The Soul of Johnny Cash
Via DBM, I note the forthcoming release of the fourth album in the Johnny Cash “bootleg” series. This one is Bootleg IV: The Soul of Truth. DBM has the skinny.
Since the Cash biopic, every time I hear Cash do gospel I always think of a young Cash in the film trying to sell himself and his sound to the Sam Phillips character with a cover of the old gospel standard, “I Was There When It Happened.” The Phillips character hears it and says something that, if I recall half rightly, amounts to: I don’t believe you when you sing that. I’m not sure that view is entirely fair to Cash. At least, it’s not exactly that I don’t believe him when he sings gospel or “soul” or whatever. It’s just that it’s clear that this stuff came much less naturally to him than, and plunged him into a kind of expressive self-consciousness that scattered the blunt force of his hammer-head rockabilly style. It was like he was trying to be good Johnny in church, to mask all evidence of the guy who (wrote that he) killed a man in Reno just to watch him die. I wouldn’t necessarily wanna hang out with a guy who sang songs about wishing he were a convicted killer, but that music is by far the more interesting and insightful of his work. Leave “Peace in the Valley” to the peacemakers, I say.Email this Post