This session was everything that record club should be. Bill and Tom brought the records, Matt brought insight, a guitar and the first ever live performance to record club. And everyone listened, giving their undivided attention to two incredible albums. A very special night. “The power of music in action” as Terry commented on Twitter.
So, to the music…
In a recording career that spanned almost 50 years and with almost 100 albums to choose from (that excludes compilations), I don’t think any of us quite anticipated the emotional impact of hearing back-to-back the first and last albums Johnny Cash released in his lifetime would have.
Those bookends of The Man In Black’s musical life have become his most well-known, probably thanks to the combined success of both the biopic ‘Walk The Line’ (released in 2005) and the series of American Recordings albums released between 1994 and 2002. Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar (from 1957) was not only Cash’s first album, but also the first album released on Sun Records, and was essentially a collection of his recordings for the label to date (Sun would continue to compile and reissue their Cash recordings for many years to come). American IV: The Man Comes Around, released in November 2002, found Cash revisiting songs he’d originally recorded in the 1960s and 70s alongside a mix of standards, classics and contemporary songs.
Both albums sounded full and powerful – the ‘boom-chicka-boom’ of the Sun recordings contrasting with the sparse atmospherics of American IV. The one constant being Cash’s voice, commanding attention throughout, and as Matt said “communicating directly so you can hear every word”.
We also had time to spin a few favourites from the big box of Johnny Cash records kindly brought along by Bill including a bootleg of a recording session with Bob Dylan (if you were listening carefully you’ll have heard Bob yodelling, much to the amusement of JC), Brett had an LP ready and waiting, and Tom got to share the hard-to-find single ‘The Chicken In Black‘.
A big ‘thank you’ to Bill, Tom and Matt for the music (and to Brett for his contribution) and thanks to everyone who came along and listened. Here are a few comments posted after the session:
My 1st record club night and what a night it was – Johny Cash’ Last – special and emotionally moving.
Silent, solemn, reverential, electric. Johnny Cash singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
Hairs standing up on the back of your neck stuff. The power of music in action.
We’ll be back on Thursday 11th June for JUMP JAMAICA WAY – a voyage through Jamaica’s golden age of music with Rick Williams. See you there.
Cash Connections (part 1) – a mix of songs covered by Johnny Cash and covers of songs he made famous
Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
Eric Burdon & The Animals – Ring Of Fire
Beck – Rowboat
U2 & Johnny Cash – The Wanderer
Roy Hogsed – Cocaine Blues
Rolling Stones – No Expectations
Nick Lowe – The Beast In Me
Shel Silverstein – 25 Minutes To Go
Lefty Frizzell – The Long Black Veil
Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
Bob Marley – Redemption Song
Bruce Springsteen – Johnny 99
Kris Kristofferson – Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash – With His Hot And Blue Guitar (Sun Records, 1957)
SIDE ONE: The Rock Island Line/I Heard That Lonesome Whistle/Country Boy/If The Good Lord’s Willing/Cry, Cry, Cry/Remember Me
SIDE TWO: So Doggone Lonesome/I Was There When It Happened/I Walk The Line/The Wreck Of Old ’97/Folsom Prison Blues/Doin’ My Time
Quiet Loner (live in the labour club): Let The Train Blow The Whistle/Folsom Prison Blues
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – The Dylan Cash Session (bootleg LP)
SIDE TWO: That’s Alright Mama/I Walk The Line/You Are My Sunshine/Ring Of Fire/Guess Things Happen That Way/”T” For Texas
Johnny Cash – The Chicken In Black (CBS, single, 1984)
Johnny Cash – American IV; The Man Comes Around (American Recordings, 2002. 2014 reissue)
SIDE ONE: The Man Comes Around/Hurt/Give My Love To Rose
SIDE TWO: Bridge Over Troubled Water/I Hung My Head/First Time I Ever Saw Your Face/Personal Jesus
SIDE THREE: In My Life/Sam Hall/Danny Boy/Desperado
SIDE FOUR: I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry/Tear Stained Letter/Streets Of Laredo/We’ll Meet Again
Ballad Of A Teenage Queen (from ‘Ballad Of A Teenage Queen’, Hallmark Records)
The Troubadour (from ‘The Fabulous Johnny Cash’, CBS, 1958)
Tennessee Flat-Top Box (from ‘Old Golden Throat’, CBS, 1968)
Out Among The Stars (from ‘Out Among The Stars’, Columbia, 2014)
Pick A Bale Of Cotton (from ‘Forty Shades Of Green’ EP, CBS, 1963)
Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (CBS, 1967)
SIDE TWO: Ring Of Fire/It Aint Me, Babe/The Ballad Of Ira Hayes/The Rebel – Johnny Yuma/Five Feet High And Rising/Don’t Take Your Guns To Town
Cash Connections (part 2)
Bob Dylan – It Ain’t Me Babe
Hank Williams – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Hamell On Trial – Folsom Prison Blues (live)
Elvis Costello – The Big Light
Lonnie Donegan – Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Bonnie Prince Billie – I See A Darkness
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Mercy Seat
John D. Loudermilk – Bad News
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