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Tag: Johnny Cash

Joni Mitchell sings California

Thursday, 7 March, 2019

The year was 1969, the date 7 June, and the occasion was the first season of The Johnny Cash show. His guests were the Louisiana fiddle player Doug Kershaw and the singers Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, who played the dulcimer and sang California.

“I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue, the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home.”


The ‘peakiness’ of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018 0 Comments

Set in Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I, Peaky Blinders is a crime drama based upon the exploits of Tommy Shelby, “a crime boss set on moving up in the world no matter the cost.” The Season 4 soundtrack features the original score and songs by the likes of Foals, Johnny Cash and Savages. The standout track, however, is Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall by Laura Marling.

On 22 September 1962, Bob Dylan performed A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall for the first time. Now, in 2018, the song’s power is as great as ever. These words never fail to encourage:

“And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it”


Merle Haggard

Thursday, 7 April, 2016 1 Comment

The fiercely independent country music singer Merle Haggard died yesterday in California, surrounded by friends and family. He was 79 and yesterday was his birthday. When he was 21, Haggard was sent to San Quentin State Prison following a burglary attempt. While imprisoned, he saw Johnny Cash perform for the inmates and upon his release in 1960 he determined to turn his life around, which he did.

“Now, as far as my body development, I’m two different people. My right side is more developed than my left side. That’s an occupational hazard. My chiropractor said to me, ‘You look like you had a hard life. Like you lifted lots.’ Well, no, but I have played the fiddle some. Hell, if a fella could get good dope anymore, he’d learn to play the fiddle left-handed and build up the other one-half of his body.”

Ornery by Bryan diSalvatore, The New Yorker, 12 February 1990

Merle Haggard


The stars come out with Chris Stapleton

Saturday, 19 March, 2016 0 Comments

Brief bio: Chris Stapleton is a 38-year-old Kentucky singer-songwriter who has written a series of chart-topping hits for other artists — Adele recorded If It Hadn’t Been for Love — and is married to fellow country singer Morgane Hayes. His debut solo album, Traveller, was an instant hit and his musical alliance with Justin Timberlake has spread his fame far beyond Nashville. The voice contains the souls of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and the songs are filled with the longing and loss that hallmarked the work of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

“Everybody’s got a friend of a friend
Somebody that can get you in
Begging angels for a sin
In a game that we’re all playing
You and I, we’re gamblers holding cards that we can’t see
And I’m betting on you, you’re betting on me.”


The Morning Becomes Spiritual with Spain

Saturday, 8 March, 2014 0 Comments

Back in 1993 in Los Angeles, Josh Haden formed a band and called it Spain. Their debut album, The Blue Moods of Spain, was released in 1995, and from it, their song Spiritual was covered by Johnny Cash on his Unchained album. Talking of things spiritual, Out Among the Stars, a posthumous studio album from Johnny Cash, will be released on March 25.

The Morning Becomes Eclectic Session, a set of seven Spain classics, was recorded live at KCRW radio station in Santa Monica, California, and from it, here is Spiritual.