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Johnny Cash - How come an icon?

DigiTrad:
A GIRL NAMED JOHNNY CASH
COME IN STRANGER
COUNTY LINE
DADDY SANG BASS
DELIA'S GONE
DON'T TAKE YOUR GUNS TO TOWN
FORTY SHADES OF GREEN
ONE PIECE AT A TIME
THE BALLAD OF IRA HAYES


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Danks 21 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM
Bill D 21 Apr 06 - 09:43 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 06 - 09:56 AM
Alaska Mike 21 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM
clairerise 21 Apr 06 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 21 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 10:50 AM
alanabit 21 Apr 06 - 10:56 AM
s&r 21 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 11:21 AM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 06 - 11:29 AM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 11:31 AM
Maryrrf 21 Apr 06 - 12:03 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 12:11 PM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 12:15 PM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 21 Apr 06 - 12:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Apr 06 - 01:46 PM
Dave'sWife 21 Apr 06 - 02:16 PM
Jack the Sailor 21 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM
Acme 21 Apr 06 - 02:22 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 02:56 PM
Don Firth 21 Apr 06 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Obie 21 Apr 06 - 03:11 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 03:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Obie 21 Apr 06 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Richard Brandenburg 21 Apr 06 - 04:30 PM
Don Firth 21 Apr 06 - 05:31 PM
catspaw49 21 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM
kendall 21 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Apr 06 - 09:40 PM
Rusty Dobro 22 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Apr 06 - 10:27 AM
Flash Company 22 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM
Acme 22 Apr 06 - 11:20 AM
M.Ted 22 Apr 06 - 01:08 PM
Danks 22 Apr 06 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Observer 22 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,thurg 22 Apr 06 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 22 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM
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Subject: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM

I'm expecting Johnny Cash to be declared a saint by the Pope shortly! Cash's "iconic" status at the moment amazes me. One thing is for sure, his music doesn't warrant him attracting so much adulation. For example, if we look at his Sun Records stable mates, I would say that Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Charlie Rich, are all greater musicians. In the the area of country music an artist like Merle Haggard is a far better singer/songwriter/musician. Cash, of course, wittingly - or unwittingly - has created a myth! Rubbing shoulders with the Sun giants got him off to a great start; then, Dylan's friendship greatly increased his credibilty. The "man in black" thing caught the medias attention, and the cultivation of his "rebel" image gave more fuel to his "legendary status. I will concede that he is talented, has written some good songs, but, come one, his current "iconic " status can not be justified.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:43 AM

de gustibus non disputandum est


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:52 AM

Danks, you are certainly entitled to your opinion of Cash but I and many others would disagree. Your statement that Haggard is a better songwriter/performer/musician is subjective at best. I think Cash developed a unique style and his music showed his skill at storytelling and bringing folk idioms into country and rockabilly.

His current "icon" status is attribituable to his passing, the movie, and several re-issues.   I'm not sure how old you are, but Cash was an icon when I was growing up in the 1960's. His recording of songs from artists like Peter LaFarge helped introduce some good songwriters to a larger audience. He dealt with issues that others in "country" would not touch. His friendship with Dylan was based on an early show of support that Cash, who was the 800 pound gorilla at Columbia Records at the time, gave to Dylan and it helped cement Dylans contract with the label. His TV series gave the finger to network censors and prevailing tastes at the time - bringing artists like Dylan, Ramblin Jack Elliot and others to the screen in primetime.

It was only during the late 70's and 80's that his career took a dive, and his recordings suffered. In the 90's he resurrected himself with a great series of recordings that showed a remarkable understanding and acceptance for contemporary song.

He will always be an icon to me and many others.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:56 AM

Because his music still gets to people after 50 years and a lot of replays.

You're way too infected with media buzz if you're this upset about it. Click off the telly, drop your subscriptions, whatever, go make your own music. You will find each person and each musician has a few heroes they hold in senselessly high regard. It just be's that way. Better John Cash than John Tesh!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM

Not much else to say. I agree with Ron.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: clairerise
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:12 AM

i loved johnny cash. not his early stuff but later in recent years his voice was OUTSTANDING.

i made my spine tingle


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM

A wise man once said -

"A hole is nothing but you can break your neck in it."

Watch your step Danks!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:50 AM

I'm not saying Johnny Cash isn't talented! I first saw him on UK tv in 1958 (?) singing "A Got Stripes" ( I'm not sure if that's the correct title) and I was very impressed, and for the next 5 years, or so, I bought everything that he released. However! His talent simply just doesn't warrant the iconic adulation he now receives. And I do feel irritated that he's receiving so much attention whereas greater talents are ignored. But, it has always been thus! Can't blaim Johnny, of course.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:56 AM

I agree with every word Ron said really. No disrespect to your opinions, Danks. But all the same, Johnny Cash was just about the only country icon I ever cared about. His recordings in the seventies and eighties did not interest me much, I admit. However, his stunning final four albums alone would be enough to crown most careers. He was slave to neither fashion nor convention. He really did it all his own way. A flawed giant indeed, but a man of monumental dignity, sincerity, talent and commitment. I miss him.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: s&r
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM

Becoming an icon is not reward for talent alone. Promotion, opportunity, a fan base, exposure, image (real and perceived), self belief, luck, and many other things contribute.

Is Cash the most deserving icon? Perhaps not, but he ain't the least deserving.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM

Being an icon is not solely based on talent. The other achievments that I and others have mentioned are part of the reason why he is considered an icon.

Concerning the talent, I have to disagree with you Danks. If you ever had the opportunity to see him live in concert or if you were able to see the impact he had on country music during his life, you might have another opinion.   Again, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and I respect that.   There are many iconic figures on the music scene that just do not speak to my tastes.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM

Icons and beauty are both in the eye of the beholder. As the lady said who kissed the cow - It's a matter of taste.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:21 AM

More than almost any other singer, Johnny Cash knew how to deliver a song straight from his heart into the heart of the person listening.

When all is said and done, and with all due respect to Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, George Jones, Mere Haggard and so many others,I think he was THE definitive country music artist (and a great folksinger to boot).


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM

I wonder how Johnny - talent wise - is rated by his peers? I know that Waylon Jennings was very dismissive of his talents. Musically, Johnny was very limited. I remember an interview he gave in which he said that he was offered " The City of New Orleans" ( via a recording on a tape). He loved the song, but couldn't work out the chords! Arlo could!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:29 AM

Icons come, icons go. Means little to the individual listener, who if s/he can still choose personally despite media bombardment, chooses for hirself. In a long lifetime I've seen and found wanting so many icons that one more or less is irrelevant...haven't you?

In 50 years they'll be saying this about Britney Spears.

Status as an "icon" is about as meaningful as what kinda toilet paper you use. Not liking J. Cash is just as significant as not liking H. Bogart movies. Entirely justifiable...others disagree. Makes no neverminds.

Ya like what ya like. And there's plenty around to like, with or without Johnny -- even if you might have to go back to ancient British ballads or obscure '20s fiddle blues to find it.

BTW, my wife and I once flew on the same plane as Cash...he in 1st class of course, we in cabin. Still...we remember to this day walking by him and getting a level look from those dark eyes ... a memory to keep.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:31 AM

I know that Waylon Jennings was very dismissive of his talents.

Considering that Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash were frequent collaborators, and frequently expressed mutual admiration,I think it's more likely that you're full of crap.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:03 PM

I recently saw "I Walk the Line" and I didn't think Joaquin Phoenix was right for the role. He just didn't convince me - not only did he not look much like Johnny but he really didn't have Johnny's mannerisms or presence. I would agree that Johnny had some musical limitations (certainly he wasn't a great guitar player) but he had a style that was all his own and a powerful way of delivering a song - yes, I think he deserves "icon" status.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:11 PM

C Ham: Can you point me in the direction of this admiration that Waylon expressed about Johnny Cash? Just because Waylon worked with Johnny doesn't mean he admired him - musically. I think a lot of posters on this thread show signs of "buying in to the myth" of Johnny Cash.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:15 PM

I guess I'm concerned about the reason for this thread in the first place Danks. Are you hoping to learn more about Johnny Cash so your current opinion will be changed and you'll understand why many people consider him to be an icon ? Or are you trolling ? This has been a rather volatile website lately so I had to ask. We have a similar thread about the Dubliners running now. What's the point ?

There are a lot of other similar threads we could start like – "Why is Madonna consider an icon ?" or even "Cher sucks". I for one have never understood Richard Thompson's appeal. A lot of folks like him. I don't. It just never occurred to me to start a thread trashing the taste of folks who like Richard Thompson.

No one's asking you to love Johnny Cash. But wouldn't your time be better spent by telling us why you think Merle Haggard is a major talent instead of telling us why we shouldn't like Johnny Cash ? Let me know your thoughts on all of this.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM

C Ham: Can you point me in the direction of this admiration that Waylon expressed about Johnny Cash? Just because Waylon worked with Johnny doesn't mean he admired him - musically.

I've seen Waylon express admiration for Johnny Cash numerous times on TV.

Maybe you can point us to where Waylon was dismissive of Johnny's talent.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:31 PM

I believe I got the drift now...

Danks started this thread to berate the achievements of
johnny cash...not to in any way honor or recognize the vast contribution Cash made to the music industry

his main goal seems to be to attack and antagonize cash fans...

everybody fell for his game... this thread is worthy of deletion

or at least moving to the BS category


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM

Let's not start sniping. That is even worse than trolling. Whatever Danks motives, lets just let the records speak for themselves.   It isn't worth drifting this thread into one of those fights.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 01:46 PM

Couldn't play, couldn't sing. Some, however, found his delivery emotive. Some parallels with Shane McGowan then.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:16 PM

Ron Olesko had summed it all up and quite succinctly. All I have to add is that if you are judging him based on the way the movie represented him, you would be making a huge mistake. That film is not a very accurate representation of his life.

First and foremost, nobody close to him called him "John" or "Johnny". They called him J.R. which is his actual given name. No, June Carter did not come up with the title to 'I Walk the Line" in an angry retort to a drunk J.R. - he wrote that song for his first wife before he was even invloved with June. I could go on, but I won't because most people who respect him already know these things and others. The film is unfortunately, his youngest child's revisionist views of his parent's courtship and lives. A&E Network in the USA has a wonderful 2 hour Biograppy of Cash that is much more truthful and accurate. Watch that instead and you'll hear from his close family members and fellow musicians. The photos and footage of Cash in his early career are great.

Now that I'm, done ranting about the film, let me say this:

I believe Danks might come to appreciate Cash as a songwriter much more by listening to the Tribute album of covers KINDRED SPIRITS. Some of the covers on that CD truly showcase the melodies he wrote which were often downlpayed on his own recordings. Songs such as "I Still miss Someone" (often recalled as "I'll never forget those blue eyes" here on Mudcat), "Give My love To Rose", "Flesh & Blood" and more. Also as ragged as the performance is, i adore Bob Dylan's version of 'Train of Love" a Cash gem that isn't hauled out very often. Check it out OP.



I'll leave it to Ron to continue to defend Cash's worthiness as an icon. I'm just blathering.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM

I saw the "Highwaymen" On Austin City Limits years ago. It is obvious that there was a lot of mutual respect. Willie, Waylon and Kris all showed a lot of respect for Johnny.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Acme
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:22 PM

I think a lot of posters on this thread show signs of "buying in to the myth" of Johnny Cash.

Danks constructed a straw man and wants to call the shots in the discussion.

The NPR radio program American Routes did a Johnny Cash tribute program last week. (They interviewed Rosanne Cash the week before, also very interesting). Find the archive here.




Get Rhythm: A Tribute to Johnny Cash
It's a two-hour tribute in song and story to the Man in Black. We'll hear from his family, friends and associates on the contradictions--preacher, outlaw, loving family man, rockabilly rebel--that made the man. Voices include Rosanne Cash; son John Carter Cash; sister Joanne Cash Yates; bassist and original member of the Tennessee Two Marshall Grant; guitarist Johnny Western; producer Rick Rubin; writer and critic Michael Streissguth; and of course, Johnny Cash.
April 12-18, 2006
Hour One
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Get Rhythm" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
SEGMENT: Introduction
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Big River" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"Big River" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
---
SEGMENT: Growing Up
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
Johnny Cash
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
"Pickin' Time" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Country Trash" Johnny Cash
Solitary Man (American)
"Five Feet High and Rising" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1959-1962 (Bear Family)
---

SEGMENT: Tennessee Two
Bassist, Marshall Grant
"Wide Open Road" Johnny Cash Man
In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)

Intro Tennessee Two from "I Got Stripes" Johnny Cash
Live Recordings From The Louisiana Hayride (Scene)

"Luther Played the Boogie" Johnny Cash
Legend (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Sun Records
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Johnny Cash
"Hey Porter" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"Cry, Cry, Cry" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)


SEGMENT: "I Walk the Line"
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
"I Walk the Line" Johnny Cash
emcee intro Live Recordings From The Louisiana Hayride (Scene)
"I Walk the Line" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1954-58 (Bear Family)

instrumental: "I Walk The Line"
Red Rhodes & the Roadrunners Dobro Album (Crownstar Records) ---

SEGMENT: Family
Son, John Carter Cash
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Don't Take Your Guns to Town" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"A Satisfied Mind" Johnny Cash
Kill Bill: Vol.2 Original Soundtrack (Maverick)
"Tennessee Flat Top Box" Rosanne Cash      
Hits 1979-1989 (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Faith
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
Son, John Carter Cash
Producer, Rick Rubin
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
"Great Speckled Bird" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
Clip from the Johnny Cash
Franklin Bible Sessions (Franklin)
"By the Side of the Road" John Fahey
Of Rivers and Religion (Warner)
"Daddy Sang Bass" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-83 (Columbia)
---

instrumental: "Ring of Fire" Chas Williams
Ring of Fire (Chas Williams)
---

SEGMENT: Drugs
Johnny Cash
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Ring of Fire" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-83 (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: June Carter Cash
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Son, John Carter Cash
Johnny Cash
"Jackson" Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Wildwood Flower" Carter Family
In The Shadow Of Clinch Mountain (Bear Family)
June Carter introduces Carter Family onstage
Johnny Cash - The Man, His World, His Music (Cherry Red) DVD
"If I Were A Carpenter" Johnny and June Carter Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
---
instrumental: "Minor Tipitina" Allen Toussaint
American Routes original recording

Hour Two
"Ring of Fire" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Columbia)
"Ring of Fire (Spanish version)" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black: The International Johnny Cash (Bear Family)
"Rueda De Fuego" Mingo Saldivar Y Sus Tremendos
Cuatro Espadas (Rounder)
"Dub is My Occupation" King Tubby
Dub Like Dirt (Blood & Fire)
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"Crescent City Blues" Gordon Jenkins
Seven Dreams (Dacca)
---

SEGMENT: Prison
Performer, Merle Haggard
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"I Got Stripes" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"A Boy Named Sue" Johnny Cash
Live at San Quentin (Sony)
"Doing My Time" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash (Sony)
---

SEGMENT: Original Outlaw
Son, John Carter Cash
Guitarist, Johnny Western
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Cocaine Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"The One On The Right Is The One On The Left" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black - 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
"What is Truth" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"The Man in Black" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black: 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
---
instrumental: "Nashville Skyline Rag" Bob Dylan
Nashville Skyline (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Dylan
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"I Still Miss Someone" Johnny Cash
Nashville at Newport (Vanguard)
"It Ain't Me Babe" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black - 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
"I Walk the Line" Bob Dylan
The Dylan/Cash Sessions (Spank)
"Girl From The North Country" Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
Nashville Skyline (Columbia)

SEGMENT: His Career
Clip from film The Night Rider (...And More Bears) DVD
"I Still Miss Someone" Emmylou Harris
Portraits (Reprise)
"Cry, Cry, Cry" Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Almost Blue (Columbia)
"Get Rhythm" Little Richard
Kindred Spirits: A Tribute to the Songs of Johnny Cash (Lucky Dog)
"One Piece at a Time" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Columbia)
---
instrumental: "Delia" Elizabeth Cotten
Shake Sugaree (Smithsonian Folkways)
---

SEGMENT: American Recordings
Johnny Cash
Producer, Rick Rubin
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"I Won't Back Down" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)
"Delia's Gone" Johnny Cash
American Recordings (American)
"Before My Time" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)
"Hurt" Johnny Cash
American IV: The Man Comes Around (American)
---

SEGMENT: Sickness/Death of June
Producer, Rick Rubin
"Flesh and Blood" Johnny Cash
Unearthed (American)
---

SEGMENT: Remembrances
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
Son, John Carter Cash
Bassist, Marshall Grant
"Black Cadillac" Rosanne Cash
Black Cadillac (Capitol)
"Green Green Grass of Home" Allen Shelton
Shelton Special" (Rounder)
"Wayfaring Stranger" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM

I haven't said the man wasn't talented! I did say that I was a big fan and was heavily into him for 5 or 6 years ( I was performing the Johnny Cash songbook in the early 60s. My version of " Tennesee Flattop Box" was very popular -well, my mum liked it, anyway). What I can't reconcile is the status he has recently attained; it seems out of all proportion to his actual talent.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM

I'm sorry you can't understand why he is considered an "icon", but that is the way it is. Many of us can easily see it.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:56 PM

Danks - Let me repeat my earlier post :

I guess I'm concerned about the reason for this thread in the first place Danks. Are you hoping to learn more about Johnny Cash so your current opinion will be changed and you'll understand why many people consider him to be an icon ? Or are you trolling ? This has been a rather volatile website lately so I had to ask. We have a similar thread about the Dubliners running now. What's the point ?

There are a lot of other similar threads we could start like – "Why is Madonna consider an icon ?" or even "Cher sucks". I for one have never understood Richard Thompson's appeal. A lot of folks like him. I don't. It just never occurred to me to start a thread trashing the taste of folks who like Richard Thompson.

No one's asking you to love Johnny Cash. But wouldn't your time be better spent by telling us why you think Merle Haggard is a major talent instead of telling us why we shouldn't like Johnny Cash ? Let me know your thoughts on all of this.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:04 PM

Okay, here's a comparison that will flummox a lot of people, but indulged me for a moment::   

I see unusual similarities between Johnny Cash and opera singer Maria Callas. Maria Callas did not have the greatest singing voice in the world. In fact, her voice sounded kind of "glassy" and, at times, a bit shrill. Not a particularly pleasant sound. But—she was a consummate actress, and although her recordings don't make the most pleasant of listening, she was marvelous to watch on stage. In comedy parts like the Rossini operas, she was funnier than hell, and in Tosca, when she stabs Scarpia, you want help her shove the dagger into him. Very intense. Live audiences loved her.

Johnny Cash was not a particularly versatile singer. He always sang in his lower register, which was warm and resonant, but limited the range of songs he could do. And among other things, a lot of the time his sense of pitch was a bit "iffy." His guitar work was simple and straight. Not a virtuoso by any means. But—he generally chose the songs he did wisely. And his accompaniments were simple and tasty, He could really put his emotions into a song in an intense, restrained sort of way that people could relate with. In addition, there was something very appealing about that somber, craggy face. Along with this, it was well known that he had spent a lot of time on drugs or hitting the bottle, and with the help of his wife, June, he manage to dig himself out of the pit, get sober, and stay sober. This has a lot of appeal. He was a flawed human being and he didn't try to cover it up. Lots of folks could and did identify with him.

Also, he appeared in a movie or two and on several television shows, not as himself (although, at least in an episode of "Columbo," he played gospel singer—spoiler alert! He was the murderer.). He was a pretty good actor.

Icon? If so, the status is well deserved.

Just my opinion.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:11 PM

I have enjoyed Cash since his early days at Sun. To say that he was lacking in talent seems to be a strange claim, when so many would disagree. Of all the country music performers in the history of sound recording, perhaps only Hank Williams Sr. casts a longer shadow. He was distinct in voice and manner, and a great songwriter to boot. He was not my all time favourite (reserved for Hank) but he was high on the list.
I was country when country wasn't cool and even before that. I listen from everyone from Henry Witter to Molly O'Day to Randy Travis, but I don't bother with the newer stuff 'cause it just ain't country.
                     Obie


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:13 PM

I'm repeating myself here - and to no avail! But, I think we are all sometimes amazed at the admiration some artist attract. And with Cash, it's way beyond admiration. If someone had told me in 1966 that I'd walk into my local record shop in 2006, and hear Johnny Cash's Sun recordings blasting out, I would have said they were crazy. Anyway, it's all way over the top - and totally out of proportion. Now, if my local record shop was playing Stan Roger's recordings ...


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:18 PM

your OPINION has been noted. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:20 PM

"Whitter" I can spell; I just can't type! Sorry Henry! :-}


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Richard Brandenburg
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 04:30 PM

As much as for what they do, people become icons because of what they represent, which includes what people project onto them, and this, I think, is what raises the ire of their detractors: iconic status suggests that one ought to be able to identify in some way with the projection. If it's hard to identify, we tend to blame the artist.

Danks, for example, seems to have difficulty in identifying with John Cash, who toward the end of his life was raised to iconic status. But I think it's a mistake to point to just the recordings, and to overlook what he represents to people on other levels beyond his music.

In Cash's case, the current popular interest has very much to do with the dignity with which he faced into his final years; how he matured into an elder in the country music field, surviving for a while the death of his beloved wife, and working right to the end, creating some of his best work. Folks are understandably moved by a life that has that contour, whoever the person is. And June herself, of course, was a Carter, at the root stock of American country music.   

On another level, Cash represents an individuated person, someone who became himself through his work and talent and his admitted, stupid mistakes. Cash was no one but himself in a field that spawns the basest imitators - and people identify with that quality, and want it for themselves. He was also a somewhat unreconstructed man of his time, struggling as a Christian, and seeking redemption by his faith and by the love of his wife; openly readable as ambivalent; and people identify with that as well.

Cash became Cash as the popular media became what it is today: it's possible to never have heard his recordings (which I suspect is true of a number of his detractors) and still have a sense of what Cash represents on the Projection Screen of his fame in the popular imagination. Particularly now, following that movie, it would be foolish to confuse the images you see with the life that got lived in the man.

It seems to me that Mudcatters are especially proud of their abilities to see through contemporary hype systems; this would be a good subject to be thoughtful toward. People feel Cash, for one reason or another. He is an icon to the extent that folks project their archetypes onto him.

The "Cash" that Danks writes about in his opening is exactly the distillation of the current media gloss; but for that very mechanism Cash exists as an archetype, like it or not.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 05:31 PM

GUEST,Richard Brandenburg, well said!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM

Hey Danks........Waylon built a new home a couple of doors down from the Cash place. I know this because I lived about 8 houses in the other direstion back then (we had the driveway where the tour buses turned around...Got paid for that!!!). Just a sidenote.....'cause neither one of them talked to me!

Icons are funny things and it has as much to do with their life as their talent. And the whole thing is very subjective as others have noted. All else being equal, there is simply no accounting for an individual's opinion......and we all got one.

It is often harder for me to understand why someone isn't an icon rather than why some are. Some seem destined for that status from the gitgo and others, no matter how great, will never have it. To take it completely away from music, Dale Earnhardt is perhaps now even more than a racing icon, but he certainly is that. And as good as his record was, even before his death you KNEW he would be an icon. By the same token, an equally great and perhaps even a better racer, Jeff Gordon, will NEVER achieve that status.

Try to just see that it is far beyond the individuals and something quite undefinable that makes icons.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM

Johnnie Cash stood apart from all the other "hog leg jive" pickers. He was different. Limited, yes not always on key, yes, but when he sang you knew who it was in an instant, and not just because he introduced himself.
He was one of a kind, and I liked what he did. Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:40 PM

I've never liked any mainstream country performers except Hank williams. That includes Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and any others who may fall into the "been-doin'-it-so-long-they're-cool" crowd. I thought they sucked in 1970 and I haven't changed my mind since then. Granted, they're more genuine than most of the current young country crowd, but so what? I'll take any good bluegrass, old-time or Irish band over any of 'em.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM

I worked at Heathrow Airport checking passports for several years in the 1970's, and of all the many celebs I remember for different reasons, the only two who literally brought the place to a standstill were Jack Nicholson (dressed all in white) and Johnny Cash (dressed all in....I think you know).

Now THAT'S why he was an icon........


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:27 AM

You write a song like I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison, or I Still Miss Someone.

Then you can question whatever status he put together in his life. As far as I can see he was one the greats. He deserves our respect.

As for 'he couldn't sing' - well if singing is just the number of notes you can hit, Johhny wouldn't win your nomination.

But he could interpret a song like Olivier could read Shakespeare.

Anyway I refuse to bandy words with someone whose name is rhymming slang for self molestation.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Flash Company
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM

Saw Johnny at Kings Hall in Manchester(UK) in about 1972. He sang a song I'd never heard him do before as a request for a lady in a wheelchair. Turned out that he never had done it before, but that's what she wanted to hear, so that's what he sang.
He didn't quite get the words right in places and the guitar was a bit basic, but so what. Thats Icon as far as I'm concerned!

FC


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Acme
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:20 AM

Singing in tune is sometimes over-rated. :)

That voice could send shivers down your spine. It hit a visceral mark. Include that as part of the delivery when you're trying to tease out the details in what makes an "icon."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 01:08 PM

Excellent comments, particularly from Richard Brandenburg and "Spaw(who, to the consternation of some, has become a Mudcat icon)--

An icon is an image--it isn't about singing or playing the guitar, or even writing--it is about the impression that a person creates, and the impact of that impression--

Johnny Cash projected dignity and moral authority , and he communicated it across social and cultural boundaries that nobody else could or can bridge.

Til Johnny Cash came along, country music artist were percieved as being either hicks and hayseeds with funny hats and exagerated drawls or Hollywood Cowboys--his persona was "The Complete Man", who struggled, who suffered, and who prevailed.

When you hear his name, you see him in your mind as "The Man in Black. That's why he's an icon--


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 03:16 PM

"Image is everything" - or so someone once said, and in Johnny Cash's case they were close to the mark. Take, for example, the San Quentin Prison episode. I'm sure most would agree that his performance there is one of the highlights of his career and it was a big step in his move to becoming an icon. But why? He performs to a bunch of prisoners - god only knows what crimes they were guilty of, and, of course, he takes their side! When he sings the line, " I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die", he receives a very loud cheer from the inmates. Now what's that all about? Of course, it was Johnny's unsavoury manipulation of the event. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly the response he would receive. Stangely, no poster has mentioned the obvious Merle Haggard/Johnny Cash connection. It appears that Merle was in San Quentin ( as a prisoner) when Johnny appeared there and Johnny inspired him to try his hand at singing when he got out. But, I bet Merle was thinking, " If this guy is making a nice living doing what he's doing, and I could do better standing on my head, then I'm going for it when I get out".


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM

Sounds like a chihuahua yapping at a lion.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:17 PM

According to someone in the documentary that a poster mentioned earlier, that big whoop after "just to see him die" was added after the fact through studio magic ...


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM

another DANKS underhanded putdown of Johnny Cash

I bet Merle was thinking, " If this guy is making a nice living doing what he's doing, and I could do better standing on my head, then I'm going for it when I get out".


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM

Danks, Haggard was at San Quentin in 1958 when Cash appeared there. The LP that came out eleven later of a 1969 appearance ath prison documented something that Cash was doing his entire career -performing for prisoners. He did not excuse them of their crimes but acknowledged them as human beings. He also saw the path to redemption.

Your opinion of Haggard's thoughts about Cash do not seem to have any basis in reality. The evidence is that they were good friends and respected each other. Cash wrote liner notes to one of Haggard's albums and had him on this TV show.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM

Hey Danks,

Give it up...you'll never win. If you disagree with the in-group here then you are nothing but a troll trying to cause trouble. In the land of the Mudcat you have no right to have your own opinion. You either agree or you are a troublemaker.

I thought that only Guests were problem causers here (other then Martin Gibson and Shambles). Supposedly, if you tokk on a false name you could say what you wanted to whether it was politicly correct or not. Danks has a name and said what he believes. Just because some of you don't agree with him doesn't make him a troll and is no reason why anyone should challenge his motives. He has a right to his opinion whether the Mudcat in-group agrees to it or not. No need to berate him for it.

This is a good reason for a Guest to remain a Guest. Why subject oneself to Mudcat abuse?

For the record, I think Johnny Cash is one of the greats. Danks certainly has a right to his opinion though. Different strokes for different folks. I can't understand why some other performers are considered greats. That doesn't make me wrong. It's a matter of what I like and don't like.


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