September 19, 2003
Since he upped and died, his record sales have gone through the roof. I think that's cool.
Therefore, I'm going to post my list of my 10 Favorite Johnny Cash Songs because I'm no, er, johnny come lately to the man's music. I've listened to and played his stuff since I was a 13 year-old boy.
#1: "I Walk The Line." What more can I say? Favorite verse?
I find it very, very easy to be true.
I find myself alone when each day's through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line
#2: "Folsom Prison Blues." That song was built for JC. Favorite verse?
I'll bet there's rich folks eating in a fancy dining car
They're probably drinking coffee and smoking big cigars
Well, I know I had it coming, I know I can't be free
But that train keeps a-moving, and that's what tortures me."
#3: "Long, Black Veil." JC did a lot of traditional mountain songs and he did this one the best. Favorite verse?
Well, the scaffold is high, and eternity's near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night, when the cold wind moans
In a long, black veil, she cries o'er my bones."
#4: "Orange Blossom Special." That's where Johnny did the (cheating) dual-harmonica thing that impressed people who don't know music and made me laugh at him. My Papaw always was impressed when he saw Johnny perform that song. "That man can play TWO HARMONICAS AT ONCE!" he always declared. Yep. Get a "G" and a "D" and whatever you blow sounds all right. What the hell, I never considered JC to be a serious harmonica player, but he was a crowd pleaser. Favorite verse?
I'm goin' down to Florida and get some sand in my shoes
Or maybe California, and get some sand in my shoes
Gonna ride that Orange Blossom Special
And lose these New York blues
#5: "Ring of Fire." That one was pure JC. Favorite verse? The chorus.
I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down, but the flames went higher
And it burns, burns burns
That ring of fire, the ring of fire.
#6: "Boy Named Sue." I believe that only JC could have pulled this one off as successfully as he did. Good song, but better because Johnny sang it. You could BELIEVE my Favorite Verse:
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise
He come up with a knife and he cut off a piece of my ear
So I busted a chair right across his teeth
We crashed through the wall and into the street
Kickin' and a-gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#7: "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." JC did several Bob Dylan songs in his career and I always though his version of this classic was one of the best. He changed the words a little bit, but that just made his version better. Favorite verse?
When your rooster starts a-crowing at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You are the reason I'm travelling on
But don't think twice, it's all right
#8 "Jackson." Yeah, he and June did that song well. Favorite verse?
We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout
We've been talking 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out
Yeah, I'm going to Jackson, turn a-loose of my coat
You go on to Jackson, goodbye is all she wrote.
#9: "Dark as a Dungeon." I come from a long line of coal miners, so I've always loved this song and JC did it well. My favorite verse?
Come all you young men, so young and so fine
And seek not your fortune in a dark, dreary mine
It'll seep in you bones and it'll darken your soul
'Till the blood in your veins runs as black as the coal
It's dark as a dungeon, damp as the dew,
Where the danger is doubled and the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's DARK AS A DUNGEON way down in the mines
#10: "Bad News" That was a throwaway song on some album I bought long ago, but I always loved it. Favorite verse?
They tried to hang me in Austin, and they did in San Frisco
But I wouldn't choke, I broke the rope, and they had to let me go
Cause I'm Bad News
Everywhere I go, oh, no!
I'm always getting in trouble
And leaving little girls who hate to see me go
Tell me I don't know MY Johnny Cash.
I also liked his cover of Trent Reznor's "Hurt" -- he gave it an interesting, visceral quality that the original song never had. It sent the chills straight down my spine when I first heard it, and I had no doubt who was singing. I still have not seen the video, though . . .
We still run the Orange Blossom Special. Citrus headed north. Thought you'd like to know. JC ruled.
"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"- the divorced man's theme song and recipe for the rest of his (ruined) life.
JC will live forever in his music.
Shel Silverstein wrote "A Boy Named Sue." But I discovered his work from the children's books he wrote. "The Giving Tree" is my all time favorite. But he was more than song lyrics or children's books. Google on his name and check out some of the sites dedicated to his work.
I can't even start a list of favorite Cash songs...there are just too many. The live "Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison" album is probably the best live album ever. The way Cash could go from "Cocaine Blues" to "Greystone Chapel" in one show speaks alot about the man.
I really enjoyed his latter work with American Recordings, too. These were among his best albums, in my opinion. His rendition of Trent Reznor's "Hurt" is simply haunting...the video even more so. That song will always belong to Cash from now on.
Thanks for the music, Johnny.
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