Journal Week 49: Christmas Gifts for the Johnny Cash Fan

My next book Trains, Jesus, & Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash will be coming out in 2019. The manuscript is done, but there is still editing, copy-editing, page proofs and all the other stuff that turns your Word document into a physical book.

Given that I've spent a lot of time with Johnny Cash over the last few years, I thought I'd share some Christmas gift idea for the Johnny Cash fan in your life.

The cheapest thing you can do is go to a used record store in your town (or online) and buy a vinyl copy of a Johnny Cash classic. I'd recommend At Folsom Prison or At San Quentin. Depending upon quality, used vinyl of Johnny Cash albums ranges from $5-$20. And if you don't have a record player, pick an album that has cool cover art and then have it framed.

If you have a record player and some money to spend, you might look at the vinyl Unearthed collection ($225). This collection has all of Cash's best music from the Rick Rubin years ("Rusty Cage," "The Man Comes Around," "Hurt," "Delia's Gone"), along with many other tracks that didn't make it on the American Recordings albums. Disc 7 is a highlight as it has Cash singing old gospel standards (this music was also released as a solo album, My Mother's Hymnbook). Here's a video review of the boxed set.

Beyond music, here are three book recommendations.

The definitive biography of Johnny Cash is Robert Hilburn's Johnny Cash: The Life.

My two favorite "coffee table" books about Johnny Cash are House of Cash, edited and complied by John Carter Cash, and Johnny Cash at Folsom and San Quentin: Photographs by Jim Marshall.  

House of Cash is a wonderful and intimate collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia, photos, and reflections. You see handwritten notes, lyrics, and letters Cash wrote over the years, even a valentine he made for June. House of Cash lets you see Johnny Cash as his friends and family saw him. You even get his recipe for chili!

If you adore the Folsom and San Quentin concerts, Johnny Cash at Folsom and San Quentin is a must have. It's a big picture book filled with the pictures from Jim Marshall, the famous music photographer, taken at both concerts. So many amazing, iconic images in this book, many never seen before.

So there you have it, some Christmas gift suggestions for the Johnny Cash fan in your life. And next Christmas you can put Trains, Jesus, & Murder under the tree!

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