“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being…When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups…I want to speak to their souls.”
All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.
I identify myself with Louis Jordan more than any other artist
In the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Museum: Louis Jordan:
“One place you’re going to find a lot of doctors is St. James Infirmary. This song’s history is convoluted and fascinating. Louis Armstrong recorded it as early as nineteen and twenty-eight, but it goes back much further. According to one study it got its start as a ballad called ‘The Unfortunate Rake’…”
– Bob Dylan (Theme Time Radio Hour, Doctors)
The Best Songs: St. James Infirmary blues
“St. James Infirmary Blues” is an American folksong of anonymous origin, though sometimes credited to the songwriter Joe Primrose (a pseudonym for Irving Mills). Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording.
There are hundreds of recordings and it has been difficult to choose my favourites. I’ve tried to pick some for their historic significance and some just because they are so incredibly good.
“St. James Infirmary” is based on an 18th-century traditional English folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake” (also known as “The Unfortunate Lad” or “The Young Man Cut Down in His Prime”), about a soldier who uses his money on prostitutes, and then dies of a venereal disease.
My first pick is an a cappella version of The Unfortunate Rake done by Ian McShane from the TV-series Deadwood (we can also clearly hear the melody that became Streets of Laredo):
If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!
Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.
By the time of his passing, he was considered amongst the world’s greatest composers and musicians. The French government honored him with their highest award, the Legion of Honor, while the government of the United States bestowed upon him the highest civil honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Take The “A” Train (Reveille with Beverly from 1943):
April 26: Johnny Cash American Recordings was released in 1994
…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)