A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

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A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 12 Mar 2020, 13:48

"Boss Jack" on the concept album of Folklore and Americana, "Ride This Train", from 1960. Listen to the narration that precedes it. I am in shock. Always thought highly of Johnny Cash. No matter how you contextualize it, slavery is an absolute evil, a crime against humanity. I am sure Cash thought so too, so why he felt the need to relate the origin of the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", is beyond me. I won't dump my Cash collection, he is too important, but I simply cannot abide the narration on "Ride This Train".

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Muskrat » 12 Mar 2020, 19:42

I don’t understand why you find the track morally reprehensible. Cash didn’t invent slavery, he’s narrating in character, and the slave is the protagonist of the story, though “hero” would be a bit of a stretch.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 12 Mar 2020, 20:53

Muskrat wrote:I don’t understand why you find the track morally reprehensible. Cash didn’t invent slavery, he’s narrating in character, and the slave is the protagonist of the story, though “hero” would be a bit of a stretch.


Yes, I realize that. Cash would be the first to oppose slavery of any sort. And he does narrate in character. But why? The narration romanticizes slavery, and the narrating character justifies his position, saying he always treated his slaves well. The protagonist is deferential, his way of surviving and improving his lot. You could argue that the narration helps to trace the origin of blues back to the work songs and field hollers of the slaves. You can trace it all back to Sunday afternoons in Congo Square, New Orleans, where the African slaves were allowed to congregate and play their music and sing their songs. But this lineage is best described in history books. You can't convey that with two minutes of romanticized narration, I don't think.

The narration leading into the song does not make for easy listening, it does not sit with me very well. I feel guilty playing that sort of stuff for pleasure.

And I don't listen out of a sense of duty. At least not repeatedly.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Minnie the Minx » 12 Mar 2020, 21:03

At least he doesn’t sing it flat.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Minnie the Minx » 12 Mar 2020, 21:10

GoogaMooga wrote:
And I don't listen out of a sense of duty. At least not repeatedly.


Well - do you listen to it or don’t you?
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 12 Mar 2020, 21:31

Minnie the Minx wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:
And I don't listen out of a sense of duty. At least not repeatedly.


Well - do you listen to it or don’t you?


What I said.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Minnie the Minx » 12 Mar 2020, 21:33

GoogaMooga wrote:
Minnie the Minx wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:
And I don't listen out of a sense of duty. At least not repeatedly.


Well - do you listen to it or don’t you?


What I said.


I think what you’re saying is that you find the song morally reprehensible, so you don’t listen to it, except for the times when you do. Is that an accurate assessment?
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 12 Mar 2020, 21:34

Come on, Minnie, I do what any fan would do, give it a shot; if it doesn't work, Accord will be more than happy to take it in trade.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby soundchaser » 13 Mar 2020, 12:59

You're missing the point, Googa. This is historical songwiting. People need to be reminded of how cruel they can be to each other.

Johnny Cash is telling it like it was. No nonsense, straight talking. Truth. Applaud him and despise Boss Jack.

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 13 Mar 2020, 13:29

soundchaser wrote:You're missing the point, Googa. This is historical songwiting. People need to be reminded of how cruel they can be to each other.

Johnny Cash is telling it like it was. No nonsense, straight talking. Truth. Applaud him and despise Boss Jack.


Okay. In that case, I suppose it has a place, but it's still not the sort of thing I can listen to for pleasure. Without wanting to make a direct comparison, I am reminded of a movie like Schindler's list. I've seen it once and I don't need to see it again. On the other hand, GWTW I can watch again, because that film chooses not to deal with slavery at all, except in the most cursory manner.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Geezee » 13 Mar 2020, 14:09

also worth keeping in mind here that Cash himself was a cotton picker.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Still Baron » 13 Mar 2020, 15:01

GoogaMooga wrote:Okay. In that case, I suppose it has a place, but it's still not the sort of thing I can listen to for pleasure.


I find that is true for the vast majority of Johnny Cash's LPs.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby soundchaser » 13 Mar 2020, 15:23

GoogaMooga wrote:
soundchaser wrote:You're missing the point, Googa. This is historical songwiting. People need to be reminded of how cruel they can be to each other.

Johnny Cash is telling it like it was. No nonsense, straight talking. Truth. Applaud him and despise Boss Jack.


Okay. In that case, I suppose it has a place, but it's still not the sort of thing I can listen to for pleasure. Without wanting to make a direct comparison, I am reminded of a movie like Schindler's list. I've seen it once and I don't need to see it again. On the other hand, GWTW I can watch again, because that film chooses not to deal with slavery at all, except in the most cursory manner.


I have the same problem with The Smiths, Suffer Little Children, about The Moors Murderers.

I find it a very upsetting listen and so avoid.

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 13 Mar 2020, 17:24

Still Baron wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:Okay. In that case, I suppose it has a place, but it's still not the sort of thing I can listen to for pleasure.


I find that is true for the vast majority of Johnny Cash's LPs.


:o

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Minnie the Minx » 13 Mar 2020, 17:40

OH GOD
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Still Baron » 13 Mar 2020, 17:42

GoogaMooga wrote:
Still Baron wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:Okay. In that case, I suppose it has a place, but it's still not the sort of thing I can listen to for pleasure.


I find that is true for the vast majority of Johnny Cash's LPs.


:o

Who are you country heroes, then?


George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, Ray Price, The Carters, Wynn Stewart, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Paycheck, The Stanley Brothers, Conway Twitty, Tommy Duncan/Bob Wills, Johnny Bush, Loretta Lynn, Bob Wills, Jimmy Martin, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Hank Thompson, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, Jimmie Rodgers, Gary Stewart, George Strait, Ernest Tubb . . . etc.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Still Baron » 13 Mar 2020, 17:46

I know Johnny Cash made a lot of country albums but I much prefer him (and consider him) as a rock and roll man.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby Matt Wilson » 13 Mar 2020, 20:03

Johnny Cash, a "rock and roll" man?

Hmmmm....

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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 13 Mar 2020, 20:05

Still Baron wrote:I know Johnny Cash made a lot of country albums but I much prefer him (and consider him) as a rock and roll man.


He recorded ONE album's worth of rockabilly with the Tennessee Two, for Sun.
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Re: A morally reprehensible track by Johnny Cash

Postby GoogaMooga » 13 Mar 2020, 20:06

Still Baron wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:
Still Baron wrote:
I find that is true for the vast majority of Johnny Cash's LPs.


:o

Who are you country heroes, then?


George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, Ray Price, The Carters, Wynn Stewart, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Paycheck, The Stanley Brothers, Conway Twitty, Tommy Duncan/Bob Wills, Johnny Bush, Loretta Lynn, Bob Wills, Jimmy Martin, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Hank Thompson, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, Jimmie Rodgers, Gary Stewart, George Strait, Ernest Tubb . . . etc.


Great list, got most of them, but also think Cash fits in nicely there.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck