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September 12, 2003

Johnny Cash

Posted by Mike on September 12, 2003 3:43 PM

Goodbye to the Man in Black.

Some of my childhood musical memories involve sitting in the back seat of my parents' car and listening to their 8-tracks: "The Golden Sounds of Mantovani," a collection of WWII serials ("Hop! Harrigan! Kiiiing of the Airways!"), and a Johnny Cash "greatest hits" tape. He picked up a lot of hipster cred in the past few years, but it won't be possible for me to hear "Cry Cry Cry," "Teenage Queen," or "I Walk the Line" without remembering that feeling of mystery that surrounds our parents' music. I had no idea what it meant to "walk the line," but I knew that it sounded like a cool thing to do.

Three weeks ago I picked up a copy of "The Sun Years" to replace one that went missing at some point. More honest and more aware of a wider world than Elvis Presley's own Sun collection. Elvis sang about trains that came and went in the night: mysteries he saw in the distance, but never rode. Johnny Cash sang about the Rock Island line and made it sound like he knew it from end to end. Elvis wanted to play house, Johnny walked the line. Elvis gave us a false start that demands ironic distance ("Hold it, boys, that don't move..."), while Johnny convinced us that Luther, did, indeed, "play the boogie-woogie strange." Can't recommend "The Sun Years" enough.