Anyway. It sounds as amazing as we might have hoped.
Apparently at the time he recorded them, he thought no one would be interested in such a stripped-down sound. When he later cut his first CD for the American Recordings label with producer Rick Rubin (1994's American Recordings), he remarked that he had made a similar record in the 1970s but could interest no labels in it.
Walk the Line was released in February here so it's still at the cinema. In my office I am (annoyingly) placed to hear conversations from all over the room and have involuntarily heard three different ones recently about people seeing it, thinking it was awesome. All people who had no interest in the topic before. Just this morning some random guy who sits behind me said he knew nothing about Johnny Cash before seeing the movie last night but he was a quote genuine badass unquote and was speechless when his cubicle mate informed him they actors were not lipsynching. He liked the music, but I could tell he was still struggling to come to terms with liking something "country." Cash compilations in the Top 10 charts next to James Blunt and ... um, who ever else is in the Top 10. Never thought I'd see it. Quite a development. They also made some inaccurate statements about the chronology vis a vis Elvis but I was a good anonymous office drone and stared straight ahead and said nowt.
I can't find a convenient link for the ostrich thing, the info is always buried pars down in an article. Google if you wish.