Monday, September 12, 2011

RIP Johnny Cash on 8th year anniversary of his death

Here's what real, socially conscious Christian music sounds like. If a Christian band never sings about the poor and downtrodden, the miserable rich and the negligent materialists, the corrupt power structures and misguided patriotism, it's not a spiritual band. 

Jesus himself didn't just praise and worship God with his hands flapping around in the air. He got up and helped people, fed the poor, healed the sick, and condemned the religious leaders and oppressors.

"On this day in 2003, Johnny Cash, American singer/songwriter, died of respiratory failure at the age of 71. He traditionally started his concerts by saying, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

I can’t think of anyone apart from Elvis who has had such an influence and hold on musical culture for over 40 years, the singer became an imposing and influential figure. Johnny Cash didn't sound like county music from Nashville, nor did he sound like a rock and roll singer. He created his own sub-genre, halfway between folk, rock and roll, and the world-weariness of country.....

He is the only person to be inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame AND The Songwriter's Hall of Fame. The image of the Man In Black is as deeply American as the stars and stripes themselves."

-- Neil Cossar, The Morton Report "Johnny Cash: He Walked the Line"

Johnny Cash - "Man In Black"

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.


Johnny Cash 
video on YouTube.

1 comment:

Celeste Tara Gita said...

Thank you for this great tribute to Johnny Cash. Some of my first musical memories are of Johnny, "A Boy Named Sue". I was really into the punk music scene as a young teen in the early '80's, but always saw Johnny Cash as the apex of that pyramid. He personified all that I was rebelling against politically and socially. Having his songs as an early musical foundation in my experience kept me well rounded and appreciative of the value of what music and musicians have had to say from multiple genre's. To me Johnny Cash is the real King, (sorry, Elvis).