Uncut - 5/04, p.1083 stars out of 5
- "In Cash, the warring tropes of good and bad, right and wrong, were only ever in temporary equilibrium."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1143 stars out of 5
- "What gives this cachet is that, like the last three, it was compiled and linernoted by Cash himself."
Columbia issued three theme-based Johnny Cash collections in 2000, the self-explanatory LOVE, GOD, and MURDER (also available together as a box set). Four years later, after Cash's death, the fourth volume in the series appeared. On one level, LIFE is kind of a catchall for songs that didn't fit the other discs, but it also does a nice job of illustrating the Man in Black's perspective on everyday living. Excellently compiled, it covers several different eras of Cash's multi-decade career and digs into the more obscure corners of his catalog with satisfying results. There are songs celebrating Cash's rough-and-tumble origins ("Country Trash," "I'm Ragged But I'm Right"), his sociopolitical views ("Ragged Old Flag," "Man in Black"), and his personal relationship with both God ("I Talk to Jesus Everyday") and women ("Wanted Man"). Neophytes should be aware that there are no big hits here, but fans of this country legend will thrill to the depth and variety of LIFE.