As with previous editions of Sony Legacy’s impressive Johnny Cash Bootleg series, Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth is a two-CD set containing a mixture of previously released and unreleased material. The focus this time around is squarely on Cash’s gospel side. The 51 tracks come from the 1970s and ‘80s. New liner notes by the late artist’s son, John Carter Cash, sort out the chronology of the music, putting it into context with the rest of Cash’s output.
The bulk of disc one is made up of a 1979 double album, A Believer Sings the Truth … the first time they’ve been available on CD. A Believer Sings the Truth was boiled down to a single album and reissued in 1984 as I Believe…. Four outtakes from the 1979 sessions were included, and appropriately those tracks are also found here. The disc closes with the previously unreleased “Truth,” from which this collection’s title was taken. The song is actually a poem recited by Cash and set to music. The concluding line is, “The soul of truth is God.”
Disc two opens with a dozen songs recorded in 1975 for a never-released album. Making their CD debut are ten tracks recorded in 1983, but not issued until 1986 as Believe in Him. The four tracks that conclude disc two are outtakes from those 1983 sessions. The piano-driven take on the traditional “Never Grow Old” is a fine way to finish the set. Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth is recommended for Cash collectors.
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