A Johnny Cash treat coming your way…

Johnny Cash

Picture by Martyn Atkins, Los Angeles, 2002

Johnny Cash died in 2003, and his final six albums, known as the American Recordings are being reissued on vinyl on May 11. I’m proud (smug) that I already own all of these on vinyl anyway, but if you don’t, then you need to get your hands on this. The Vinyl Box Set comprises: American Recordings, American Recordings II: Unchained, American Recordings III: Solitary Man, American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around, American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways and American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave. The albums were originally released between 1994 and 2010.

Undoubtedly the most famous song from this period is his masterly reworking of Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt.’ NiN’s Trent Reznor has accepted that the song belongs to Cash now, and Bono called this the greatest video ever. He may be pretty close to being right.

The tracklistings for the albums, featuring some of the greatest songs of the last century is as follows:

American Recordings

Side 1

1. Delia’s Gone [02:18]
2. Let The Train Blow The Whistle [02:16]
3. The Beast In Me [02:46]
4. Drive On [02:24]
5. Why Me Lord [02:21]
6. Thirteen [02:30]
7. Oh, Bury Me Not
8. (Introduction: A Cowboy’s Prayer) [03:53]

Side 2

1. Bird On A Wire [04:02]
2. Tennessee Stud [02:55]
3. Down There By The Train [05:35]
4. Redemption [03:04]
5. Like A Soldier [02:50]
6. The Man Who Couldn’t Cry [05:01]

American II: Unchained

Side 1

1. Rowboat [03:43]
2. Sea Of Heartbreak [02:43]
3. Rusty Cage [02:48]
4. The One Rose (That’s Left In My Heart) [02:26]
5. Country Boy [02:31]
6. Memories Are Made Of This [02:19]
7. Spiritual [05:07]

Side 2

1. The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea [02:31]
2. Southern Accents [04:41]
3. Mean Eyed Cat [02:33]
4. Meet Me In Heaven [03:22]
5. I Never Picked Cotton [02:39]
6. Unchained [02:52]
7. I’ve Been Everywhere [03:17]

American III: Solitary Man

Side 1

1. I Won’t Back Down [02:08]
2. Solitary Man [02:24]
3. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) [02:34]
4. One [03:52]
5. Nobody [03:13]
6. I See A Darkness [03:42]
7. The Mercy Seat [04:34]

Side 2

1. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone) [02:40]
2. Field Of Diamonds [03:15]
3. Before My Time [02:54]
4. Country Trash [01:47]
5. Mary Of The Wild Moor [02:31]
6. I’m Leavin’ Now [03:06]
7. Wayfaring Stranger [03:20]

American IV: The Man Comes Around [2LP]

Side 1

1. The Man Comes Around [04:26]
2. Hurt [03:36]
3. Give My Love To Rose [03:27]

Side 2

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water [03:54]
2. I Hung My Head [03:53]
3. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face [03:52]
4. Personal Jesus [03:19]

Side 3

1. In My Life [02:57]
2. Sam Hall [02:39]
3. Danny Boy [03:18]
4. Desperado [03:12]

Side 4

1. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry [03:02]
2. Tear Stained Letter [03:39]
3. Streets Of Laredo [03:33]
4. We’ll Meet Again [02:58]

American V: A Hundred Highways

Side 1

1. Help Me [02:51]
2. God’s Gonna Cut You Down [02:38]
3. Like The 309 [04:34]
4. If You Could Read My Mind [04:29]
5. Further On Up The Road [03:25]
6. On The Evening Train [04:17]

Side 2

1. I Came To Believe [03:45]
2. Love’s Been Good To Me [03:18]
3. A Legend In My Time [02:37]
4. Rose Of My Heart [03:18]
5. Four Strong Winds [04:34]
6. I’m Free From The Chain Gang Now [03:00]

American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave

1. Ain’t No Grave [02:53]
2. Redemption Day [04:22]
3. For The Good Times [03:21]
4. I Corinthians 15:55 [03:37]
5. Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound [03:26]

Side 2

1. Satisfied Mind [02:48]
2. I Don’t Hurt Anymore [02:45]
3. Cool Water [02:53]
4. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream [03:14]
5. Aloha Oe [02:59]

Sad songs say so much…2

Haven’t posted much here this week. It’s been kinda busy, and isn’t showing sign of letting up. How the heck did Tony Wilson manage to run a label and work in TV? No marking, I suppose.

Anyway, some songs for a cold winter’s day…

Johnny Cash -‘Hurt.’ (No there’s nothing wrong with me, just something in my eye…)

afterword: Johnny Cash’s wife June Carter Cash, seen here in the video, died shortly before him in 2003. Someone said that ‘she’d gone to get the house ready for him.’ I’m sure some would criticise that statement as sexism, but to me it makes my eyes almost as misty as watching the video.

The Cure -‘Charlotte Sometimes.’

Who would have thought a pop video could be so sad and creepy? I remember watching that video with my dad and the hairs on his arm literally standing on end. Also worth reading Penelope Farmer’s book Charlotte Sometimes which inspired the song. Charlotte Sometimes is my favourite song by my favourite ever band, and second only to this…

Joy Division -‘Atmosphere.’

My favourite ever song. Apparently the surviving members of the band hated this video but I love it. The bit when the synths ocme in sounds like the sound water would make if you could tape it forming on water (actually, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Martin Hannett would have recorded). The bit where this is played in 24 Hour Party People is a misty-eyed moment as well…

David Bowie -‘Life On Mars?’

For many years, this was my favourite song and it’s still up there as one of my favourites. I’m sure I heard Flaming Lips do a cover of that on John Peel’s show in about 1993. If anyone can help, please let me know…

Billie Holiday -‘Strange Fruit.’

I was amazed but delighted to find footage for Strange Fruit. It’s a beautiful but harrowing song. Covered by many people including Robert Wyatt, Tori Amos, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and also by Nina Simone, who had to give up performing it as everytime she did, she broke down. There’s ingenious (IMHO) use of this in Ae Fond Kiss, a film that looks at sectarianism in Glasgow in the twenty-first century.

So…I’ll finish with a clip of Nina Simone, talking about how important it is to her as an artist to reflect the times. I found myself thinking it was a shame she hadn’t lived to see Barack Obama elected to be President of the US, but there’s millions of Americans who would have loved to have seen that.

Some Covers For Friday

Now that I have finally got the hang of how to get stuff from CD converted into mp3 (like everything; easy WHEN you know how!), I thought I would delve through my CD singles (I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of any more, even though I don’t play them very often) and post some covers. In the world of the mp3 blogs it seems that people often stick covers up on the weekend. Well, no time like the present.

Please note: all the singles I refer to here are the UK releases. If iTunes cannot help you, try ebay

This track was originally on the ‘Carnival’ single in 1995. Whilst some of their later releases could be rockier, does anyone else think The Cardigans sounded quite ‘twee’ circa the Life album? Check that name for starters. Though not many twee indiepop bands tended to cover Ozzy Osbourne. As far as I know.

Cardigans – ‘Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne cover).’ mp3

This track was originally recorded for the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan (ouch!), and also turned up on the CD single to ‘Drive’ in 1992.

REM -‘First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen cover).’ mp3

This track was on the ‘Kowalski’ single in 1997, a cover of the track from the Clash’s Combat Rock album.

Primal Scream -‘Know Your Rights (Clash cover).’ mp3

I cannot say I was ever a huge Robert Palmer fan, and the album this song originally was on, Clues, did little to alter that. This track, though, is a classic and was used for numerous years to advertise Vauxhall cars in the UK (Opel to any any European readers). Placebo’s cover appeared on one of the CD singles of ‘Taste In Men.’

Placebo -‘Johnny And Mary (Robert Palmer cover).’ mp3

John Lennon’s anti-war activities unnerved Richard Nixon. Rather like upsetting the Daily Mail (a UK newspaper that is just poison on paper and reminds you of the downsides of free speech) this is probably A GOOD THING. This cover, by Mercury Rev, appeared on the re-issue of ‘Goddess on A Hiway’ in 1999.

Mercury Rev-‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

I was really tempted to post Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt,’ because it is so good, but then it occured to me that the song has been posted a hell of a lot. So, why not post his cover of Glen Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman,’ which was recorded for American IV: The Man Comes Around, but is only on the vinyl version of the album and the ‘Hurt/Personal Jesus’ CD single.

Johnny Cash -‘Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell cover).’ mp3

Gang Of Four’s Entertainment! has really come back into vogue with all those bands showing ‘post-punk’ influences. Apparently not a single, but this was covered by Idlewild on their ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ single.

Idlewild -‘I Found That Essence Rare (Gang Of Four cover).’ mp3

Michael Jackson, whatever the problems he has had (and I really can’t be bothered to go into it all here), has been responsible for some fantastic music. Ian Brown is a man who knows this, and told us via his ‘Dolphins Were Monkeys’ single.

Ian Brown -‘Dolphins Were Monkeys (Michael Jackson cover).’ mp3

One of my claims to fame is that in 1991, I was in the audience at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party when Philip Schofield took the mick out of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine for their name – and guitarist Fruitbat decked him. On Live Television. Considering what a ‘family-orientated’ show it was (Salt ‘n’ Pepa couldn’t perform
‘ Let’s Talk About Sex’ because it mentioned sex, and performed a far inferior tune instead), Carter were performing ‘After The Watershed,’ which dealt with the issue of child abuse. The single contained their cover of the Inspiral Carpets ‘This Is How It Feels’, and my brother and I have always felt it superior. My brother recently got the chance to meet Jim Bob, the other Carter guy, who is by all accounts, a thoroughly decent bloke.

Carter USM -‘This Is How It Feels (Inspiral Carpets cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub. A legendary Scottish band who covered a Bevis Frond song and according to Nick Salmond of the Frond, earned him more money than anything else. BMX Bandits. A legendary Scottish band who covered a Teenage Fanclub song which featured a Kylie lookalike in the video. Singer Duglas T. Stewart once (*allegedly) tried to copy the K Foundation by burning all the profits from his career on the radio. Predictably, the 50p piece failed to catch alight.

BMX Bandits -‘Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us (Teenage Fanclub cover).’ mp3

OK, you should know the drill by now. These covers will be up here for one week only. If you like them, support the artists involved, and with covers, make sure you also investigate the original if you haven’t already.

Have a good one, Ed x