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July 18, 2006

Comments

Dean Whinery

Johnny Cash was one of my favorites, despite his many, mostly self-induced, problems. June Carter Cash, of course, was part of country music's legend, the Carter Family. I agree that some parts of their personal lives were hardly exemplary, but their musical artistry has set standards that are rarely equalled. From what I know of their personal lives, I think June gave us many more years of the talent of the Man in Black than we would have enjoyed had they not teamed up. May God have mercy on both their souls.
Johnny, part Native American from Arkansas, had a song from his roots, "Five Feet High and Rising" that tells more about him than could any movie (which I didn't see). He was singing reverential Gospel music long before he met June, whose family thrived on unashamed Southern Gospel. I recall seeing and hearing him sing "Ave MarĂ­a" on live television in LA when I was a teenager, maybe out of character for a Bible Belt Protestant, but unforgettable.
It is a pleasant surprise to find more and more Catholics who enjoy Country and Western music.

joe

Kudos for the post. To me he always seemed a good heart in the earthly struggle--like us all. I agree with comment on the idealization of his affair turned marriage--it bothered me in the theatre as well.

I did hear his private library consisted largely of early christian fathers. Is that true?

ami

I am a Johnny Cash music fan. Not a fan of him, June, their behaviors or the people who adulate them.

This last album sort of sucks and I wish I hadn't wasted the money.

The album before however, where he sings the title song "When the Man Comes Around" which he wrote, is not great theology, but it is amazing Biblical imagery.

His subjective love of God, his obvious purgatory on earth seeps through in his written intro to the album and in the selections themselves. Mostly it all seeps through his voice.

Listen and pray for the man. And know the Spirit blows where it will.

Alyssa

Touchstone did a couple of interesting pieces on Cash back in either Dec. or Jan., and to follow up, Russell Moore has a review of the latest CD on his site. It's quite good.

http://www.henryinstitute.org/commentary_read.php?cid=267

David B.

Michelle,

Did "walk the Line" idealize adultery?

Michelle Arnold

"Michelle, Did 'walk the Line' idealize adultery?"

I skipped it because I didn't want to find out.

My point was that my disgust with the general public's image of Johnny and June as another Romeo and Juliet was the reason why I decided to avoid a Hollywood rendering of their "love story."

While I very much enjoyed Johnny's music and very much admired June's overall positive influence on Johnny's life, I also very much hated the popular perception of their marriage as some Great Romance. The marriage may very well have ended up being a good thing for them both, but their relationship started in adultery and that shouldn't be whitewashed over or romanticized.

David B.

Michelle,

All I know is SDG said that the film shows sin as sin, though without the redemption part.

Dale Price

Actually, Johnny and June were ashamed of the adultery that preceded their marriage. The director of "Walk the Line" had to ferret it out of them:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/14/news/jcash.php

Dittos on "When The Man Comes Around." A spare arrangement (voice, acoustic guitar and a little percussion," but paints a powerful vision of the Apocalypse.

Oh, and two more Cash favorites:

(1) His cover of "Hurt"; and

(2) "Cry Cry Cry."

Charlotte

I saw the movie because I am old enough to be a Johnny cash music fan, and young enough to not know anything about his marriage. I seriously had never heard the name June Carter Cash that I could remember. I liked the movie just because I like "bio-flicks" as Michelle put it. Did it romanticize adultery? Hard to say. There was an adulterous affair however, that happened when he was still a drug addict. The movie portrays their "real" relationship beginning with his detox and recovery. I think he was divorced by then.

Ry

Joaquim Phoenix did a good job of LOOKING a lot like Johnny Cash, but he was never convincing in the way he tried to ACT like Cash. There was always something a bit "off" about him; he just seemed too fragile, too lacking in confidenc, too unsure of himself. He wasn't the Johnny Cash I remember.

The other thing that ruined the movie for me was that it failed to include my two favorite Cash songs: "Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart," and "Dirty Ol' Egg Suckin' Dog."

Margaret

And let's not forget that Cub Scout campfire classic, Ghost Chickens in the Sky.

Meretrice

June Carter Cash wrote the song "Ring of Fire" about her love for Johnny Cash during the time in which they were married to other people. I think if you listen to the words from that perspective, it is easy to see that she was not proud of where her love for him had taken her, but that there was something deeper that could not be denied.

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a fiery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns, burns, burns
the ring of fire

While it is common to describe a passionate love as "hot" and "fiery," June makes allusions to hell and being consumed by this passion that is enslaving her. It really isn't a sweet romantic song, to me it is a song of regret and fear of the love.

I have no doubt that Johnny and June regretted the circumstances of how their love affair began. However, June literally saved Johnny's life while he was wallowing in drugs and other self-destructive behaviors. I don't think their romance was a "fairy tale," but it is a wonderful example of the redemptive power of love.

Shell, I would recommend that you give the movie a chance. It was quite good.

Meretrice

What was the Nine Inch Nails song he redid?

Ellen

I've loved Johnny Cash for a long time, and remember being shocked at his and June's wedding. I thought it would never last. Johnny didn't have a great voice technically, but the man could sing. A couple of of my favorites are "I Still Miss Someone" and "Delia's Gone".

I remember reading an article that compared Cash to modern rappers. No Way. They sing of unrepentant bad men who get away with crimes and laugh. Cash sang of bad men too, but the men he sang about knew what they did was evil and they paid the price.

Johnny Cash is a sede vacante Latin Mass aficinado along with Mel Gibson and Johnny Depp

Cash is on the fast track to canonization like Escriva

Meretrice

Anonymous -- It was "Hurt."

Dan E.

"Walk the Line" was a great movie with fantastic performances all the way around. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon sang every note of the Cash and Carter songs in the movie, and sang them very well! I recently learned however that the song "Walk the Line" was written by Cash not for June Carter, as is implied in the movie, but for his first wife Vivian Liberto. Seems like Cash didn't walk a very straight line with her after all. I have also heard that it was Vivian's strict Catholic upbringing which kept her from divorcing Cash after his years of neglect, drug abuse and subsequent adultery until she just couldn't take any more. While he caused a great deal of pain to Vivian and the four children he had with her, it is good to know that by the end of his life he was a much more spiritual and repentant man.
Dean, J.R. Cash was not part American Indian, but of full Scottish ancestry. He did have a great affection for the plight of the Indians, however, and wrote several songs about it.

Hurt was a great song

Cash was a sinner, but he also was a real born again Christian

Steve Cavanaugh

Boy, I have to disagree with the poster who thought that Cash's album "American V" isn't good. I listened to this for the first time recently, and found it powerful and moving. "Help Me" is evocative of each of our positions...standing in need of God's grace. And his rendition of "Four Strong Winds" is a great version of this traditional tune.

Adonais

Seems like we were just talking about Johnny a month or two ago here. I'm delighted to hear there's a new album out (though ending American IV with a cover the Ink Spots' rendition of "We'll Meet Again" was a great farewell). I totally agree about his rendition of "The Man Comes Around," though Johnny didn't write it: that's an old spiritual, and it was also the musical basis for Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman." I've been a fan as long as I can remember - Mom had the San Quentin album. It's interesting that so much of what made him great was the force of his own personality: It's not how well technically he performs the song; it's the fact that it's Johnny Cash singing it. There's an honesty that comes across from him that really makes him great.

As to the movie, not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped. Although it doesn't spare the impact of the affair on Johnny's family, there really is still the sense that adultery figures into his life dream. Plus, they portray Johnny as a bit of a dimwit, which was not at all the case, and some of the casting is downright awful (all the Elvis impersonators in the world, and they couldn't find one who could sing "That's All Right, Mama" in the right key?).

dee

It's interesting to remember that his career began with "train" songs like "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Hey, Porter" and ended with "Like the 309" in American V. Trains seemed to be a kind of metaphor for life's journeys in Cash's music.

I also love the American V album,though I cried the first time I listened to it. The voice of the Man in Black is weak and frail at times but his interpretive skills are still there...A fitting end to an awersome career.

Meretrice, you should provide a warning to the readers of JimmyAkin.org that they shouldn't click on the link to your web site unless they want to read vulgar, profanity-laced trash.

Bruce

Cash V: A Hundred Highways is truly amazing.

Here's the new mix of the song inspired by Cash's new CD:

Here's to 100 Highways
words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
http://www.drblt.net/music/ahundredhi.mp3

I've always been a Johnny Cash fan, but first witnessed the real power of Cash when, as a prison shrink I performed Cash songs behind bars for hundreds of inmates:
http://www.tollbooth.org/2003/features/jcash.html

Bruce
aka Dr. BLT
The World's First Blog n Roll Artist

Meretrice

Dear Too-Self-Righteous-To-Stand-Behind-Their-Comments-And-Not-Post-Anonymously,

You are right, I can't believe I forgot to warn everybody!

Hey check it out! Vulgarity, profanity and trash available for FREE at my web site, 24-7!

Meretrice

bill912

As you can see from Meretrice's response to your polite request, adult behavior is foreign to her.

Meretrice

bill912: Dude, you don't know me and you obviously don't read my blog. So what do you even care? You and Anonymous need to get over yourselves.

bill912

LOL!

Honora

Internet communication certainly has its limits.

And finally a moment in which to say it aloud. The lyrics of the song about why he wears black are actually profound. May God bless the man for every hope he helped to animate in others.

bill912

Johnny Cash is an example of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, of God's great love for us, how He will never give up on us, and will heal and change us if we just give Him the chance.

Honora

The Hound of Heaven..

It's amazing to me that the religious right apparently likes Johnny Cash. He doesn't fit you guys. Just my honest opinion.

mike

Any value to the old album {Johnny Cash At San Quentin} Thanks Mike

alease davis

Honora,Johnny does fit us "religious right" because we are all just "sinners saved by grace",the same as Johnny was.We struggle with sin and failure and temptation.We long for grace,forgiveness,restoration,God's mercy.None but Christ are righteous.anyone claimong to be is lying to you.I loved Johnny,and feel like I have lost a dear friend.He was real.He wasn't afraid to let us see the pain and ugliness in his life,as well as the beauty and redeeming love of Christ.Let's meet Johnny in Heaven some day,like he said to.

bill912

alease, the names of the posters are below the posts.

veronica

I have been a Cash fan for a while now. I dont belive that Johnny was the only chaser in this relationship. I was very dissapointed in the film. NOT ONCE did they show Vivian's pain nor there childrens emotions towards this whole ordeal. They only focused on there fairytale story. I truely belive that yes Vivian might of left when he was needing her the most but then June took advantage of the situation. So with that said "I hate the fact that this film did not once express the other side of the story"

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