Thursday, August 24, 2006

Johnny Cash


I've been exploring Johnny Cash a lot over the last year, since being given American Recordings 1-4 by a mate (thanks Al). In the last few weeks though, I've watched the film, read his autobiography and Dave Urbanski's 'The Man Comes Around' - and been listening to American Recordings 5 & two live albums. So, some various thoughts from all that.

1. That voice!

2. I'm very interested in songs about life, the human voice detailing human experience. I see the singing voice as more basic than the spoken voice, the latter being derived (and in some ways diminished) from the former. The folk song tradition - of which Johnny Cash is an inheritor - is something I'd like to explore.

3. Singing as such is on my mind a lot at the moment (see here). I might even start taking lessons to play the guitar.

4. Picking cotton - that is what oil has saved us from. Peak Oil looks even grimmer on reading about the life he grew up with.

5. The film was good, but I wanted it to explore more about his religious faith, which was only really hinted at. The Urbanski book goes a little way to meeting that need, but it is the autobiography that says much more. I am very intrigued about a) his closeness with Billy Graham, and b) the film that he made about Jesus.

6. I'm also intrigued at the gospel songs he has recorded, which I am probably going to have to obtain somehow. Some of my favourite songs of his are the religious ones (Man Comes Around, Personal Jesus - and yes I know that the latter is a cover version of an Essex band original).

7. "I'm not one of those public personalities who 'can't' go to the movies with everyone else. I walk the streets and shop in the stores and buy my movie tickets at the box office. People don't 'leave me alone'. They recognize me, and when I'm standing in line we talk, and if they want an autograph I give them one. Then we all say 'bye and go watch the movie. Of course, if I'd turned out to be Elvis or Marilyn Monroe, or Michael Jackson or Madonna, I might not want to do things that way. Comparatively speaking, being Johnny Cash isn't that tough a job."

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