Hello, I’m Johnny Cash

I’d always thought that Sun Records and Sam Philips himself had created the most crucial, uplifting and powerful records ever made.  Next to Sam’s records, all the rest sounded fruity.  On Sun Records the artists were singing for their lives and sounded like they were coming from the most mysterious place on the planet.  No justice for them.  They were so strong, can send you up a wall.  If you were walking away and looked back at them, you could be turned into stone.  Johnny Cash’s records were no exception, but they weren’t what you expected.  Johnny didn’t have a piercing yell, but ten thousand years of culture fell from him.  He could have been a cave dweller.  He sounds like he’s at the edge of the fire, or in the deep snow, or in a ghostly forest, the coolness of conscious obvious strength, full tilt and vibrant with danger.  "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine."  Indeed.  I must have recited those lines to myself a million times.  Johnny’s voice was so big, it made the world grow small, unusually low pitched – dark and booming, and he had the right band to match him, the rippling rhythm and cadence of click-clack.  Words that were the rule of law and backed by the power of God.

That is from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, volume I.  And I am picking the film to win Best Picture this year, whether or not it deserves it.


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