Picks and Pans Review: Wildwood Flower

updated 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

June Carter Cash (Dualtone)

Before she died at 73 in May, not long after this recording was finished, Carter Cash was in fine, strong voice, her throaty delivery reaching, as always, into a song's darker corners. The stately tone and pace of this disc are perfect for the final release by a doyenne of the first family of country music. And what a family affair this project is. Her widower, Johnny Cash, sings on four of 13 tracks. John Carter Cash, June and Johnny's son, is the producer. And other backup performers include daughter Carlene Carter and former son-in-law Marty Stuart. The songs, steeped in bluegrass and gospel, were mostly written by A.P. Carter, June's uncle and the patriarch of the Carter Family. Her passing adds emotion to the already poignant "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" The answer is an unequivocal yes.

BOTTOM LINE: A fitting farewell

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