The Man In Black
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By etrigan - Last updated: Friday, September 12, 2003 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

I have been a fan of Johnny Cash since I was old enough to put my dad’s 8-track tape of “Orange Blossom Special”: in the player. I remember it was encased in orange plastic. It’s not a subtle way to get a toddler’s attention merging the color and the word and backing it up with some of the best coutry music of all time.

I always listened to the Man In Black, but in 1998 I became enamored with the music of a travelling musician who did an excellent cover of Folsom Prison Blues. “Ed Hamell”: plays the first line of the song and brings the show to a dead stop. He does a spoken word piece about the power of this song on Johnny Cash’s live album. I can’t reproduce Ed’s schtick, but close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you are Johnny Cash, it’s the peak of your career (financially and musically speaking) and you’ve convinced your band to play live at a prison. In front of about 2000 mostly petty criminals you sing “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die” and the entire place goes wild.

Needless to say, Ed had me out buying “Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison”: the next day.

p.s. It’s especially interesting to note that Live at Folsom was released about the same time as “John Wesley Harding”: from Bob Dylan. 1968 was a great year for music.

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2 Responses to “The Man In Black”

Comment from KellyMc
Time September 12, 2003 at 9:14 am

Oddly, just last night Ray and I got ambushed by Karaoke night at the bar we were sitting in and were discussing the idea of requesting Folsom Prison Blues, but just doing a spoken word thing as the music played, like working the crowd of college students with a story of what life is like on the inside.

Then a skinny white guy did The Humpty Dance from memory and with feeling.

Comment from BT
Time September 12, 2003 at 11:00 am

Oddly, I have my own just last night story about the Man in Black. After work, I decided to catch a show (Those Who Dig, for those of you who dig Those Who Dig), and it ended up being a little to bubble gum for my taste.

On the way, home, I pulled out a Johnny Cash CD and was treated to the following line from his take on Revelations:

“There’s a Man going round taking names.
He decides who to free and who to blame.
Everybody won’t be treated all the same.
There’ll be a golden ladder coming down,
When the Man comes around.”

Here’s to you Johnny, and here’s hoping that the Man has your name on his scroll.

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