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No Idea Records

Johnny Cash
The Man, His World, His Music: DVD

By Todd Taylor
Wednesday, September 26 2007


I Walk the Line was a piece of shit movie; Ray with white people. It wasn’t even a well-told story. Johnny Cash was arrested twice in his lifetime. Once, for smuggling speed in his guitar case, which the movie covered. The second time was for trespassing… for hopping a fence and picking flowers for June. It’s this dichotomy that makes Johnny Cash so great. Yeah, he was a badass motherfucker. But he also was a hopeless romantic. He loved Jesus (and was a spokesperson for a Radio Shack doohickey that recites bible verses by topic), but he drank with the devil and raised hell. This DVD is live footage from a tour in an RV: live performances—from state fairs, to a duet by Bob Dylan, to a show full of Native Americans in full headdress—sprinkled with slices of life of him saving a crow to visiting the site of the Wounded Knee massacre. Besides the music being great and lively—any secular (and some of the religious) Johnny Cash song could be covered as a punk song—the most striking thing is that Cash listened. There are a couple of backstage scenes where singer/songwriters show their stuff to Johnny, he listens more than just respectfully, gives them feedback, and tells ‘em to play another song. In this day in age where it’s forbidden to hand a musician on a major a demo (for fear that it’ll somehow be used by the star and the unknown musician will be assed out), this DVD’s a telling document of how much the world of music has changed, and not for the better. It’s sad to think that there can’t be a now-generation equivalent of Johnny Cash (understood that he’s timeless and all), at least not on a national level, due to how the industry is set up. Fuckit, dude. I’ll just watch this DVD again when someone brings up American Idol, and remember a time when humans instead of a mix of machines, accountants, and focus groups had a chance to break big without being broken into tiny, uninteresting pieces for the dumbest of consumers to squeeze into their mouths like baby food. –Todd (Cherry Red, www.cherryred.co.uk)






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