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By 1958, Johnny Cash had already been in the spot light for three years with hit singles and his debut album coming in 1957. Although singles from his second album were sprouting in 1956, his second effort, “Johnny Cash Sings the Songs that Made Him Famous,” arrived in November of 1958. This album seems more love-driven, rather than his prison-themed first album.

Teen angst was the message in the mid to late 1950s, which shows in Cash’s first song of the album, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen.” Cash’s storytelling depicts a “small town girl,” who loves the “boy next door”; she left him behind for Hollywood, but she could never find happiness without him. She ended up selling her fame to go back to him. This beautiful tale reached number one in the Country Billboard charts and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. Released in 1956, the next track, “There You Go,” reached number one in the Country charts. “Don’t Make Me Go,” is a love tale which peaked at number nine in the Billboard Country charts.

A nice little number, “I Guess Things Happen That Way,” this track was a Country number one hit, while it simultaneously peaked at number 11 on the Pop charts. This track can speak to anybody who received recent heartbreak, but Cash reassures us that “things just happen that way.” “Train of Love,” went on to number seven on the Country charts, while its upbeat rhythm seeps into American hearts. Cash continues to rule the charts as “The Ways of a Woman In Love.” In this love number, Cash and his background singers sing about Cash’s regret of losing his woman. This track reached number two on the Country charts and 22 on the Pop charts.

Next in line is “Next in line,” which reached number nine on the Country charts and 99 on the Pop charts. “Big River” was the last track of the album, and it went to under four on the Country charts and 14 on the Pop charts.

Reaching number five on the Country Charts and number 24 on the Pop charts, “You’re the Nearest Thing to Heaven,” was actually the last single from the album to chart, This track is a sweet song to be heard by anyone and any woman should hear from her man. Arguably, the most truthful track, “Home of the Blues,” is about Cash’s unhappy childhood. His unhappy childhood was good enough to make it to number three on the Country and number 88 on the Pop charts.

All in all, Cash sprouted nine songs from this 12-track album that charted. This album is arguably Cash’s biggest crossover success as most of the songs reached both the Country and Pop charts. Cash still lingers in everybody’s heart since his appearance in 1955. This album can be a great album for Johnny Cash newbies and for Johnny Cash lovers. Buy it and enjoy it. Music like this doesn’t get as honest, raw, and catchy that much nowadays.

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