Wednesday, 24 April 2013


The beginning of Frusciante working with Cash actually starts with Cash’s American albums with Rick Rubin. An already legendary producer, Rubin began to branch out of the rap & hard rock genres he was famous for in the mid-90s. What he got was Johnny Cash looking to go a new direction in his career and the two helped each other out immensely. Rubin got his smaller record label a lot of notice and Johnny Cash got another fresh breath for a career that was winding down. From 1994 on to his death, Cash would record with Rubin ultimately releasing six albums with him that churned out immense classics like “The Man Comes Around” and his legendary cover of “Hurt.” That’s saying a lot for Rubin too as Cash had a long history of despising his producers, most notably Jack Clement who tried to add a barbershop quartet to some of his songs. Knowing Rubin’s lengthy history with the Chili Peppers, it’s no surprise that Rubin enlisted John Frusciante’s help in collaborating with Cash to re-work some famous songs for his new albums.

The pair first got together to record “Personal Jesus” as Frusciante re-worked the Depeche Mode song into a well-done country rhythm. That song appeared on 2002′s American IV: The Man Comes Around along with the other two songs I mentioned up there. Interesting side note: that guitar riff was the first I ever learned on guitar. While that song is a great testament to Frusciante’s ability, I actually wanted to talk about their song together on Cash’s next work – his box-set Unearthed. Here, they unearthed (pun intended) arguably one of the best Neil Young songs out there and gave it a new feel. “Heart Of Gold” was a classic song by this point and a career-defining song for the Canadian rocker. Frusciante replaces all the harmonica solos with guitar ones and out-does Young again. Sure, it’s hard to compare the two instruments, but when it comes down to it, his are the better solos. Frusciante has always been able to capture the mood of a song well with his solos whether it is on his own or with the Peppers so naturally this song is no exception. With Frusciante making it a guitar must-listen & Cash turning it into an epic quest for that heart, it’s definitely a song you should be listening to right this second.

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