In the liner notes of Country singer Johnny Cash’s vinyl LP Mean As Hell! , Cash wrote about the process of making the album and notes on some of the songs. Mean As Hell! remains to be one of the best albums about the West by Cash. It was recorded in 1965 under the supervision of Don Law, Columbia Records album producer (Tost 2011).
The liner notes is easy and interesting to read that Cash told the story behind the album chronologically. For example, he started the piece of writing by recalling a conversation with Don Law, four years ago. That was the time when Cash first thought about making an album about the West. In the next paragraph, Cash began to talk about a more recent conversation he had with Don Law, few months ago, which motivated him to actually start thinking and writing about Mean As Hell! (Cash n.d.).
Furthermore, Cash explained how he made the album, which was going on a road trip in the West. Cash’s might only included the exciting parts of the album making process, however, the scenes he chose to write about provide a successful portrayal of the West, which is Mean As Hell! all about. For instance, Cash mentioned that he “followed trails in his Jeep and on foot, and slept under mesquite bushes and in gullies. (Cash n.d.)”
Cash also made some notes on seven songs, including some definitions of the slangs in the lyrics and background knowledge of the songs, which are helpful for the listeners to understand and think more about the context of the songs when listen to them.
In conclusion, reading the liner notes of Mean As Hell! is an interesting and enjoyable experience, almost like reading an adventure fiction in the West. Surely, Cash’s writing has sufficiently captured readers’ attention, taught readers about the West and introduced Mean As Hell! as a LP centers on the theme of the West.
Cash , Johnny. “Mean As Hell! .” AlbumLinerNotes.com. http://aln2.albumlinernotes.com/Mean_As_Hell_.html (accessed 2017).
Tost, Tony. “Cowboy prayers.” In American Recordings. The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011.