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Johnny Cash: The great storyteller

Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:23 am

One of the great things in the performances of Johnny Cash on both record and on stage was his ability to tell a story through song. Here are two very different performances showing him do just that. First off, he sings Kris Kristofferson's song "Here Comes That Rainbow Again", and manages to take what could have been a syrupy confection and turn it into an affecting story of smalltown life.

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And a Ride This Train section from his TV series, featuring the songs As Long As The Grass Shall Grow, and The Ballad of Ira Hayes. Great stuff.

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It's a pity that sony never added another volume to their love/god/murder/life series of Cash compilations, for "storyteller" would have been a a fine addition I think.

Re: Johnny Cash: The great storyteller

Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:04 pm

Cash was certainly a fine storyteller, and this was a talent and ability of his that remained sound and developed all through his career until those final recordings with Rick Rubin. From years before, however, his Ride This Train album has always been a favourite of mine -- the songs and mood offering a descriptive and vivid journey on an LP best listened to as a whole; although, such is certainly true of the best and most cohesive concept albums.

Re: Johnny Cash: The great storyteller

Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:00 pm

greystoke wrote:Cash was certainly a fine storyteller, and this was a talent and ability of his that remained sound and developed all through his career until those final recordings with Rick Rubin. From years before, however, his Ride This Train album has always been a favourite of mine -- the songs and mood offering a descriptive and vivid journey on an LP best listened to as a whole; although, such is certainly true of the best and most cohesive concept albums.


Yes, it is a great album. I also have a soft spot for a generally forgotton Cash album called The Rambler (which was issued on a Bear Family boxed set with Ride This Train). Even on mediocre material, Cash was able to make it come alive - as was the case on some of his early 80s albums too, like The Baron etc.