Johnny Cash’s rare and out-of-print gospel and spiritual recordings from the 1970s and 1980s will be reissued on April 3 by Columbia/Legacy. The two-disc, 51-track set is titled Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth.
The tracks are traditional hymns and folk songs, as well as original compositions by Cash and songwriters such as Billy Joe Shaver, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bill Monroe, Dorothy Love Coates, Marijohn Wilkin, Mark Germino and Rodney Crowell.
The first disc includes Cash’s entire 1979 album, A Believer Sings the Truth, plus five outtakes from those sessions which were produced by Jack Clement and Jack Routh. The disc also features four recordings from his 1984 album, I Believe. It concludes with a previously-unreleased song, “Truth,” based on a poem written by Sufi leader Hazrat Inayat Khan and presented to Cash by Muhammad Ali.
Meanwhile, the second disc features 12 recordings made in 1975 for an album that wasn’t released and the 1982 recordings for his rare album, Johnny Cash — Gospel Singer, produced by Marty Stuart.
The tracks were cut both at Columbia Studios in Nashville, as well as his own House of Cash in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Duet partners and collaborators include June Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash, Cindy Cash, Anita Carter, Helen Carter, Rodney Crowell, Jessi Colter and his longtime bassist Marshall Grant. John Carter Cash, the only son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, contributed the liner notes.
Johnny Cash died in 2003. He would have turned 80 on Feb. 26.