Bruce Springsteen has always been a preacher at heart. Ever since he greeted us from Asbury Park back in ’73, he’s been spreading the good word of the healing power of rock & roll far and wide, testifying many a time and many an hour across the live planks, guitar slung back over his shoulder as he stomps, kneels, prays, pleads, and ultimately cajoles the enraptured to follow him down the open road.
"I hear the Man a-comin' / He's rolling 'round the bend - on 104 tracks!" Or so you'll sing in praise of the Man in Black's big boxed set, The Legend (Columbia/Legacy). His name, of course, is Johnny Cash, and the box serves up four CDs of songs that include seven previously unreleased performances.
Hard Bargain features the trio of Emmylou Harris, producer Jay Joyce, and multi-instrumentalist Giles Reaves alone in the studio. However, this isn’t a rustic, back-to-basics album. Rather, it has a pleasantly lush sound, made with the complete understanding that people come to hear Harris sing.