My wife absolutely adored Johnny Cash. She saw him as a good Godly man who had done a lot of bad things when he was younger but redeemed himself later in his life. His songs almost always had a meaning behind them. In other words, the lyrics always had substance. Whether he was telling a story or singing a cover, it always felt like he meant what he sang about. He also never shied away from controversial issues in his songs.
When she was very young, she began a scrapbook with everything she could find about Johnny Cash. It was something near and dear to her and something she could claim as her own. Everything else she had, dolls, toys, money, and even clothes were subject to being taken by everybody else in her family. They didn’t seem to have an interest in her scrapbook.
One day her mom picked her up from school along with her siblings and she had a new car with a trailer behind it. They couldn’t afford to pay rent that month so her mom wrote a couple of bad checks and decided it was time to move. My wife asked about her scrapbook and her mom told her it wasn’t important enough to go back for. My wife was in disbelief. It was, up to this point in her life, the only thing she had that was valuable to her. She still talks about missing it to this day.
For me, Johnny Cash made me a fan with just one song…”A Boy Named Sue.” I loved that song and it caused me to look for other songs he had written or sung. I loved the stories. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good riff as much as any other metalhead, but I also love lyrics. Johnny Cash was the king of lyrics as far as I was concerned. I could listen to his stories all day long.
What made me write this post at this time was my wife. She was in the kitchen making Strawberry Banana Bread…mmmmmmm, yum…when she played some music by Johnny Cash. She began with the cover of “Hurt” that Johnny Cash basically made his own when he recorded it. Then this was followed by “The Ballad of John Henry.” We love that song and we love that story. When it comes on, I find myself stopping what I’m doing just to listen to the story…again.
One of our favorite movies is “Walk the Line,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Even though Joaquin couldn’t copy Johnny Cash’s voice perfectly (who could?), he pulled it off as good as anybody could. We also both agree that Reese Witherspoon sings better than June Carter Cash ever did. Of course, June Carter Cash always said she didn’t sing as well as the rest of her family so she decided to be funny. I personally think she was good at both.
So there. Now you have my review of Johnny Cash. Now I must leave this post because I believe the Strawberry Banana Bread is finished. I know you’re supposed to let it cool, but who can honestly do that? I just need to wait until my wife isn’t looking…