“Devil’s Right Hand” is probably the best Johnny Cash song that you have never heard. Most all true country music fans and music fans in general have heard the classic songs from “the man in black”, but this is one that I had not heard of until about a month ago. I happened to be looking around at music links and found where someone posted this. I found that it was on the “Unearthed” album which was released in 2003, shortly after his death. The album itself is a box set that contains mostly unreleased songs from Cash.
“Devil’s Right Hand” has a very similar story to many of Cash’s songs relating to guns. The song has a lot of similarities to “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town.” However, this song was actually written and originally performed by Steve Earle. Cash wasn’t the only one to cover the song. The Highwaymen featuring Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings also had a version, along with Waylon cutting the song himself on his own album. I have listened to all the versions and can definitely say that Cash has the most rocked up version with a solo electric guitar throughout song. In my opinion, his version is also the best out of the four that I listened to.
The song itself refers to a child seeing a gun for sale and being amazed by it. The child turns to a man and against the mother’s wishes gets a gun that eventually lands him in trouble. Like I said, it sounds like a normal Johnny Cash song, but I don’t think I have heard a song with such a strong presence of a “rockabilly” style guitar by him. I love the song and I would probably put it in my top 10 of all time favorite Johnny Cash songs. This isn’t traditional country music, but I don’t know that you can classify his music as traditional anyways. However, if you are a fan of Johnny Cash, I believe you will like this song as much as I do.mp3 available here: Devil's Right Hand