Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gangsta Music

I downloaded Johnny Cash's "Man Comes Around" album from Amazon on Monday and by today, I'm convinced that the Man in Black was one of the greatest voices in all of recorded musical history and that one of my regrets in life is not going to see him in concert before he died in 2003.  I got the entire album because of several remakes that I like including Desperado (Eagles), In My Life (Beatles) and Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode).  That's right a man who became famous for country music doing Depeche Mode, for crying out loud and his rendition is absolutely stunning!  While I've known about his older classics for a while, I didn't really become a fan until the release of American Recordings in 1994.  But the more I think of it, Johnny Cash is really gangsta music.  Every other song has someone getting shot or killed including this one song when he sings about borrowing his brother's rifle and shooting a plains rider just for the hell of it.  He also once sang about shooting a man in Reno in Folsom Prison Blues or shooting a woman, Delia who he would have had for his wife if he didn't kill her.  The violence is definitely there.  However, the repentance is there as well as he sings an awful lot about meeting his creator, judgment day and in more than several occassions, having personal conversations with his god.  So it's part gangsta, part gospel music.  Which is why I think Johnny Cash defies classification.  Which is why I think my 11-year old son listens to him.  His voice is like no other and I know his songs will be with us for generations to come.

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