Johnny Cash and June Carter, Jackson

Dad would have been 74 today. Johnny Cash was one of his favorite singers, by himself and with others. I picked this one to play for him today because both June and Johnny are in such fine form, clearly enjoying themselves and the song. Happy Birthday, Daddy. Miss you.

Johnny Cash and June Carter - "Jackson"

Covers of Note: I Walk The Line, Scott McFarnon

I Walk the Line is Scott McFarnon‘s interpretation of Johnny Cash’s classic tune and it is, in all seriousness, breathtaking – in a good way. He’s stripped it down and rebuilt into something quiet and melancholy; the eyes that are wide open all the time gaze upon the line in a state of mournful, almost wistful introspection rather than paranoid, hypervigilant bravado.

In the video below, McFarnon uses London’s newest park/art experiment, also called The Line, to illustrate his vibe, and it is beautiful.

'I Walk The Line' – Scott McFarnon

Friday Link Session


Bits: Conrad Plymouth, Infantree, Megafaun, Folgers, Wu-Ta

  • Conrad Plymouth’s beautiful EP is available on 10″ clear vinyl. Get it.
  • Another gorgeous song from Infantree, “Slaughterhouse”, is available for free download.
  • Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull will be joined by guest Justin Vernon and Sharon Van Etten for a series of shows, taking place September 17-19, that will cover songs from Alan Lomax’s Sounds of the South collection. The shows will be recorded for a future live album release.
  • If your life has heretofore been incomplete due to a lack of Johnny Cash singing to you about coffee from your phone, be ready to experience nirvana. Folgers has posted a series of free ringtones of their jingle performed by Cash, Aaron Neville and Michael McDonald, among others. I can’t make it all the way through the Michael McDonald one for fear of suffocating from laughter.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan are in the middle of the Rock the Bells tour, during which they are performing 36 Chambers in its entirety. Check out the Clan turning out “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man”.


Rebirth of the Cool: Ring of Fire


It’s a story known far and wide by now, how June Carter, the clown princess of American music royalty the Carter family, and Johnny Cash, who would eventually become known as the Man in Black, fell in love while married to other people. The first fruit of that relationship, as far as the music world is concerned anyway, was the classic song “Ring of Fire”.

The song was written by June with Merle Kilgore (who was also friends with Hank Williams, Sr., and his family) and given to June’s sister Anita to record.



But, of course, it was in Cash’s hands that the song came to life, perhaps due to the personal insight Cash had into the song.



“Ring of Fire” has become a favorite to cover, and, indeed, Wikipedia lists over 60 cover versions. The artists who have gone down in the burning ring range from Kitty Wells to Grace Jones to Bob Dylan to Blondie. I once had a small but substantial collection of Ring covers on mp3, and my favorite remains the heavily-synthed and characteristically idiosyncratic version by Stan Ridgway and Wall of Voodoo.



Bonus: Ridgway, in this 1982 television performance, Dean Martin-ing it up.

Johnny Cash would have been 78 years old today.