Friday, November 18, 2005

Man In Black

I wanted to remind people that the Johnny Cash Movie is coming out Today and being that I'm the nut who believes that we will one day look at Johnny Cash as a more influential musical icon than Elvis, I thought I'd share a word or two about why I believe his importance is so vital today.

I listened to Johnny Cash's music because my Dad did. He had a lot of his records from the 50's and 60's and it was a great father-son moment whenever he would put a record on the player.

Unlike many of childhood's fascinations that lose vibrancy when reviewed through the eyes of adolescence, Johnny seemed to adapt his work to my age. The sweet bitter gospel songs and the melancholy ballads seemed to make way for the cocaine violence and the blood filled story songs.

Of course some of the songs were the same, it was just my references that changed their meaning and uncovered their other layers. Johnny Cash was a complex man and a lesson to all performers in the true possibilities in being yourself, in selling yourself and in only marketing yourself as "yourself." I truly don't know any musician, in any genre of music from Rap to Folk to Pop to Punk who doesn't get something from Mr. Cash. As Chuck D said "there will always be a place for 'true rebels' like Johnny Cash."

I don't know if this movie is any good or not, I just think its great that we all get to think about him and people like him who come from poverty and little education and yet see the world as it is, without clinging to petty bias or ethnic hatred. In a time when so much of our direction is lost, and I say this not to liberals or libertarians or greens or moderates or conservatives or any group, because I have friends in each group and I myself don't have a clue what I am, I think its nice to look to people like Johnny Cash, listen to his music and hope that the Human race pops out a few more of them before we are through. I know, I'm a sentimental putz.. Cheers!

Man In Black
by Johnny Cash

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.

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