Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash Duets

Presumably hoping to hone in on the public’s renewed fascination with Johnny and June Carter Cash, this compilation captures the fiery essence of what made these country stars such a dynamic duo. Producer Gregg Geller wisely relies heavily on a selection of call-and-response songs, which highlight the couple’s sassy humour and endearing romance. Beyond "Jackson,” there are charming feuding songs like "Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” and "Oh, What a Good Thing We Had.” Then there are the touching moments during "If I Were a Carpenter,” "‘Cause I Love You” and the heart-wrenching "Brand New Dance,” where Johnny’s sullen baritone bats helplessly against June’s lilting voice. Recent discovery "It Takes One to Know Me” strays closest to autobiography for Johnny and June are just hitting their stride together in the late ’70s. That’s the idea anyway, and this collection offers a nice glimpse at the collaborative spirit of country’s king and queen. (Columbia)