And if you asked me today what my favorite Johnny Cash album is I'd have to say, today at least, that it's "All Aboard the Blue Train."
That is a bit of an unusual pick as "All Aboard the Blue Train" is not one of Cash's studio albums. In 1958 Cash left Sun Records to start recording with Columbia. But that didn't stop Sun from publishing a bunch of compilation albums after Cash left, mixing and matching all the recordings he had done with Sun.
Among these compilation albums is the 1962 release "All Aboard the Blue Train," an album full of train songs Cash had recorded at Sun.
I came across "All Aboard the Blue Train" in a used record store. I didn't recognize the album but I bought it as I was starting to collect Johnny Cash vinyl.
I started listening to the album and it has now become my favorite Cash recording. I've always preferred early Cash to later Cash. I love his voice during the Sun years and the Tennessee Two arrangements are simple and rudimentary. The Johnny Cash sound at its Boom-Chicka-Boom best. And I love the mix of songs on "All Aboard the Blue Train." The compilation includes the iconic songs "Folsom Prison Blues," "Give My Love to Rose," and "Hey, Porter."
All that to say, if you're new to Johnny Cash and looking for a first album, especially for early Cash, I'd recommend "All Aboard the Blue Train."