small venues in small towns.Then they returned to their rightful place as important artists.

    Thanks as always.


  9. so brilliant, cash was a surprise from the dark side, having so man times refused the goth country model, his last albums caught me bt the guts and wouldn't let go, this compil is a perfect tribute. Thank you.

  10. Thanks jeffen, I'm looking forward to listening to this. Johnny's one of the all time bad asses.

  11. Thanks much! I'm still recovering from a long illness and can't get at all my music. Johnny Cash was at a personal and career low when this comp. originally came out. Here's a bit about its affect on Cash...

  12. I have this on vinyl from back when it was released. I dj'ed at a quite cool alternative club and used to regularly play tracks off this album, Mary Mary & Marc Almond's contributions were particular favourites. A room full of Goths, Punks, Crusties & Indie kids dancing to A boy named Sue was a joyous sight week in, week out. Thanks for this, going to have to search for the cd issue of this now.......


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