Category Archives: Johnny Cash

Today: Johnny Cash released American Recordings in 1994 – 19 years ago

johnny cash-american-recordings

…Always, the choice of material is a revelation. The Beast In Me (written by former son-in-law, Nick Lowe) could be autobiographical. And while writers like horrorpunk figurehead Glenn Danzig or Tom Waits probably would never have figured on his radar were it not for Rubin; time and again the duo found songs that were, in Cash’s hands, to take on new life. This willingness to experiment was to set a precedent: Subsequent albums were to see him work magic on material from Nine Inch Nails to U2 and Depeche Mode. But Johnny Cash’s final road to redemption and artistic fulfillment starts here…
~Chris Jones (bbc.co.uk)

American Recordings did something very important — it gave Cash a chance to show how much he could do with a set of great songs and no creative interference, and it afforded him the respect he’d been denied for so long, and the result is a powerful and intimate album that brought the Man in Black back to the spotlight, where he belonged.
~Mark Deming (allmusic.com)

#1 – Delia’s Gone

Wikipedia:

Released April 26, 1994
Recorded May 17, 1993 – December 7, 1993
Genre Country, country folk, americana, folk rock
Length 42:45
Label American/ Sony
Producer Rick Rubin

American Recordings is the 81st album by the country singer Johnny Cash. It was released in April 1994, the first album issued by American Recordings after its name change from Def American, the album being named after the new label. In 2003, the album was ranked number 364 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Cash was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin’s American Recordings label, better known for rap and heavy metal than for country music. Under Rubin’s supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar. For years Cash was often at odds with his producers after he had discovered with his first producer, Sam Phillips, that his voice was better suited to a stripped-down musical style. Most famously he disagreed with Jack Clement over his sound, Clement having tried to give Cash’s songs a “twangy” feel and to add strings and barbershop-quartet-style singers. His successful collaboration with Rick Rubin was in part due to Rubin seeking a minimalist sound for his songs.

johnny cash american recordings

#3 – The Beast In Me:

The songs “Tennessee Stud” and “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry” were recorded live at the Viper Room, a Sunset Strip, Los Angeles nightclub owned at the time by Johnny Depp. “The Beast in Me” was written and originally recorded by Cash’s former stepson-in-law Nick Lowe.

The video for the first single, the traditional song “Delia’s Gone” (directed by Anton Corbijn, featuring Kate Moss), was put into rotation on MTV, and even appeared on Beavis and Butt-head, Beavis asking if Cash was Captain Kangaroo. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash’s finest album since the late 1960s, while his versions of songs by more modern artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig (who penned a song called “Thirteen” specifically for Cash, in just twenty minutes) helped to bring him a new audience. American Recordings received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards. The album cover was photographed whilst Cash was visiting Australia, at Werribee near Melbourne.

johnny cash rick rubinJohhny Cash & Rick Rubin in studio

#5 – Why Me Lord:

Track listing:

  1. “Delia’s Gone” (Karl Silbersdorf, Dick Toops) – 2:18
    Originally recorded by Cash for The Sound of Johnny Cash (1962)
  2. “Let the Train Blow the Whistle” (Cash) – 2:15
  3. “The Beast in Me” (Nick Lowe) – 2:45
    Originally recorded by Lowe for The Impossible Bird (1994)
  4. “Drive On” (Cash) – 2:23
  5. “Why Me Lord” (Kris Kristofferson) – 2:20
    Originally recorded by Kristofferson for Jesus Was a Capricorn (1972)
  6. “Thirteen” (edit) (Glenn Danzig) – 2:29
    Full-length version appears on Disc 5 of the Unearthed Box Set. Written by Glenn Danzig for Cash. Later recorded by Danzig for Danzig 6:66 Satan’s Child (1999)
  7. “Oh, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy’s Prayer)” (John Lomax, Alan Lomax, Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer) – 3:52
    Originally recorded by Cash for Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965)
  8. “Bird on a Wire” (Leonard Cohen) – 4:01
    Originally recorded by Cohen for Songs from a Room (1969)
  9. “Tennessee Stud” (live) (Jimmy Driftwood) – 2:54
    Originally a hit single for Eddy Arnold (1959)
  10. “Down There by the Train” (Tom Waits) – 5:34
    Written by Waits for Cash. Later released by Waits on his Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards rarities collection.
  11. “Redemption” (Cash) – 3:03
  12. “Like a Soldier” (Cash) – 2:50
  13. “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry” (live) (Loudon Wainwright) – 5:03
    Originally recorded by Wainwright for Attempted Mustache (1973)

Personnel:

  • Rick Rubin – producer
  • Johnny Cash – acoustic guitar, vocals, main performer, liner notes
  • Jim Scott – mixing
  • David Ferguson – sound recordist
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Christine Cano – design
  • Martyn Atkins – art director, photographer

Playlist of the day:

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Continue reading Today: Johnny Cash released American Recordings in 1994 – 19 years ago

Today: Johnny Cash recorded Ring of Fire in 1963

Ring Of Fire 1

“The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.”
– Rosanne Cash

Ring of Fire” or “The Ring of Fire” is a country music song popularized by Johnny Cash and co-written by June Carter Cash (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The single appears on Cash’s 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. The song was originally recorded by June’s sister, Anita Carter, on her Mercury Records album Folk Songs Old and New (1963) as “(Love’s) Ring of Fire”.

Anita Carter – Love’s Ring of Fire:

According to the Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs, June Carter wrote this song while driving around aimlessly one night, worried about Cash’s wild man ways – and aware that she couldn’t resist him.

“There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns”

Not long after hearing June’s sister Anita’s take on the song, Cash had a dream that he was singing it with Mariachi horns. Cash’s version became one of his biggest hits, and his marriage to June 4 years later helped save his life. The song was maybe inspired by the poem Love’s Ring Of Fire, and it was originally recorded in a more folksy manner by June Carter’s sister, Anita, as “Love’s Fiery Ring.”/”Love’s Ring of Fire”.  Cash held back on his single to give her version a chance to chart.
Continue reading Today: Johnny Cash recorded Ring of Fire in 1963

Today: The late Johnny Cash was born in 1932 – 81 years ago

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..Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him – the greatest of the greats then and now. I first met him in ‘62 or ‘63 and saw him a lot in those years. Not so much recently, but in some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.
~Bob Dylan (Statement on Johnny Cash – Sept 2003)

I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. I love it. What is it? I don’t know. It’s life.
~Johnny Cash

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
~Johnny Cash

Lyle Lovett Inducts Johnny Cash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

I Walk The Line – 1956:

Wikipedia:

Birth name John R. Cash
Born February 26, 1932
Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
Died September 12, 2003 (aged 71)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres Country, rock and roll, gospel
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1954–2003
Labels Sun, Columbia, Mercury, American, House of Cash, Legacy Recordings
Associated acts The Tennessee Three, The Highwaymen, June Carter Cash, The Statler Brothers, The Carter Family, Area Code 615
Website johnnycash.com

John R. “Johnny” Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—and blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

bob-dylan-and-johnny-cash-tv-special

San Quentin (Live):

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, for the “boom-chicka-boom” sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for a rebelliousness, coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor; for providing free concerts inside prison walls; and for his dark performance clothing, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”. He traditionally began his concerts with the phrase “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”, followed by his standard “Folsom Prison Blues”.

Much of Cash’s music echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career. His best-known songs included “I Walk the Line”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, “Get Rhythm” and “Man in Black”. He also recorded humorous numbers like “One Piece at a Time” and “A Boy Named Sue”; a duet with his future wife, June Carter, called “Jackson”; and railroad songs including “Hey, Porter” and “Rock Island Line”. During the last stage of his career, Cash covered songs by several late 20th-century rock artists, most notably “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.

Johnny Cash_1994

Hurt:

Some awards & Honors:

His diversity was evidenced by his presence in three major music halls of fame:

  • Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977)
  • Country Music Hall of Fame (1980)
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992)

Only thirteen performers are in both of the last two, and only Hank Williams Sr.Jimmie RodgersBob Wills, and Bill Monroe share the honor with Cash of being in all three. However, only Cash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the regular manner, unlike the other country members, who were inducted as “early influences.”

His pioneering contribution to the genre has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of FameHe received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996. Cash stated that his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 1980, was his greatest professional achievement. In 2001, he was awarded the National Medal of ArtsHe was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for best cinematography for “Hurt” and was supposed to appear, but died during the night.

Johnny-Cash color

 Album of the day:

Johnny Cash at San Quentin (1969)

Johnny_Cash_At_San_Quentin

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Continue reading Today: The late Johnny Cash was born in 1932 – 81 years ago