• TAFKABO

    Easy bet for you to make, since you already know the answer.

  • Little Eva

    Now, now TAF, just because I dented your wee ego. no need to get nasty.
    Don’t worry about it, sure you’ll have a new “lifetime hero” just as soon as another biop is shown on the TV.

  • You catch me out at the moment replacing doors at my parents house. Hinging out mortoise pockets as it happens. Unfortunately for them one of the doors is for their computer room and here I am. So you have me at a disadvantage of not having any written material present.

    But from what is already out there. I suppose dueting on an album and writing the intro (even if you feel that the album is crap) is enough to get out of Dylan’s persona non grata category? But basically your argument is that Dylan is conceited and totally self centered so Johnny Cash can’t possibly compare?

    I don’t have a discography with me at the moment but Cash’s only real dryspell was during the ’80s. While not every song of his was a cross over hit into pop charts he was a steady producers for the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 90’s. I’ll try to put up some titles later. Though at his height he was actively encouraging other artists and pushing out their materials often times at personal risk to his own image in the country genre (remember the sixties country scene was hardly an progressive place over all). This is quite different from appearring on a later U2 album (which was charity IMO). Even in the 80’s he had the Highwaymen.

    As for drug usage, when you take one hundredd pills to get up, one hundred to come down and three bottles of wine to take off the edge then you can talk. Or how about stuffing pills into an open stomach wound for them dissolve. The entertainment industry may be littered with burnt out junkies and stars who OD but Cash came close to the edge and survived.

    You don’t have to like Johnny Cash at all but you’ve done little to prove that he was inferior as either a singer or song writer only try to pick at the threads of other people’s arguments in hope that they’ll unravel on their own. Also I don’t even take the gospel as gospel but I know my Cash.

  • foreign correspondent

    Well there was no call for your consistent condescension during this threat, either, Eva. A lot of us rate Cash and you don´t, end of story.
    IMHO Nashville Skyline is great too, and the version on it of the Girl from the North Country is brilliant.

  • Little Eva

    “But basically your argument is that Dylan is conceited and totally self centered so Johnny Cash can’t possibly compare?”

    No basically, that is not what I was saying at all. You (or someone else) claimed that because Dylan said Cash was wonderful it must be true. I’m pointing out that that is far from a guide as Dylan only praises those he considers (with all justification in this case) inferior.

    It just isn’t good enough to claim that Cash “wasn’t crossing over” for a while as some excuse. He was producing total crap, when he produced anything.

    And frankly, I don’t care if he was stuffing pills up his arse at one time. The idea of his “battling with demons” might give you a vicarious thrill, all I know is that most of his “music” was completely banal no matter what he was or wasn’t doing.

    A top producer, this same guy could make me sound good, wrings a couple of decent albums out of him on his death bed, and on a wave of emotion Cash is suddenly the greatest country artist that ever drew breath.

    It wasn’t just losing his ear and his sanity that made van Gogh such a great artist. He was great anyway.
    Just as the backdrop to his life and death doesn’t make Cash any better than over-hyped average.

  • Little Eva @ 09:43 PM:

    Well, to quote someone [Little Eva @ 06:30 PM] recently:

    Ever heard of showing a bit of humility in defeat?

    Nor should you be allowed a gross generalisation like:

    Dylan never, but never, praises anyone he feels is a genuine contender. You can bet your life if Dylan praises another performer, either they’re so obscure you’ve never heard of them, or he doesn’t actually rate them as comparable to himself.

    Well, I’ve acquired 75 of the Bob Dylan Radio Hour broadcasts. In them, he does indeed use numerous lesser-known artists (Stevie Wonder, Sinatra, that 1956 recording of Cash doing Folsom Prison Blues that I was trying to place earlier, Kinks, Presley, Caruso, a dude called Shakespeare… — even when he uses Claudette it’s by its unknown writer, an obscure guy by the name of Orbison).

    I’m struggling to recall where, in those three days solid of recording time, he disses a single artist. But, again, perhaps Little Eva can graciously help me out with an example?

  • TAFKABO

    Eva.

    When I’m reduced to telling everyone I just beat them in an argument, as if saying it makes it so, then inventing stuff to throw at them claiming to know what the did the night before, then my ego will be well and truly dented.

    I’ve enjoyed this thread for two reasons, mainly because there have been some pleasent exchanges regarding converging musical tastes, but to a lesser degree just to see how these exchanges can still take place, despite the best efforts of some troll and his little hissy fit.
    Particulalrly amusing was your “logic” whereby one person offering Casablanca as an example of great cinema was met with your claims that since the African Queen exists, we can’t say anything nice about Casablanca (by the way, African Queen was brilliant, but Casablanca is the better film)
    or even me praising Johnny Cash to have have your stunning response that I have no right to say anything positive because we have Willie Nelson and others.
    Do you see the pattern here?

    Even though the moderators removed my earlier comments where I used the noun ‘fuckwit’ and the adjective ‘dreary’ to describe you, I stand by the comment.

  • Little Eva

    TAFKABO
    God, you’re really scaring me now. Misquoting me as well. Diddums, you’re really impressive when you’re angry.

    Malcom

    “Well, I’ve acquired 75 of the Bob Dylan Radio Hour broadcasts. In them, he does indeed use numerous lesser-known artists (Stevie Wonder, Sinatra, that 1956 recording of Cash doing Folsom Prison Blues that I was trying to place earlier, Kinks, Presley, Caruso, a dude called Shakespeare…—even when he uses Claudette it’s by its unknown writer, an obscure guy by the name of Orbison).”

    Okay, try to keep up.
    I did say that he only praises obscure artists, dead artists or the living who cannot possibly pose a threat.
    Strip the dead from your little carefully accumulated list and we’re left with Stevie Wonder, and the Kinks – hardly a threat on the horizon from those quarters now is there.

    Please try harder, you’re boring me nearly as much as TAF.

  • NP

    Little Eva : the only response you will get from me is, i don’t respond to (to borrow TAFs expression) “Fuckwit” trolls.
    So don’t bother in future.

  • Dewi
  • Eva,
    For me Johnny Cash was the greatest long before Rick Rubin ever got his hands on him. But again it all goes back to taste. You want to ascribe Dylan certain tastes which you prefer. That’s your perogative, but the paper trail from the album to their correspondence, to Dylan’s song(Every Grain of Sand) being sung at the funeral says different. If you can find me somewhere where Dylan rips on Cash then fine, I’ll say your right, but for right now you’re just blowing smoke and trying blind us all with bullshit.

    If you don’t like the hyperbole or the mysitque about the man then don’t click onto a thread about him. The retrospective of his life is moving and even if I was alone in saying that I would not waiver in my convictions. Like I said, some of us were country when country wasn’t cool. We wear over-alls, drive American made pick ups and know what it’s like to get calluses on our hands in pursuit of our liveihood. Johnny Cash spoke to that. To the idea that faith is the rock of ages that we can cling to in hard times and that no matter how low we go there is the chance of redemption.

    The fact that his music wasn’t middle class music for middle class consumption (to paraphrase the late Utah Philllips) is just too bad for you. For the rest of us it’s quite fine, and since you don’t like it, you can take a flying leap, regardless of the hype.

  • Donnacha

    Sorry I’ve come to this late, but I have to amke a couple of points:
    Johnny Cash was not and never claimed to be a great songwriter, nor has anyone on here claimed that he was a lyricist to match Dylan or Cohen or Young (or even Paul simon, come to that). He was undeniably a great singer, with an immediately identifiable, strong, clear and on-key voice and he sang songs that came directly from the long country/folk tradition. So what if he wrote them or not?
    As for Nashville Skyline being “undisputably” Dylan’s worst album, you’ve clearly never listened to Self Portrait, Planet Waves, Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded or even Infidels, which were all demonstrably weaker albums phoned in by Dylan.
    What matters here is not whther you think we are all overrating Cash, Little Eva. What matters is that everyone else on this thread has shared a bit of their own musical tastes with each other. And clearly Cash is popular, a fact that must gall you given your disdain for anything “popular”.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Hey hang on there Donnacha, Planet Waves is a great album. Any record featuring The Band cannot be labelled as a ‘weaker” album. I love PW.

    on you go.

  • Donnacha

    Ah look, Brendan, I yield to no one in my admiration of the Band (I’d rather llisten to them than Dylan, to be honest) but their presence merely rescued it from complete abyssal awfulness. They didn’t make it good, even they couldn’t manage that feat…

  • Brendan, Belfast

    You make an interesting point. To get over my post Springsteen concert downer maybe I’ll dig out The Last Waltz DVD this weekend.

  • Little Eva @ 10:39 PM:

    Sorry: don’t do intimidated or rise to insults. I do object to self-opinionated nonsense.

    I did say that he only praises obscure artists, dead artists or the living who cannot possibly pose a threat.
    Strip the dead from your little carefully accumulated list and we’re left with Stevie Wonder, and the Kinks – hardly a threat on the horizon from those quarters now is there.

    That feels like it needs a question-mark.

    Still, I’m sad to hear of the collective death of the Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, George Jones, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe (that’ll get to yourcousin), the White Stripes, Van Morrison — nay, the whole of U2, Mark Knopfler, Joni Mitchell, Harry Nilsson, Richard Thompson, Kristofferson, Joe Ely … I must have missed the obituaries, unless Little Eva finds these names “obscure”.

    This thread started with J.R. Cash. It’s difficult to think of anyone who better represented the American ideals, lived the much-ridiculed “American dream”. He was consistently right on so many issues (Vietnam and its neglected Vets, the Native Americans, prisoners, the nonsense of the “war on drugs”, the wage slaves in the rust belt, meddling censorship), a fundamental Christian who was liberal and caring on social issues. When the media were sanitizing American culture, Cash’s songs reminded us that murder, drugs, divorce, oppression continued. Isn’t it remarkable that, on his death, everyone from the Republican Party to the Trotskyites tried to claim life-long Democrat Cash for their own?

    Whatever we say here, his reputation is intact. The bottom line:

    I wear black for the poor and the beaten down
    Living in the hopeless, hungry side of town
    I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime…
    I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
    And tell the world that everything’s OK
    But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
    Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black.

  • Moochin Photoman
  • gram

    Merging the topics a bit; writers v performers and Dylan. The Byrds were a perfect example of how you can actually improve on some Dylan songs (Spanish Harlem incident, My Back Pages) and where the writer doesn’t always produce the best or definitive version of a song.

  • brendan,belfast

    Sticking to the off topic diversion it could be pointed out that Jackson Browne does a great version of My Back Pages, and of course Bruce does a rocking Chimes of Freedom too.

  • gram

    On the subject of laughing Leonard Cohen. Undoubtedly a fine songwriter but his songs are often better covered by other artists, Jennifer Warnes, Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright.

    The Jeniffer Warnes album of his covers “Famous Blue Raincoat” is a brilliant album.

  • Lenny

    Well there’s no accounting for taste is there? I just cannot understand the popularity of Johnny Cash. He had a shite voice and he was an average country singer. I’ll admit I don’t like country n western, although I do remember Ray Lynam’s version of “I don’t want to see another town” with some fondness but that’s another story :-).

    I wouldn’t mind so much if he had stuck to country songs like “I walk the line” but he had to move into the pop/rock genre with some outrageously bad cover versions. I think it was Kensei who describe his version of “One” “as awesome”. It was anything but. It was the desecration of a classic. As for “Bridge over troubled water”, Cash murdered it. A really horrendous version of a beautiful song. The only comparison I can make is when the Fugees murdered that beautiful tribute to Don McClean by Roberta Flack, “Killing me softly with his song”.
    I can see I’m in the minority here along with Little Eva but I’m astonished at how this average country singer is so popular.

  • kensei

    Lenny

    I think it was Kensei who describe his version of “One” “as awesome”.

    Cash sung it liked he had lived it.

    Have you come here for forgiveness/
    Have you come to raise the dead/
    Have you come here to play jesus/
    To the lepers in your head

    Cash evokes demons that the much younger Bono simply could not.

    Second, singing is more than simply hitting all the notes (though Cash certainly could). It is about timbre and emotion and character, all of which Cash had in spades.

  • gram

    Ok Lenny and Lil Eva we’ve put our *ocks on the block concerning our musical tastes. Time for you to ante up.

  • The Raven

    …oh….and I *got* the Tom Waits tickets…

    😛

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To turn it round slightly, are there any decent industrial bands anyone can recommend? Nine Inch Nails popularised the genre way back, but Ministry won’t be releasing new material (maybe not a bad thing) and even oldies like KMFDM, Front 242, Frontline Assembly, Skinny Puppy, Pigface, Revolting Cocks etc can be a bit hit and miss.

    Odd to think that music that emerged from a near-future literary genre (‘cyberpunk’) is now dated, but I still have a soft spot for distorted vocals over a pounding four-four and screaming guitar while a 303 spews sampled aggression. I’m pretty sure industrial was responsible for my later acid techno phase a few years ago anyway.

  • Dave

    Federico Garcia Lorca’s notion of duende is personified in Cash. I admire the honesty in his voice. As Cohen said, “I told the truth. I didn’t come to fool ya.” Many derided Cohen for his voice, but he has always stayed within its limitatons and the result is someone who you know isn’t bullshitting you, but is just speaking about the way things are for him. Those to condemn Dylan for his voice are missing the magic of his songs – that voice is a finely-honed musicial instrument in its own right, deeply aware of human sounds, reaching into universal chords and finding the rights words for them. Very few are artists on that level – the human voice – but Cash was certainly one of them.

  • Lenny

    Kensei

    You see qualities in Cash that I don’t. Maybe that’s my loss. I guess its down to taste.

    Gram

    My tastes vary from Morrison to Bowie and Led Zep and Procol Harum. Feel free to scoff.

    I’m not being critical of peoples tastes. I’m just puzzled as to why someone, who in my view is average/mediocre, is so popular.

  • Lenny @ 09:52 AM:

    I’m just puzzled as to why someone, who in my view is average/mediocre, is so popular.

    In large part. of course, you answered your own question with those three little monosyllables, “in my view”.

    Others can answer for themselves, but, for me, it was a combination of the performances (live and recorded), the persona, the legend, the social attitudes.

    Even for one who is not switched on to the Cash product and legend, I tentatively suggest there is something to admire in the man who:

    maintained an essential honesty throughout a troubled life;
    was one member of the Sun generation of (for want of a better word) “rockabillies” who stayed nearest to his roots;
    took on so many unpopular social causes; and
    turned down Nixon’s choice of song-list (this from Cash’s autobiography):
    In April, 1970, we were booked for a performance at the White House for the President and specially invited guests. Three days before the appearance, Reba [Cash’s sister and business manager] called me.
    “The President has requested three songs for your ‘Evening at the White House’ program,” she said.

    “You gotta be kidding,” I replied. “Does he know my songs?”

    “They aren’t all yours,” Reba said. “He wants Boy Named Sue, but he also requested Welfare Cadillac and Okie From Muskogee.”

    There was a long pause on my end of the line. “You mean to say President Nixon requested those songs?”

    “Well, I won’t guarantee it, John,” she said. “The actual request came from Bob Haldeman’s office.”

    “Who is Bob Haldeman?” I asked.

    There is a small footnote to 20th century history to be written, discussing the difference between that moment (and the Nixon Presidential Library later exploiting Cash’s 70th birthday, attempting to conscript him to causes Cash opposed throughout his life) and Cash’s genuine friendship with Jimmy Carter.

    Your own choice of artists might also imply a generational shift. But (Whiter Shade apart), Procul Harum … dear, oh dear!

    Specific to where this thread began, Cash’s end was positive and heroic:

    Nothing in his life
    Became him like the leaving it; he died
    As one that had been studued in his death …

    In doing so, (and I go back to that video clip) he characteristically challenged the unmentionable last great taboo in our society.

  • Lenny

    Malcolm.

    “In large part. of course, you answered your own question with those three little monosyllables, “in my view”.

    Perhaps I did answer my own question, however you didn’t use those three little monosyllables yourself with your comment on Procol Harum which I can’t let slide. There is much more to PH than “Whiter Shade of Pale” (and I’m sure glad that Johnny Cash didn’t get his hands on that song). A very underrated group whose music combined classical, rock and jazz beautifully. I recommend that you take Cash from your turntable/cd player and stick on “A Salty Dog” and you’ll be coverted :-).
    Meanwhile, I’ll continue to change the channel whenever Johnny Cash comes on my radio.

  • Jer

    great song, genuine classic and better than the nine inch nails original like day and night

  • love the clip.