Thursday Open Thread | Country Music | Johnny Cash Week

More of Country Legend Johnny Cash.

johnny cash-9

Folsom Prison Blues

Cash felt great compassion for prisoners. He began performing concerts at various prisons starting in the late 1950s. His first prison concert was held on January 1, 1958 at San Quentin State Prison.[49] These performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison (1968) and Johnny Cash at San Quentin (1969).

The Folsom Prison record was introduced by a rendition of his classic “Folsom Prison Blues”, while the San Quentin record included the crossover hit single “A Boy Named Sue”, a Shel Silverstein-penned novelty song that reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the U.S. Top Ten pop charts. The AM versions of the latter contained a couple of profanities which were edited out. The modern CD versions are unedited and uncensored and thus also longer than the original vinyl albums, though they still retain the audience reaction overdubs of the originals.

In addition to his performances at U.S. prisons, Cash also performed at the Österåker Prison in Sweden in 1972. The live album På Österåker (“At Österåker”) was released in 1973. Between the songs, Cash can be heard speaking Swedish, which was greatly appreciated by the inmates.



johnny cash-11

The Man in Black”

Cash advocated prison reform at his July 1972 meeting with United States President Richard Nixon.
From 1969 to 1971, Cash starred in his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show, on the ABC network. The Statler Brothers opened up for him in every episode; the Carter Family and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins were also part of the regular show entourage. However, Cash also enjoyed booking more mainstream performers as guests; such notables included Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (who appeared a record four times), James Taylor, Ray Charles, Derek and the Dominos, and Bob Dylan. During the same period, he contributed the title song and other songs to the film Little Fauss and Big Halsey, which starred Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, and Lauren Hutton. The title song, The Ballad of Little Fauss and Big Halsey, written by Carl Perkins, was nominated for a Golden Globe award.

Cash had met with Dylan in the mid 1960s and became closer friends when they were neighbors in the late 1960s in Woodstock, New York. Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience. Cash sang a duet with Dylan on Dylan’s country album Nashville Skyline and also wrote the album’s Grammy-winning liner notes.

Another artist who received a major career boost from The Johnny Cash Show was Kris Kristofferson, who was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. During a live performance of Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”, Cash refused to change the lyrics to suit network executives, singing the song with its references to marijuana intact:

On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I’m wishin’, Lord, that I was stoned.[50]

By the early 1970s, he had crystallized his public image as “The Man in Black”. He regularly performed dressed all in black, wearing a long black knee-length coat. This outfit stood in contrast to the costumes worn by most of the major country acts in his day: rhinestone suit and cowboy boots. In 1971, Cash wrote the song “Man in Black”, to help explain his dress code:

We’re doing mighty fine I do suppose
In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there ought to be a man in black.

Cash attired in black performing in Bremen, Northern Germany, in September 1972
He wore black on behalf of the poor and hungry, on behalf of “the prisoner who has long paid for his crime”,[51] and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs.[51] “And,” Cash added, “with the Vietnam War as painful in my mind as it was in most other Americans’, I wore it ‘in mournin’ for the lives that could have been.’… Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position… The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.”[51]

He and his band had initially worn black shirts because that was the only matching color they had among their various outfits.[22][page needed] He wore other colors on stage early in his career, but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage. He stated that, political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color.[22][page needed] To this day, the US Navy’s winter blue uniform is referred to by sailors as “Johnny Cashes”, as the uniform’s shirt, tie, and trousers are solid black.[52]

In the mid 1970s, Cash’s popularity and number of hit songs began to decline. He made commercials for Amoco, an unpopular enterprise in an era in which oil companies made high profits while consumers suffered through high gasoline prices and shortages. However, his autobiography (the first of two), titled Man in Black, was published in 1975 and sold 1.3 million copies. A second, Cash: The Autobiography, appeared in 1997. His friendship with Billy Graham led to the production of a film about the life of Jesus, The Gospel Road, which Cash co-wrote and narrated.

He also continued to appear on television, hosting an annual Christmas special on CBS throughout the 1970s. Later television appearances included a role in an episode of Columbo (Swan Song). He also appeared with his wife on an episode of Little House on the Prairie entitled “The Collection” and gave a performance as John Brown in the 1985 American Civil War television mini-series North and South. Johnny and June also appeared in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as a recurring couple.

He was friendly with every US President starting with Richard Nixon. He was closest to Jimmy Carter, with whom he became close friends.[22][page needed] He stated that he found all of them personally charming, noting that this was probably essential to getting oneself elected.[22][page needed]

When invited to perform at the White House for the first time in 1970,[53] Richard Nixon’s office requested that he play “Okie from Muskogee” (a satirical Merle Haggard song about people who despised youthful drug users and war protesters) and “Welfare Cadillac” (a Guy Drake song which denies the integrity of welfare recipients). Cash declined to play either and instead selected other songs, including “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about a brave Native American World War II veteran who was mistreated upon his return to Arizona), and his own compositions, “What Is Truth” and “Man in Black”. Cash wrote that the reasons for denying Nixon’s song choices were not knowing them and having fairly short notice to rehearse them, rather than any political reason.[22][page needed] However, Cash added, even if Nixon’s office had given Cash enough time to learn and rehearse the songs, their choice of pieces that conveyed “antihippie and antiblack” sentiments might have backfired.[54]

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27 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Country Music | Johnny Cash Week

  1. Ametia says:

    Bill Clinton: It’s time to overturn DOMA
    Last edited Thu Mar 7, 2013, 08:06 PM USA/ET – Edit history (1)

    Source: The Washington Post

    In 1996, I signed the Defense of Marriage Act. Although that was only 17 years ago, it was a very different time. In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction. Washington, as a result, was swirling with all manner of possible responses, some quite draconian. As a bipartisan group of former senators stated in their March 1 amicus brief to the Supreme Court, many supporters of the bill known as DOMA believed that its passage “would defuse a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more.” It was under these circumstances that DOMA came to my desk, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress.

    On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court, and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional. As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.

    Because Section 3 of the act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples who are legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are denied the benefits of more than a thousand federal statutes and programs available to other married couples. Among other things, these couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees. Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws.

    When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.

    Read more:

  2. rikyrah says:

    Did Black People Own Slaves?

    100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: Yes — but why they did and how many they owned will surprise you.
    By: Henry Louis Gates Jr.|Posted: March 4, 2013 at 12:03 AM

  3. rikyrah says:

    AKA to Howard Plaintiffs: Membership Is Not Your Birthright

    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: March 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Two Howard University students who were not admitted into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority are suing the Greek-letter organization under laws including the D.C. Human Rights Act. The AKA hopefuls say that their rights were violated and they suffered emotional harm because the sorority allegedly “singled out” women whose mothers were members of the group by setting aside a limited number of spaces for them, the Huffington Post reports.

    Plaintiffs Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield and their mothers argue that such “legacy” status makes AKA membership “pretty much” a “birthright” — one that the two seniors were denied when they weren’t admitted. Their attorney also asked, in a motion for a temporary restraining order, for the judge to prohibit AKA from admitting new members until the issue is revolved.

    In its response, the sorority says that despite the young women’s belief that it was their “birthright” to become AKA members when they wished, the group’s “Legacy Clause” does not guarantee membership. An excerpt from that response:

    The Plaintiffs, two undergraduate women at Howard University and their mothers, bring this action because the undergraduate Plaintiffs were not selected to be initiated into AKA at this time, despite their belief that it was their “birth right” to become AKA members when they wished as Legacy Candidates because their mothers were active members in the sorority.

    Despite the Plaintiffs’ disappointment and complaints, AKA did not violate the “Legacy Clause” in its Constitution and Bylaws, because that is not a guarantee of membership to a particular chapter, but simply provides for a priority process. More importantly, AKA had no ability to include these young women in the 2013 intake process of its Howard Chapter, because the strict application of membership caps imposed on AKA’s Howard University Chapter, in combination with AKA’s own intake regulations, made their admittance at this time impossible. AKA had no authority to lift or waive these caps.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Why the Black and Poor Loved Hugo Chávez

    The president, who died at age 58 this week, was a leader who helped bring their struggles to light.
    By: Tonyaa Weathersbee|Posted: March 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    AFP/Getty Images

    (Special to The Root) — In June of 2007, I was eating breakfast at a restaurant in downtown Caracas when a sea of Venezuelans flooded the streets shouting their support for their president, Hugo Chávez, after he decided against renewing the license of Radio Caracas Televisión.

    But in disrupting my breakfast, the crowd also provided me a picture of the Venezuela that I rarely, if ever, saw on television at home. This was a picture that showed the mostly brown and black and poor who viewed Chávez not as a dictator but as a savior.

    This was the Venezuela that, not unlike the brown and black and poor people in the United States, the media had reduced to invisibility.

    Chávez died yesterday at age 58 after a long bout with cancer. He died a popular leader, and it’s questionable as to whether his reforms will survive amid internal politics and maneuvering by corporations and governments that have coveted that country’s oil wealth and resented his efforts to bring socialist reforms to Latin America.

    But judging from the enthusiasm I saw coming from people of color who were energized by him six years ago, fading into the background won’t be an option for them.

    I traveled to Venezuela with Global Exchange in 2007 to take a two-week Spanish-immersion class in the mountain city of Merida. I was there during a time that was being highly politicized and propagandized.

    The news, at least back in the U.S., was that Chávez had shut down RCTV, and the speculation was that in doing so, he was moving the country toward totalitarianism. But the throngs of black and brown Venezuelans who gathered to support him apparently didn’t believe that. Nor did they care about the fate of a station that rarely saw them in a positive light or, for that matter, at all.

    What they cared about was the fate of a leader who not only acknowledged his own black features and heritage but also saw theirs.

    In 2005, two years before my visit there, Chávez had led lawmakers to establish May as Afro-Descendent Month, and May 10 as Afro-Venezuelan Day. That day was chosen to honor José Leonardo Chirino, a black revolutionary who led an insurrection against Spanish colonists in 1795.

    That was a step toward recognizing and including Afro-Venezuelans in the advancement of the country. It was the start of more steps, such as a 2011 law against racial discrimination and an option on the census for people to identify as Afro-Venezuelan.

    Again, Chávez was finding ways to see them — and not force them into the kind of invisibility that buttresses myths about racial democracy in Latin America.

  5. Ametia says:

    ohn Brennan confirmed as CIA director following White House drone statement
    By Aaron Blake, Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2:50 PM

    John O. Brennan was confirmed as CIA director on Thursday afternoon, after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed satisfaction with the response he had gotten to his questions about the Obama Administration’s drone program.

    Paul engaged in a nearly 13-hour talking filibuster against Brennan’s nomination on Wednesday, ending after midnight on Thursday morning. Throughout the filibuster, Paul said he simply wanted the White House to clarify that it would not use unmanned aerial drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil — a point he felt the White House hadn’t been clear enough

    Go jump in a lake and choke on the seaweed, Rand TOUPE Paul.

  6. Ametia says:

    March 6, 2013
    The Good, Racist People

    Last month the actor Forest Whitaker was stopped in a Manhattan delicatessen by an employee. Whitaker is one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation, with a diverse and celebrated catalog ranging from “The Great Debaters” to “The Crying Game” to “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.” By now it is likely that he has adjusted to random strangers who can’t get his turn as Idi Amin out of their heads. But the man who approached the Oscar winner at the deli last month was in no mood for autographs. The employee stopped Whitaker, accused him of shoplifting and then promptly frisked him. The act of self-deputization was futile. Whitaker had stolen nothing. On the contrary, he’d been robbed.

    The deli where Whitaker was harassed happens to be in my neighborhood. Columbia University is up the street. Broadway, the main drag, is dotted with nice restaurants and classy bars that cater to beautiful people. I like my neighborhood. And I’ve patronized the deli with some regularity, often several times in a single day. I’ve sent my son in my stead. My wife would often trade small talk with whoever was working checkout. Last year when my beautiful niece visited, she loved the deli so much that I felt myself a sideshow. But it’s understandable. It’s a good deli.

    Read on:

  7. BREAKING: Senate confirms Brennan as CIA Director

  8. Ametia says:

    Watch: Stephen Colbert and Julian Bond Make Mincemeat Out of Scalia
    Civil Rights leader Julian Bond joins Colbert to tease out the absurd rhetoric against the Voting Rights Act.


    Colbert and Bond also took on the coded racism remarked by Justice Antonin Scalia, who Bond calls “the Rush Limbaugh of the Supreme Court.” Replying to the Justice’s invocation of “racial entitlements” Bond says, ““It’s not an entitlement to be able to vote without discrimination. That’s something all Americans expect to have.”



  9. rikyrah says:

    The elusive ‘Black Agenda’

    And like any other president, said Pinderhughes, you have to give him a reason to respond.

    NNPA Washington Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (NNNPA) – A few weeks after President Barack Obama won four more years in the White House, dozens of Black leaders crowded around a podium in the Congressional Room of the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. to announce plans for a Black agenda designed to address the myriad economic, social and political disparities that afflict the Black community.

    But three months, later those Black groups represented at the news conference, with several centuries of years of collective experience in organizing, mobilizing and marching, have failed to produce a finished document to present to the president and Congress.


    In 2011, President Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus at their annual Foundation conference and seemed to scold Black leaders, urging them to stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying and to trade their bedroom slippers for marching shoes a speech that energized some and left other lawmakers seething.

    “It was brand new, not just for organizational heads, it was brand new for the country,” said Campbell, referring to the election of the nation’s first Black president. “There were some things that were different in knowing how to deal with that, but I don’t think that there was ever a time that we didn’t work to try to push on issues that were important to our community.”

    Not everyone agrees.

    “It’s an easier target when you have Republicans in power so that you can easily mobilize for symbolic benefits,” said Lorenzo Morris, political science professor at Howard University, Washington, D.C. “The problem with Obama is, without an easy target, some of the weaknesses in their own organizations might have been shown.”

  10. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    Senate Judiciary Committee approves 11-7 a bipartisan bill aimed at combating gun trafficking and straw purchasing –

  11. Ametia says:

    And the coonin hits just keep on coming. Carson’s become a CPAC darling. And hanging out on the set with Lou-RACIST-assed Dobbs.

  12. Ametia says:

    Ah, the good ole boys had dinner with daddy POTUS. They got their bellies full, but don’t be fooled folks, They’re not really going to do their REAL jobs with PBO.

  13. Ametia says:

    Rand Paul is Cordially Invited to Kiss My Ass
    from the Angry Black Lady Chronicles:

    Rand Paul has been droning on about drones for 7 hours. In that time, he could have introduced a damn bill that would repeal the AUMF, which is the reason motherfuckers are freaking out that the Black Dude in the White House is going to drone strike them in the Whole Foods parking Lot.

    Rand Paul won’t take the time to introduce a bill to repeal the AUMF (because that would require him to put his money where his pie hole is), but he WILL take the time to try to attach a Personhood Amendment to a fucking flood insurance bill. That’s right. A personhood amendment. To a fucking flood insurance bill.

    Oh, and while he quotes Glenn Greenwald and and feigns outrage about drone strikes, he enthusiastically supports the Stand Your Ground laws that are the direct cause of the deaths of so many black people in this country — like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.

    If he gave a true fuck about drone strikes? He would try to change the goddamn AUMF. But he’s not. He’s filibustering Brennan’s appointment. It’s political kabuki theater, and it’s horseshit . . .

    read more:

    So-sign! Rand and the other muthaF*&cas whining about DRONES!

    Everyday he and the GOP OBSTRUCTIONIST ruin our country is like DRONE STRIKES on AMERICANS. They are the TRUE TERRORIST. GTFOH

  14. Ametia says:


  15. Ametia says:

    Are Republicans the New Democrats?
    by Andrew Romano Mar 7, 2013 4:45 AM EST

    Who would have guessed last year that the GOP would be endorsing a litany of previously unthinkable positions? Elections have consequences, and this time, an identity crisis seems to be one of them.

    These days, Republicans are starting to sound a lot like Democrats. It may not seem obvious at first, especially when every elephant in Washington is loudly and proudly refusing to negotiate with President Barack Obama over the sequestration fiasco.

    But put down your newspaper. Log off the blogs. Step back for a second. Look at what the GOP said it stood for during the 2012 campaign, which concluded four short months ago. Now look at the legislation the same party is proposing—and the positions its members are staking out—today.

    The gap is staggering. If it continues to grow, it may come to represent one of the most rapid and drastic party makeovers in recent American political history.

    Let’s start with social issues. When the GOP ratified its 2012 platform during last summer’s convention in Tampa, Florida, it was very clear on gay marriage: no same-sex unions allowed.

  16. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    Live video: Senators debate John Brennan’s CIA director nomination, use of lethal force on US citizens

  17. GOP governor begs her party to comply with Obamacare

  18. Ametia says:

    Top of the Morning, Everyone! Ha ha ha ha Love that first pic of Johnny C. Yeah Baby, give’em the finger.

  19. Pingback: Thursday Open Thread | Country Music | Johnny Cash Week … « Hypnotik Radio's Blog

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