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Jeff Emond

Jeff Emond

I've been a Cash fan since 2006. My appreciation of the man and his music has only grown since then. I am especially drawn to the humanitarian work and activism that Cash championed during his lifetime, through his songs and through his actions. I am studying to become an educator and it has been my pleasure to help out on the Johnny Cash Infocenter website however I can.

Posted by on in The Songs

In 1987 or early 1988, Johnny Cash entered a studio in Hollywood, California and cut several songs for a Peter Bogdanovich comedy called Illegally Yours, which starred Rob Lowe and Colleen Camp.  All songs, including tracks titled "One Wish" and "Lady of Love" remain officially unreleased.  It appears that Cash cut at least three different versions of a song called "Love is a Gambler" for the film.  Two versions appear in in the film--one during the opening credits, the other during the closing credits. 


A third version, recorded as a duet between Cash and his daugther Rosanne Cash (who earned three much-deserved Grammys this year for her amazing Americana album, The River and the Thread), was actually the very first version recorded!  Johnny and Rosanne cut the song hoping for a hit record, rather than a movie theme.  Even after being produced by the great muse Jack Clement, in Nashville, the song remained unreleased. This rare duet has finally surfaced.


Thanks to Earl Poole Ball and Peter Bogdanovich, you can now hear a very young Rosanne and her father rocking together on what should be considered a classic Cash tune.


Recording Date: 1987-1988

Location: Nashville, TN.

Produced by Jack Clement.

Initial recording engineer: David Ferguson.

Written by Earl Poole Ball and Peter Bogdanovich.

Vocals: Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash.

Piano: Earl Poole Ball.

Remaining musicians unknown, possibly Jim Soldi, Kerry Marks on guitar, Kenny Malone on drums.

Remastered by Gary Hickenbotham at Fire Station Studios, San Marcos, TX.



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Posted by on in Album Reviews

W.S. Holland, Johnny Cash’s only drummer, is an individual who needs no introduction.  There are many stories on how Johnny Cash managed to snatch W.S. Holland from Carl Perkins’ band, though as W.S. “Fluke” Holland explains it, there was really nothing dramatic behind the ordeal--he was ready to retire at the end of the 1950s, but Johnny Cash wanted a particular drummer and was persistent enough to keep W.S. with him for 37 years on the road, up until Cash’s retirement.


Of course, W.S. Holland remains on the road, and that very fact makes his latest album, LIVE in Memphis, something unique. 


This album was not a rushed release when it arrived in 2014, five years after the W.S. Holland Band’s formation in 2009, nor could it be in more capable hands.   Ron Haney, who manages the operation, is responsible for vocals and guitar, and Russ “Newt” Hall handles keyboards while Jim Reece provides the bass guitar work and vocals.  After five years of touring around the world--literally--the band decided that it was time for an album.  Instead of cutting songs in the studio however, they opted to go for a raw and authentic sound--and what better place to go than Memphis, where W.S. Holland helped pioneer rock and roll music.


The replication of Carl Perkins, his voice and sound, it spot on.  The twelve-minute homage to the music of Johnny Cash is handled with equal care, though as we all know, replicating Cash is impossible.  Nonetheless, Johnny Counterfit’s vocals are about as close as any impersonator gets (even Cash was impressed by Counterfit, in his lifetime).  The band provides a flawless rendition of the rockabilly and country sound that supplemented the original songs.


The dialogue between tracks by Holland is one of the best treats.  Holland recounts memories of his days at Sun and on the road with Johnny, and even manages to slip in his own solo piece, “Drum Time.”  The other original tune is a the tribute to Johnny Cash--but considering how W.S. Holland played on these song sessions originally, one can make the argument that the majority of music here is simply classic W.S. Holland.


To check out more about W.S. Holland and his band, and to purchase a copy of his latest CD, visit his official website.


  1. Rockabilly Fever
  2. Let the Good Times Roll
  3. Blue Suede Shoes
  4. Matchbox
  5. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
  6. The Legend (Tribute to Johnny Cash) and Cash Medley (Folsom Prison Blues, A Boy Named Sue, Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line)
  7. Ragged Old Flag
  8. Drum Time
  9. Everybody’s Tryin’ to be My Baby


Runtime: 41 minutes

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Note: This review was written not long after attending the 82nd Johnny Cash Birthday Celebration in February of 2014.  It is being published now for those who couldn’t make it out last year, but are going this year, or considering making the trip.


I wrote a review on the Johnny Cash Museum several months ago, but it hardly needs my endorsement at this point.  Any trip advisor will tell you that it is well-worth the trek to Nashville and houses the largest collection of Johnny Cash material.  But the price of admission for the birthday celebration included limitless weekend access to the Johnny Cash Museum, so it is worth mentioning here.  


For a discount price, I stayed at the Hyatt Place hotel, which was only a five minute walk from the museum. (It also featured a very cool pixel picture of Cash in the foyer--take a picture of it with your cell phone if you make it out there.)  Attached to the museum is a Johnny Cash event center where the concerts and other programs were held.  The event room itself has a Facebook page--suffice to say, it was both classy and rugged, like the Man in Black himself.  There were two concerts, one on Friday and the other on Saturday night, and each featured a different host of guest singers.


Friday evening, before the first show, I arrived early--and W.S. Holland and his wife Joyce were hanging out.  It was surreal--here was W.S. Holland, casually relaxing in a sweater, an hour before showtime--and he was talking to me!  A little under an hour later, I sat in the audience and saw him take the stage in his black suit and dark shades.  Surreal.  And he was joined by the legendary Dave Roe.  Then, John Carter Cash took center position and the band rocked out a number of Johnny Cash songs--including “Big River”--and a few Carter Family songs.  W.S. Holland also treated us to a few numbers, including a tribute song called “The Legend.”  Need I tell you who it was about?  Later on, Lorrie Davis Bennett--a genuine member of the Carter Family, showcased some Carter classics, including the great--and endless--”Worried Man Blues” and she gave a superb performance of The Youngblood’s “Get Together.”  Cash recorded both songs on his TV show.


Before the second concert some games and activities were prepared--I understand they are a tradition.  There were some rounds of trivia and prices given--though it was just great to be surrounded by other Cashologists.  Mark Stielper, a Cash historian, gave a behind-the-scenes presentation over Cash’s TV series and rise to American icon.  Then there was the fan jam--and there should probably be a new show called “Johnny Cash Fans Got Talent.”  The only sour performance, in fact, was my own.  But the backing band was phenomenal. Then Bill Miller, founder of the museum and host for the party, announced the raffle winners.  There were prizes, big and small--from greatest hits CDs to vinyl 45s, from posters to license plates, from Johnny Cash trading cards to three checks hand-signed by Johnny Cash.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?


The second night’s lineup included God’s Outlaw, who got everyone involved in the great song “Stampede,” as well as a few original numbers by Johnny’s nephew Joe Cash and some gospel tunes by Johnny’s sister Joanne.  Tommy Cash--who I’ve been lucky enough to see twice before--also delivered on many Cash classics as well as his own “Six White Horses” and the most charismatic performance of “That’s Alright, Mama” that I’ve ever seen--sorry, Elvis!  Then Melanie took the stage to perform several of her own hits, including a more recent song “Working Legend,” which pays tribute to the Man in Black.


It was a fun trip, and needless to say, there is a lot to do in Nashville--or Cashville, as some now call it--and attending birthday celebration was a great experience.  

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Posted by on in Interviews

Earl Poole Ball was gracious enough to sit down with me and discuss his beginnings, his time with Johnny Cash--and a plethora of other music legends--and his latest work, the great Pianography album.  It was a real treat to sit down with country music’s finest piano player for a couple hours on September 23, 2014 and January 9, 2015 to complete this interview for the Johnny Cash Infocenter.


Interview by: Jeff Emond


How did you get in the music business?


[When] I went into the music business I was young, and I had learned how to play the piano.  My mother had told me said if I took some lessons I’d be popular at parties.  And so I took piano lessons, and I enjoyed playing the piano.  I didn’t like classical music that much but I learned to play the pop songs through a chord book.  


Then these guys but a band together around Columbia, Mississippi, and they asked me to play with them, so I did.  I didn’t necessarily think that was what I would be doing for living, because I had other interests.  I wanted to go to college to study law, or theatre arts, or maybe some other stuff.  I liked political science when I was a teenager.  And then I got involved with this band, and I saw it was a pretty easy way to make money.  They were a little country-rockabilly band.  They were called the Hillcats.  Then I got involved with a lady and wound up marrying her, playing piano at night.  I dropped out of college, though I should have stayed in college and not got married.  But we make these mistakes when we’re young, we all do.  That’s what I was doing for a couple years in Mississippi.  


I’d been working with Jimmy Swan, a popular disc jockey there.  I got a job with him playing his TV show when I was a senior in high school, and then playing with him after I graduated.


So that’s how I became a piano player: it didn’t leave me any time to do anything else.  I just sort of drifted along with it.  


My marriage had gone bad in Mississippi so I moved to Texas for three years.  My father gave me two hundred dollars and a bus ticket one-way to Houston, Texas, and told me to get out of Mississippi and make something out of myself.   I played in Texas and became friends with Mickey Gilley.  I played there with a friend of mine who actually sang a lot of Johnny Cash tunes and helped me get that Memphis-style piano down.


I was pretty much in the music business just for a living at that time.  I was enjoying it, because as a young man I learned to drink beer and party a lot, and it went along with the job.  [Laughs.]  


Where you always attracted to country music?


Rock n’ roll and country, and rockabilly.  I played some blues with different people.  I love the blues.


What was it like to make your first album?


Well, my first recording, which wasn’t an album, was made in Houston with Mickey Gilley producing me.  He wanted to give me a chance.  I took the record to radio stations around Houston, and I got some air play and moderate success.  


After three years in Texas, I had moved to California, I got a job at the Palmino Club, which was world famous at the time for being the top country music club in the nation.  Then I became a member of a band called Red Rose and the Detours and everybody in the band got a chance to make a record for Crown Records.  They way they made those albums, they were kind of knock-off things.  You would record a really popular song, then you would fill the rest of the album up with your own original tunes, which you still owned the rights to.  So all the members of that band who sung and played recorded an album.  So for my album, the song “Love of the Common People” was popular by Waylon Jennings at the time.  I sang that song, then I filled the rest of the album up with originals.  I think we recorded each album in about two hours.  Then I didn’t cut another album for a long time.  


I recorded another one, first on cassette tape, called Earl Poole Ball and His Honky Tonk Piano.  It’s on my website store now.  I made the album while I was touring with Johnny.  Half of it is made of piano instrumentals, the other half is rockabilly.  A good cut on the album with “Crazy Arms” and there’s a great gospel tune there called “I’ve Got Jesus in My Soul.”


So let’s go back to California.  I jam sessions on the weekend with my own band called The Sessioneers.  We played The Aces Club on Friday and Saturday nights, and it was a big deal.  A lot of people came from San Diego and the large surrounding areas.  We started around 3:00 a.m. in the morning.  It was fun, but it was tiring.  I did it for about five years.  During that time, I got to know Cliffie Stone, who was a record producer and publisher.  He hired me to work at his publishing company, and that became my day job.  It was a great training ground.  Later on, I became a producer at Capitol Records.  I was also recording with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos at the time.  I was also working with Gram Parsons, on the International Submarine Band album, then Parsons pulled me over to record The Sweetheart of the Rodeo album with The Byrds.  I also cut a couple of tunes with The Flying Burrito Brothers.


I was with Capital in Texas until 1972, until I moved to a branch of Capitol Records in Nashville and worked there for about three years.  I moved because of the company.  I wouldn’t want to go on my own, I loved my California existence.  Then I met Johnny Cash through Harland Howard and Don Davis, and Cash asked me to join his band.  I put it off for about a year because I was enjoying playing sessions and not traveling, but then Cash made it such a good situation that I left Capitol Records and soon went to work with Cash.


Did Johnny hear a song that convinced him that you had to be his pianist?


I don’t know if there was a particular song.  I came into his picture when Don Davis, who had brought Cash the “One Piece at a Time Song.”  I demoed “One Piece at a Time” with the guy who wrote it.  I don’t know if he heard my piano playing on that or not, but Don Davis was producing “One Piece at a Time” with Johnny.  When I came back, he was producing Look At Them Beans and shortly after that he was doing The Rambler.  Cash had heard me play, and he really, really liked that I knew that Sun style of music.  The piano player he had at the time was getting ready to leave and form a gospel group.  


Don Davis was instrumental, because he worked with both Harland Howard and the music company owned by Tree.  He was also producing Johnny.  Davis was an ex-brother-in-law of Johnny; he had been married to Anita Carter.  He found some songs for Johnny, and Johnny was grateful that he did, so we recorded out of Johnny’s House of Cash Studios.  Johnny liked having his own studio.  


Do you remember the first song you played with Johnny?


I think it was one of the songs on Look At Them Beans, but I can’t remember which one.  


One album I wanted to talk about is one that is almost a cult-favorite, one that you produced, Rockabilly Blues.  How did that come about?


I had a song recorded by Johnny called “I Don’t Think I Can Take You Back Again.”  That song did two things.  It looked like Johnny’s contract was coming to an end with Columbia.  I went up to see Rick Blackburn.  I told that I had heard the rumor that Johnny was leaving the label.  I said, “I’ve got this great recording that he did called ‘I Don’t Think I Can Take You Back Again’ and I think it would be a great single if Johnny does leave the company.  I just want you to consider it, because I know you’ll want to release more Cash songs like Sun did even if he goes to a different label”   Blackburn looked at me quizzically.   It was a very stupid thing for me to do, but maybe it helped.  I was still naive at the time--I’m still not over naivety yet!  


I thought that I did the best I could for the song: I was the publisher, the writer and composer.  I left, and before long they wanted Johnny to do another album.  I don’t know if it was because I had been there, or they changed their mind about dropping him from the label.  Cash asked me to produce the record, and we started cutting some good songs.  


Then one day, we were walking down the street, he and I, going to our cars from the studio.  And I said, “Johnny, we’re doing these good songs but what are we doing to call this album?  Rockabilly something?”  He said, “Blues.  Rockabilly Blues.  Let’s call it that.”  So the title came after we started recording.  Then Cash wrote a song called Rockabilly Blues to have a song of that title on the record.  This was in the day before people did albums with great tunes just for the heck of having a great album.  Before, it seemed most of the artists in Nashville were getting a hit single and putting mediocre material around it to make an album.  But Rockabilly Blues changed that because it became an album with great tunes, but not big single.  But they learned that they had to promote an album as an album, and not just a collection of songs that could be singles.  

That’s how that came about.  Johnny asked me to do it and I did it.  He had a track that had been recorded with his son-in-law in England, Nick Lowe, and he had Jack Clement do a couple tracks.  We were challenged to add Bob Wootton and W.S. Holland to the Nick Lowe tune, and put proper sounding Johnny Cash electric guitar on that.  I worked with a very skilled engineer who managed to make it all gel together--he was fifty percent of the whole thing.  And Johnny had a lot of input, so I was mainly helping to keep everything coordinated.  I wish I had written a song for it, but I wasn’t writing much at the time.


It was really highly rated.  It was one of the top ten albums of the 1980s in Country Music Magazine.  Another album I produced with Merle Haggard, Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player, was also selected as one of the top ten.  I figured I wasn’t going to be able to top myself, so I might as well play the piano and travel around and see the world with Johnny, and have a good time.  That was about the same time I got my last divorce, and I was ready for a good time.


Did Rockabilly Blues feel like a hit album while making it?


It felt like something spectacular to me.  We had a Billy Joe Shaver tune, some Johnny tunes.  “The Twentieth Century is Almost Over” is one I thought would be a hit.  But Columbia just dropped the ball, they didn’t know how to promote that record.  That’s when I decided to quit being a producer


You played on the Gone Girl album?  




One of my favorite songs on there that you play on is “Song for the Life.”


Oh, yes.  That leads us to another subject.  I think that was just me, Johnny and Rosanne Cash.  That lead to a whole different chapter of my life.  Peter Bogdanovich, the movie producer, was a big fan of Johnny’s.  Peter was doing a movie in New York called Everybody Laughs.  Peter heard “Song for the LIfe” while he was doing this movie, and it came about that wanted to use “I Don’t Think I Can Take You Back Again” sung by Johnny Cash in the movie.  Some coordinators called.  I said of course they could use it, I gave them a decent little price, nothing they couldn’t afford.  Then I told them during a phone call that you don’t just need my song, you need me to come up and play the piano, I want to be in your movie!  They said really, what’s some of the stuff you’ve done?  I said that I’ve done some production and played on a lot of Johnny Cash records.  


It turns out, “Song for the LIfe” was a favorite of Peter Bogdanovich, he loved that song.  So I had a meeting with Peter in his suite at a big hotel in New York.  He decided he wanted to have me on to be the bandleader in his movie, and to help the singer.  She was an actress who could sing good, too, named Colleen Camp.  We played on the soundtrack for all of the songs.  That was a thrilling experience.


And that led to many small acting roles?


Yes it did.  I did Murder in Coweta County with Johnny because the bug bit me.  I also did The Pride of Jesse Hallam with Johnny.  Johnny would show up and know all of his lines, and seemed to be a natural.  Gary Nelson directed a lot of Cash’s movies.  Gary was a nice guy to work with, and he and his wife were really sweet.  He was a great director for John.  


And I did Texasville with Peter Bogdanovich.  It wasn’t a giant role but it paid really well, and I worked with Peter on some TV shows as well.  


Since you worked on Texasville and live in Texas, are you a fan of Larry McMurtry?


I’m a fan and I met him one time, when we were filming in New York.  He dropped by the set and I got to meet him.  I recorded with his son, James McMurtry, here in Austin.  He’s a good singer/songwriter.  I recorded two tunes on one of his albums about eight years ago.  


Johnny made the piano a prominent part of his live show.  How did that come to be?


Yeah, that just sort of fell into place.  It has the basic sound he liked from when he started in Memphis.  Johnny really liked the piano, and I played with him on a lot of the gospel sounds he was featured.  He especially liked the gospel sound on the piano.  He gave me a chance to sing and play some instrumentals, I played the “Tennessee Waltz” and “Last Date” a lot.  I’m glad that he liked it and kept me going.  Johnny and June became like family to me after a couple of years, they were just such great people.


Did you have a favorite song to play live?


I got the most reaction to “I’ve Got Jesus in My Soul.”  And “Music Box Dancer.”  People just seem to love that song.  I did it with a boogie-woogie part in the middle, then slowed it back down.  It was sort of a show piece, and Johnny had me play that everywhere: Europe, Australia, New Zealand.  Cash liked that for several years, and I think we wore it out a little bit.  


Did you meet any famous leaders or presidents?


I didn’t meet any presidents.  I met Billy Graham when Graham was in Nashville and John had me come down to have a meal.  I think we were at an Italian restaurant, and then I got to see him again at Johnny’s home.  That’s the most prominent person I think of, and Billy Graham sent me a Christmas card for years.


Do you remember doing many prison or Native American benefit concerts?


The first shows that I worked with Cash were prison concerts.  I think we did three in one day in California.  I started working with him in 1977, but I think it was at the end of 1976 that we played those concerts, as sort of an audition for me.  It was remarkable.   I did go into Folsom one time with Merle Haggard when I was working for Capitol Records in California.  But it was different this time with Johnny.  There were bigger audiences and Johnny played for the entire population of the center.


What can you tell us about Johnny’s activism or humanitarian work?


I remember going to Jamaica and playing there for an orphanage.  This was just before going to Europe, we went to Jamaica to raise some funds.  Hugh Waddell put together a fundraiser, Rock for the Animals, that was a fundraiser for animals.  We played that in Nashville.  I know Cash did a lot of individual humanitarian things.  He did some fundraisers for the Carter Fold out of Bristol. It was almost a humanitarian thing when we went to Czechoslovakia because those people really needed some sunlight in their lives.  But it was a paid performance situation.


Is there any live concert that you have a vivid memory of?


One of the concerts that really sticks out for me, maybe above all of them, is the very first Czechoslovakian concerts.  We did two days, and we played for over forty thousand people.  That’s on video.  


Is there any piece of advice Cash gave you that’s memorable?


Yeah, one in particular, and I think about it a lot when I have to go to the doctor.  Cash said, “Be careful of going to specialists, Earl.  Or else somehow they’ll figure out a way to work you into their speciality.”


There was one time in my career when I would have little panic attacks, and I’d feel like the stage was spinning around.  I went to a doctor for that, and he gave me medication that I took for maybe too long.  I decided it wasn’t the miracle drug I hoped it was, but something the doctor gave me to pacify me.  These panic attacks started on a freeway in California when big trucks surrounded me, and I had to pull over to the side of the road.  I had another in Nashville.  I finally got the right diagnosis and they recommended counseling.  


Sooner or later, I talked to Johnny about what was going on.  We had some important dates coming up that I felt I might not be able to make.  I was ready to change doctors to figure out what to do.  I told Johnny about what I was going through, and that I couldn’t make all these upcoming dates, but I’ll make what I can.  Johnny said, “Don’t worry about it Earl, make what you can.  I can handle it if you can.”  I never missed a paycheck, even when I had to get into a treatment situation.  I never missed a paycheck.  Johnny Cash was very loyal, and very caring about the people in his band.  He was always very, very good to his people.


It was such a pleasurable experience for twenty years.  At one point I got to thinking, when I was in my forties, that maybe I need to go to college now.  I told Lou Robin and W.S. Holland that.  I said maybe I need to go to school and figure out something else to do.  They both looked at me and said, “Earl, it’s too late now.”  I had an ideal job, and it was entertaining with different places, people and situations every day.  It wasn't like a job, the only hard part about it was traveling.  But the actual experience playing the shows, and being a part of a huge traveling family, was a really great experience for me.  And because I did that, at this point in my life I get enough work.  


Can you talk about how your latest record, Pianography, came about?


I had these songs laying around that I always wanted to record, some in my publishing company and some that I had written--all noteworthy songs.  A friend of mine who does record promotions, Terry Hendrix, suggested that I make a record.  She heard me singing in The Lucky Tomblin Band, a great that I was in.  She told me I had to make my own record, so I got the [recording] bug.  I had some extra money--lately I found out there’s no such thing as extra money--and I took the money and put it toward Pianography.  I got the band that I was playing with at the time, a rockabilly/blues band, with some great musicians in it, and we went into what I considered one of the best studios in sound.  Finally we got something acceptable down after mixing it three times, going through several different versions.  


Three or four of the tunes were recorded live a Johnny Cash tribute show, which were just part of the many that I did.  I didn’t even know they were being recorded.  I got my friend Lisa Morales to sing on it, she’s been my favorite gospel and blues singer forever.  I got a couple of other ladies to sing with me, [including] Cindy Cashdollar.  It was just something I felt I should do, though it was ridiculous for someone at my age.  I bought a ton of promotion with the press all over the world.  I didn’t take out ads, but I used a guy who does magazine promotions.  It went out mainly to Americana stations.  I don’t think stations that play the real country music got serviced that well, [but] I want to re-service it to those people.  In a sense, except for the few people who have heard it all the way through and got the message, it’s a lost cause.  If I had to do it all over again, I’d do the songs.  It’s the last production I’ll do, probably the last record I’m ever going to make.  People that have listened to Pianography more than once dig into it and they really like it.  


One song, “Something’s Gonna Get Us All,” is a really humorous song about mortality.  Did you write it?


No, it was written by a friend of mine, Bucky Lindsey.  I knew him from when I was in Nashville.  He’s a really great writer who writes a lot of blues.  He’s had some award-winning compositions.  He sent me a copy of “Something’s Gonna Get Us All” and I said, “Well that sounds great!”  So I learned it and taught it to my band, and we pretty much used his demo arrangement.  I like the song, I thought it was great for a good shuffle, and it as a great lesson, too.


You talk a bit about the musical horn arrangement on “Say You Love Me”?


Right at end [of the song] I put a Dixie Band thing together.  There’s a trombone and a tuba, and it fits in with the rest of the band.  That song had been written for a long time.  Joel Sonye and I wrote it years and years ago.  I thought it was a great song.  I got Julian Banks to sing that with me, she’s a really great singer.


The opening track, “Standing at the Edge of the World,” has some really cool whistling in it.


Jody Adere did the whistling.  She’s a girl who was in the band that we had, and she was a really good whistler.  The idea came about because she would whistle on stage.  She just started doing it one day, and I didn’t even know she could whistle.  And so, I got her to come in and whistle on it.


It’s a catchy song.


I always thought it was a catchy song.  Somebody might record that one of these days and have a big hit with it.  It has a lot of good verbal and musical hooks to it.


We talked about how the title track is autobiographical.  Were the songs “The Real Me” and “One of Those Old Things We All Go Through” also autobiographical?  


I wrote “The Real Me.”  It’s autobiographical too, but partly about me and partly about a friend I know.  I believe Joel Sonye and I wrote “One of Those Old Things We All Go Through” years ago, and it’s also autobiographical.


Sometimes I think that maybe, unless you’re a household name like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash, you shouldn’t even put out an autobiographical album.  A lot of people don’t have enough to read about you to know what you’ve been through and what you’ve done to know it’s an autobiographical presentation.


So what are you up to now musically?


Right now I play on Sundays nights with a band called Haybale.  We play from 9:45 to midnight on Sunday nights.  Tom Lewis organized the band and plays the drums.  Redd Volkaert is a preeminent electric guitar player.  Johnny Cox plays the steel guitar.  Dallas Wayne, a great singer, songwriter and disc jockey who hosts Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius XM, plays the bass and sings.  Sometimes the original bass player for Willie Nelson plays the bass with us.  And I play the piano and sing.  It’s either a five or six piece lineup.  We play at the Continental Club, a preeminent kind of place in Austin.  It features rockabilly, country, and alternative music styles.  A lot of Americana acts come by there.


Last night I played with a band called Rick Broussard and Two Hoots and a Holler.  I just love playing with them.  I play with them once a month at a place called The High Ball.  He does a lot of cajun stuff.  He uses me to augment his band on one Thursday night a month.  Another band I play with is called Deuce Coupe.  Kevin Fox, a major songwriter for the group and a delightful and talented young man, has a drummer and a bass player that are some of the best rhythm section people that I’ve ever played with.  I work with them two or three times a month.  They work as a trio mainly, but for certain gigs they put me in.  Those are the main people I play with.  


I’m seventy-three years old.  It’s such a hassle to have your own band and keep them booked fully enough to keep the same people most of the time.  The nature of the beast here in Austin is one where very rarely will you have a really great guitar, drum or bass player, but very rarely will you have those particular three together.  All of them have other jobs and are in other bands.  You always have to call in substitutes, so nobody knows you original songs--you can only play the classics.  I’m in semi-retirement and I’ve abandoned the thought of having my own band for now.  I might want to create an all-girl band.  An old man and three beautiful women playing good music would be something kind of different--we might even be able to get work!  Without a hassle!  [Laughs.]   


Living here in Austin, I’ve noticed how the city is growing and changing from the city I moved to in 1999.  I floated around for about a year after Johnny quit touring and moved here because Dale Watson suggested that I should, and he was right.  I’m trying not to work a lot.  It kind of takes care of itself--if you don’t go out there and beat the bushes, people don’t think about you.  Other than that, I’m just hanging in there, trying to enjoy life a little bit.  I don’t have any major hobbies--music is my hobby.


What is one of your favorite books?


The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.  I’ve just read a Jerry Lee Lewis life story called Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg.  It’s a new book and it’s very, very good.  Jerry Lee told the co-author his story, and the author elaborated on what happened, where it happened, what happened next.  I mostly read biographies and autobiographies.  Buck Owens has one too called Buck ‘Em!, and I [have found] that my favorite readings are about entertainers.  There’s one called Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley, written by J. D. Davis that I’ve read.


Thank you so much for your time.


Feel free to read our review of Pianography, or check out Earl Poole Ball's official website to keep up with tour dates and recordings.


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Earl Poole Ball’s most recent CD release, appropriately called Pianography, offers a little bit of everything.  There are studio tracks and live tracks, new songs and old songs, and a healthy mixture of country, blues, rockabilly and genuine honky-tonk.  


After officially joining Johnny Cash’s band in 1976, upon Johnny’s insistence, Earl Poole Ball remained a regular member of Cash’s band until Cash retired from touring in 1997.  Of course, Earl had previously worked with Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard before accompanying Johnny Cash.  He could have easily made an album of standards from the stars that he spent so much time with.


Instead, what we have is a refreshingly original album that is independent, or indie, in the truest sense of the word.  The Austin-based Earl rounded up the local talent that he was working with, and set about recording some songs written by old friends, and as well as many self-penned titles.  In some ways, the album is autobiographical.  No song is reflective though than the travelogue title track, “Pianography,” that recounts Earl’s trek from California, to Nashville, to his current Austin residence.


“The Real Me” is an upbeat tune that is very much the open confession of an optimist, while “Standing At the Edge of the World” is genuine rockabilly, with with catchy lyrics and an equally catchy, whistling chorus.  


Perhaps no song better embodies the honky-tonk feel than “Say You Love Me,” a duet with Cindy Cashdollar that concludes with a tuba, a trumpet, and an authentic Dixie Band vibe.  “One of Those Old Things” is a mournful country tune, complete with fiddle, and sounds like it could have been written for Johnny Cash himself.   


“Sing It Boy” takes a comedic turn, as a bona fide bluesman laments the sorrow of the singing boy’s blues.  The last new studio track, “Something’s Gonna Get Us All,” has a dark and brooding instrumental arrangement, similar to Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave,” but chooses to laugh in the face of mortality and fate.


The second half of the CD is comprised mostly of live tracks, recorded at a Johnny Cash tribute concert.  With classics like “Big River,” “Down the Line,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and “Mean Women Blues,” we’re treated to a blend of rock and country.  While the first half of the CD is notable for the strong arrangements and instrumentals, the live segment really showcases Earl Poole Ball’s famous piano.  


The final two tracks are essentially bonus tracks.  Both were previously recorded and released as singles many years ago, and withstand the test of time.  “Second and San Antone” is recorded as an up-tempo rock ‘n’ roll track, while “Flowers on Papa’s Grave,” is a standard country rendition, with backup vocals and a steel guitar, adding one more unique track to the album.


Pianography is the real deal in a music market saturated with knock offs.  The music is a blend of so many styles that it can only be broadly classified as Americana.


You can buy the CD or purchase a digital copy of the album by following the link below.


You can also watch Earl Poole Ball perform the cut of “Big River” from the album live!

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"I'm very shy really.  I spend a lot of time in my room alone, reading or writing or watching television."
- Johnny Cash
The 700 Club, "An Interview with The Man in Black," 1984

Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter were greedy readers, though many people might not guess it when taking a superficial glance at the country couple.  Sure, they often acted the part of simple, countrified people.  And there is some truth to that.  But they were also highly literate, published authors--as are many of their children.  


Can you imagine having Johnny Cash as your literature teacher?  What a treat it would be to have Johnny Cash narrating your favorite literature in his gravelly baritone.  If the Cash family had more money, the world might have only known J.R. Cash as an English educator.  Cash graduated as the vice president of his senior class in 1950, from the largest cooperative school in Arkansas.


Cash reflected in 1988, while being interviewed by the Academy of Achievement, that he was "writing a lot of poems, and stories, and songs" throughout high school--but struggling with math.  He went on discuss how, for a poor farm boy at the time, college was out of the question.  If he had been able to go to college, he mused on how it "would have been great to go from high school right into college to study music and literature." 


Growing up as a sharecropper in Arkansas, the first book that Cash learned to cherish and read and reread was the Bible.  Cash would later further his Biblical education in the late 1970s, at Bill Hamon's International Christian School of Theology; after graduation in 1979, Cash was even ordained as a minister.  All this training and intensive studying later inspired Cash to write his only novel, about Paul the Apostle and titled Man in White, which was published in 1986.  


But the Bible was not the only book that profoundly impacted a young J.R. Cash.  Again, for his 1988 interview with the Academy of Achievement, Cash discussed his experience as a 12 year old reading a novel about a Native American Indian named Lone Bull.  Cash summarizes the moral of the story: "You miss a lot of opportunities by making mistakes, but that's part of it: knowing that you're not shut out forever, and that there's a goal there that you still can reach.  Lone Bull's philosophy was, 'I'm kicked out of this village, but I will grow up and I'll come into another one and I will do what I set out to do.'"  Surely this maxim applied to Cash as he moved through one creative phase to the next throughout his career, finding new audiences and passions.  


Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, Cash was also fascinated by powerful orators like Winston Churchill,  whose commencement speech, "Never, never, never, never, never give up," remained dear to Cash's memory.  Johnny Cash also looked up to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was responsible for the New Deal that saved hard-working farmers like the Cash family with cooperatives.


When I interviewed Kathy Cash in 2013, I asked her about her father's favorite books.  One of Cash's favorite spiritual writers was Edgar Cayce, a writer who Cash believed had "a gift from God and used it for the well-being of everyone he could reach."  Kathy also mentioned how Cash loved Civil War and prison books, and that Cash's home library was expansive.  "You know, I've read every one of these books," Cash would boast, "some of them I've read twice."  He also had a large collection of books on Roman History that surprised one reporter in 1994.


Nick Tosches interviewed Cash in 1994 without expecting to sit down with an intellectual who plays country music.  The two ended up having a deep discussion about Roman history, where Cash eventually pointed out the endurance of Roman engineering: "I was lookin' at a drawing of a Roman crane.  Just as efficient as the ones we got now.  Fabulous."  Tosches accepted Cash afterwards, but not all of country music, remarking that all George Jones wanted to talk about in their interview together were his cows.


In a 2014 interview for ABC news, John Carter-Cash named some of his father's favorite books.  Og Mandino's "Greatest Salesman in the World" and Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" were among them.  Johnny Cash enjoyed Gibran's work so much--spiritual work that combined teachings of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, among other philosophies, that Cash narrated Gibran's sequel work, "The Eye of the Prophet." 


Cash also read extensively on the Vietnam War as he revealed while being filmed for an episode of VH1 Storytellers with Willie Nelson. "I wrote a song called 'Drive On.'  June and I read all these books, these novels about Vietnam.  She and I were swapping books reading on after another.  [If] there was a group of guys going along and one of them would fall, there was not time to stop and grieve you might get shot.  So they would say drive on, it don't mean nothin'.  When it would mean everything."


Though Cash loved books of history and spirituality, he also loved fiction.


Johnny Cash's tastes were varied.  He read James Joyce and J.D. Salinger.  He read Stephen King and James A. Michener.  He read Colleen McCullough and Jack Higgins.  He considered Jake Hawkins' "King of the Road" a "southern masterpiece . . . one of the finest things I've ever read."  According to John Carter-Cash, Johnny's favorite book at the end of his life was Gary Jenning's "Aztec."  


He also read John Steinbeck, as revealed in a very touching article by Louisa Young.  While being interviewed about a Kristofferson song that he covered called "Here Comes That Rainbow Again," Cash is asked if he knew about "The Grapes of Wrath" which inspired the song.  The book deals with farmers, The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.  Cash's reply is priceless: "Know that book?  I was that book."


Rosanne Cash recently gave a fantastic interview for The Boston Globe on her favorite literature, both fiction and nonfiction.  She also mentioned some of her father's favorite literary themes once again.  Two novel titles that she drops as her father's favorites are Larry McMurtry's timeless Lonesome Dove and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.  


If all this talk about books has put you in a reading mood, here is a list of works authored by The Man in Black himself in chronological order. 


Cash, Johnny.  Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words.  1975.

Cash, Johnny.  Man in White.  1987.

Cash, Johnny and Patrick Carr.  Cash: The Autobiography.  1997.

Cash, Johnny.  "The Holografik Danser" 2001.  (Published in 2001 in Songs Without Rhyme: Prose By Celebrated Songwriters, but written in 1953.)

Cash, Johnny and Tara Cash.  "Recollections by J.R. Cash - Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash."  2014.


It is also worth noting that Johnny Cash's family has also written and published a plethora of books.  Below are some highlights by last name, then choronological order.


Cash, Carrie.  Recipies and Memories from Mama Cash's Kitchen.  1985.

Cash, Cindy.  The Cash Family Scrapbook. 1997.

Cash, John Carter.  Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash.  2007.

Cash, John Carter.  House of Cash: The Legacies of My Father, Johnny Cash.  2012.

Cash, John Carter.  Lupus Rex.  2013.

Cash, June Carter.  From the Heart.  1987.

Cash, Rosanne.  Bodies of Water.  1996.

Cash, Rosanne.  Phenelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale.  2000.

Cash, Rosanne.  Composed: A Memior.  2011.  (Rosanne also narrates an audiobook version of this title.)

Cash, Vivian and Ann Sharpsteen.  I Walked the Line: My Life With Johnny Cash.  2007.



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Johnny Cash had a talent that not all artists possess.  Not only was he talented songwriter (he wrote or co-wrote over 200 songs) but he was also great at taking a song and making it his own.  In this endeavor, Cash was able to defy any genre of music.  He covered The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” and Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” with ease—and he had been singing songs that surprised audiences for years.


Johnny Cash, in his 1997 autobiography, credited Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Steve Goodman and Guy Clark as songwriters who inspire him to write.  Of the above mentioned writers, however, Cash only covered Rodney Crowell songs extensively.  He recorded Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” as well as “The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over,” the latter of which was co-written by Goodman and Prine.   Cash covered several Guy Clark songs, including “Let Him Roll,” “The Last Gunfighter Ballad,” “Same Stone,” and “New Cut Road.”  It is interesting—though not surprising—that Cash’s inspiration comes from acclaimed songwriters that have never associated with mainstream country music but rather personify country with a mix of rock and folk.


But who did Cash cover most frequently?  The answer to that question is tricky.  In the list provided, I only list each song once—though Cash often recorded several different versions of songs throughout his career and he recorded many collaborations with his wife June Carter and The Carter Family, The Highwaymen, and many other artists.


If we count the number of songs written by someone that Cash recorded, the winner would be A.P. “Pop” Carter.  Cash recorded and released twenty-seven A.P. Carter songs, though Cash either duets or provides backup vocals on a great majority of the recordings.  The next runner up is Kris Kristofferson—Cash recorded and released sixteen of Kristofferson's songs.  In a close third comes Jack Clement, who had fifteen of his songs covered by Johnny Cash (one of which was co-written by Cash and Clement.)


Fourth on the list is none other than the legendary Hank Williams—Cash recorded most of his Williams songs during his tenure at Sun records or sang them on this TV show.  Fifth place goes to Harlan Howard, perhaps the least-recognizable name on the list yet one of country music’s most renowned songwriters, responsible for two essential Cash tunes: “The Wall” and “Busted.”


Billy Joe Shaver wins sixth place—though if you count the unreleased track of “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan, Dylan and Shaver tie with nine songs covered.  The “Masters of War” song was a duet with Kris Kristofferson from a TV show—wouldn’t it be awesome if it saw the light of day?


Peter LaFarge clocks in with eighth place with eight songs covered by The Man in Black.  LaFarge’s material was mostly covered in the 1960s when Cash labeled himself as a folksinger and was focused on championing the Native American Civil Rights movement.  Cash also recorded eight songs by Rodney Crowell, but only seven were released, which means Crowell ties with Merle Travis at seven songs.  Travis was one of Cash’s good friends in the 1960s and shared Cash’s sentiment for the working class, especially coal miners.


What can be determined by this list is that Cash did primarily cover folk singers and acts associated with alternative and outlaw country.  That didn’t prevent him from heavily recorded country pioneers like Hank Williams and novelty writers like Jack Clement.  Cash had a unique talent for selecting songwriters.  He recorded Shel Silverstein ballads, poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage.”  As diverse as his tastes were, Cash had his favorites, and he managed to make any song he sang his own.


* Denotes unofficial release

^ Denotes unreleased


A.P. Carter
































Kris Kristofferson
















16.   ANTHEM ’84






Jack Clement




4.     LIFE GOES ON (Johnny Cash, Jack Clement)

5.     KATY TOO





10.   TAKE ME HOME (Jack Clement, A.L. Reynolds)









Hank Williams










10.   KAWLIGA *




14.   JUST WAITIN' ^


16.   SING, SING, SING ^


Harlan Howard

1.     BUSTED


3.     STILL IN TOWN (Charles Cochran, Harlan Howard)

4.     THE WALL


6.     YOU COMB HER HAIR (Harlan Howard, Charles Cochran)


8.     NO CHARGE


10.   BETTER CLASS OF LOSER (Ron Peterson, Harlan Howard)


Billy Joe Shaver








8.       IF I GIVE MY SOUL

9.       LIVE FOREVER  (Billy Joe Shaver, Eddy Shaver)


Bob Dylan

1.       IT AIN'T ME BABE







8.       SONG TO WOODY

9.       MASTERS OF WAR ^


Peter LaFarge



3.       DRUMS

4.       CUSTER

5.       WHITE GIRL

6.       RODEO HAND

7.       STAMPEDE



Rodney Crowell



3.       BULL RIDER



6.       ONE WAY RIDER

7.       THE DOOR  ^



Merle Travis




4.       THE DEVIL TO PAY (Merle Travis, L. Rusk)



7.       STEEL GUITAR RAG  (Leon McAuliffe, Cliffe Stone, Merle Travis)

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Johnny Cash worked with Rick Rubin and American Records for the last decade of his life--work began in 1993 and ended with Cash’s passing in September of 2003.  During the final decade of Cash’s career he released work that wasn’t only good--it was some of the most powerful stuff ever recorded by the Man in Black.


Too often Cash’s work before Rick Rubin is minimized in comparison.  Hopefully the 2014 release of Out Among the Stars dispels that notion.  It wasn’t just the quality of the work that made his final records so special.  It was the quality of the Man in Black himself.


He was a grandfather for all of the young fans who flocked to buy his records.  He was the rebel, the outlaw, and yet he was respected because of his sagacity, his spirituality, his maturity.  Somehow, Cash balanced both images--he was still the rockabilly from the 1950s, still the protesting folk-singer from the 1960s, still the country icon of the 1970s, and still the drifter from the 1980s.  


“Delia’s Gone” proved that he wasn’t afraid of venturing into the dark regions of the mind.  “Why Me Lord?” let everyone know that his spirituality and humility never left him.  “Rusty Cage” proved that he could still rock.  “I Won’t Back Down” proved, well, that in spite of disease and age, Cash was still not a quitter.  “The Man Comes Around” proved that the songwriter was still alive and well.  “Hurt” proved to be the best music video of all time (and if you don’t believe me, just refer to Rolling Stone magazine).  With “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” the world got another Cash classic posthumously.  And with the release of “Redemption Day” and “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” we got a final glimpse into the Johnny Cash who wasn’t afraid to speak out against war and greed.


Whatever comes next, it is hard to imagine that it will disappoint.  Robert Hilburn, in his biography on Cash titled “The Life,” revealed at least one song that Cash recorded during the same session as “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”  What song?  Kris Kristofferson’s “Jesus Was a Capricorn.”  The songs are perfect foils for each other--and both embody aspects of Cash’s complex faith.  Aside from that, rumors have been spreading for years about potential songs.  Here is a meticulously compiled list of what could possibly appear on an Unearthed Volume 2 or other releases of American material.


It is worth noting that Cash was planning on recording an album of black gospel before passing--but he never managed to finish that concept album.  Several of the songs listed below were likely recorded for that project, including “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again”, and “Don’t Take Everybody for Your Friend” by one of Cash’s all-time favorite singers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.  Other songs were written by Cash, and others were written by some of his closest friends, including Willie Nelson, Merle Travis and Johnny Horton.  


* Denotes that a version has been unofficially released in some format.  


Unreleased material from the Hundred Highways and Ain’t No Grave sessions:


“San Antonio”

“Here Comes a Boy”

“That’s Enough” (Dorothy Coates)

“Nine-Pound Hammer” (Merle Travis)

“North to Alaska” (Johnny Horton)

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” (Civilla D. Martin)

“If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again” (John Whitfield Vaughan)

“The Eye of an Eagle” (Joe Carter)

“Don’t Take Everybody for Your Friend” (Sister Rosetta Tharpe)

“Belshazzar” (Johnny Cash)

“Loading Coal” (Merle Travis)

“A Half a Mile a Day” (Johnny Cash)

“Flesh and Blood" (Johnny Cash)

“I Am a Pilgrim” (Traditional)

“Beautiful Dreamer” (Stephen Foster)

“Family Bible” (Willie Nelson)

“Jesus Was a Capricorn” (Kris Kristofferson)

“The Whiffenpoof Song”

“The Oak and the Willow”

“John the Revelator” (Blind Willie Johnson)


Unreleased material from the Solitary Man and/or The Man Comes Around sessions:


“One More Ride” (Bob Nolan) *

“Hard Times” (Stephen Foster) [Possibly a duet with Merle Haggard]


Unreleased material from the Unchained sessions:


“Addicted to Love” (Robert Palmer)

“You’re Gonna Change Or I’m Gonna Leave” (Hank Williams)

“Goodnight, Baby” (Tom Petty)

“We’re Alright Now” (Tom Petty)

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” (Bob Dylan)

“That's Right” (Johnny Cash) [Possibly a duet with Carl Perkins]

“Sing a Traveling Song” (Kenny Jones) [Used in an episode of the TV series Renegade]

“Don’t Sell Daddy Anymore Whiskey” (Molly O’Day) *

“The Devil” (Hoyt Axton) *

“Change the Locks” (Lucinda Williams) *

“That Lucky Old Sun” (Beasley Smith) *

“Two-Timing Woman” (Hank Snow) *


Unreleased material from the American Recordings session:


“Allegheny” (Chris Gantry)

“New Cut Road” (Guy Clark)

“Gettysburg Address / Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” (Abraham Lincoln, Ed McCurdy)

“Hobo Bill’s Last Ride”

“The Mystery of Number Five”

“I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train” (Billy Joe Shaver)

“I’m Ragged but I’m Right” (George Jones)

“Jesus Was a Carpenter” (Christopher Wren)

“Boll Weevil” (Traditional)

“Wings in the Morning” (Johnny Cash)

“In My Time of Dying”

“Old Lonesome”

“Heart of Gold” (Neil Young)

“Farther Along” (J.R. Baxter Jr.)

“The Door” (Rodney Crowell)

“The Road to Kaintuck” (June Carter, Helen Carter)

“Long Road”

“Talk to Me”

“Ballad of Barbara” (Johnny Cash)

“Dead or Alive”

“Live Forever” (Billy Joe Shaver, Eddy Shaver)

“The Big Battle” (Johnny Cash)

“Open Pit Mine”

“Children Go Where I Send Thee” (Traditional) *

“Loving Her Was Easier” (Kris Kristofferson) *

“‘T’ for Texas” (Jimmie Rodgers) *

“East Virginia Blues” (June Carter Cash, Maybelle Carter)

“To Beat the Devil” (Kris Kristofferson) *

“I Witnessed a Crime” (Billy Gibbons) *

“What On Earth (Will You Give for Heaven’s Sake)” (Johnny Cash) *

“I’m A Drifter” (Dolly Parton) *

“The Next Time I’m In Town” (Mark Knopfler) *

“One More Ride” (Bob Nolan) *

“All of God’s Children Ain’t Free” (Johnny Cash) *

“Friends in California” (Waylon Jennings) *

“The Wonder of You” (Kris Kristofferson) *

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On March 22, 2014, Dave Roe Rorick, Johnny Cash's bass player from 1992 to 2003, was generous enough to give the Johnny Cash Info Center an exclusive interview!  On behalf of myself and the JCI team, we would like to thank Mr. Rorick for his time and participation!


Interview by: Jeff Emond


1) When and how did you first meet up with Johnny Cash and become his bassist?

I met Johnny in the 80’s. I was playing in June’s daughter Rosie Carter’s band. I was called in '91 and offered the job in '92.


2) I understand that you started off with the electric bass, but now you primarily play upright.

I never played upright till I joined Johnny’s band. Learned on the job.


3) What was touring with Cash like after he signed on with Rick Rubin and the "American Recordings" label?

After the Rick Rubin thing started, we went from playing for mostly Johnny’s aging fans to playing a lot of everything-concerts, punk rock clubs, everything got a whole lot more rock and roll.


4) What songs did you record in the studio with Cash?  (We know you recorded "I'm on Fire" with Cash which has an awesome, driving bass part!)

I played on about a third of the Rick Rubin stuff. I couldn’t even begin to to tell you which ones.


5) How did you come to be a backup singer for Cash on songs like "Get Rhythm" during live shows?

I’ve always been in demand as a background singer. I went from being Vern Gosdin’s main background singer, to Johnny’s, and then on to Dwight Yoakam’s [background] singer. I make part of my living singing in the studio.


6) Did you have any favorite songs that you performed on stage?

I loved playing "Big River" and "I Walk the Line" the most.


7) What was it like playing at the England Glastonbury Festival in 1994?

Glastonbury was awesome! So many people-all really loving Johnny. Loved that gig and Royal Albert Hall the most.


8) How did you first discover Johnny Cash?

I’ve known his music since I was very young--my mom loved him.


9) What is your favorite Johnny Cash song?

Favorite song--Bottom of [the Mountain]. Favorite record--the first on on Sun.  [Which was "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Hey Porter."]


10) Were there any routines that went on before or after a show?

Johnny was pretty much the same all of the time. Very comfortable with who he was.


11) You've recorded or performed with an impressive list of people.  Care to drop a few names and memories?

I have so many great memories from different points in my career.  It’s all so good!


12) Even though your website states that you're a session player, is there anyone you perform with regularly now?

I’m in a really good band with my dearest friend Kenny Vaughan--Marty Stuart’s guitar player. We play a lot of our own material. Every Monday night at a little place called 12 South Taproom. Big fun.


13) Are there any words of advice or wisdom that Johnny Cash shared with you that you wouldn't mind sharing with us?

One time when I had a really bad cold, Johnny gave me this advice--“Have a shot of liquor--it won’t make you feel better, but at least you’ll feel better!”


14) Johnny Cash is known for his humanitarian works.  Can you share experience with Cash on that topic?

I don’t know much about that stuff as it concerns Johnny, however, I do know that he was very intent on making sure that everyone around him was happy, in particular his family and his employees.


15) Are there any forthcoming projects or albums that you are featured on that you can tell us about?

I’m very involved with my band with Kenny--that’s number one with me right now.  I’m also involved with a musical that John Mellencamp has written with Steven King.  I’m also on Ray Lamontagne’s new album due out soon. Busy is what I really like to be.


For more information about Dave Roe, check out the official website for this legendary Nashville Bassist



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Who were Johnny Cash’s musical friends?  Aside from his wife June, one might think of his fellow Highwaymen, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.  Or maybe his Sun pals Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.  There are also his friends in the rock field, like U2’s Bono and Bob Dylan.  But there was a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Johnny Cash and Pete Seeger were both on the folk music scene, and both were making protest music that would survive for decades--and in all probability centuries--to come.  A bold claim?  Go ahead--read on!


In 1959, Pete Seeger, among others, founded the soon-to-be-annual Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.  In 1964, the Festival had a very special guest--country music star Johnny Cash.  Cash, at the time, was being labeled as a folk singer by his manager Saul Holliff, who understood it would have more appeal to the young audience.  Cash, for his part, fully embraced and supported the new title.


Cash was scheduled to appear on July 24th, alongside Phil Ochs and Joan Baez, but did not arrive on time.  Many years later, however, Johnny Cash did get to perform with Joan Baez on Earl Scrugg’s “A Song For Woody,” which saluted the late Woody Guthrie and followed up as a sequel to Bob Dylan’s “A Song To Woody.”


On July 25th, Johnny Cash’s flight landed in Rhode Island and he was able to perform.  Pete Seeger joked, “[Cash] was way out on the West Coast and he found that, somehow, you can’t get from Nevada to Newport, Rhode Island, in one day.”  Perhaps it was destiny, because that night at the concert Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan met for the first time and started a beautiful friendship--Cash even played one of Dylan’s songs, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” which Cash would later rework into his own classic “Understand Your Man.”  Before doing Dylan’s song, however, Cash introduced Dylan as “the best songwriter of the age, since Pete Seeger.”  The rest of Cash’s performance covered his hits, but he was sure to include his own protest song, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.”  After the show, Cash wrote the following controversial ad in Billboard magazine:


“At the Newport Folk Festival this month I visited with many, many ‘folk’ singers - Peter, Paul & Mary, Theodore Bikel, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan (to drop a few names) and PEte Seeger.  I was given 20 minutes on their Saturday nite show (thanks to Mr. John Hammond, pioneer for Columbia by way of A/R). The Ballad of Ira Hayes stole my part of the show. And we all know that the audience (of near 20,000) were not 'country' or hillbillies. They were an intelligent cross-section of American youth-and middle age.”


Later, Cash was invited to be a guest on Pete Seeger’s TV show Rainbow Quest in 1966.  Joined by June Carter, the three folk singers had a fun time that was somewhat hindered by Cash’s poor health.


Luckily, Pete Seeger decided to make a rare step into the show business world and joined Johnny Cash on March 4th, 1970, on the Man in Black’s variety show, The Johnny Cash Show.  Even more interesting than Seeger’s performance on the show, however, is his conversation with Cash before the show.  The reason?  Seeger was all but banned from television due to his protest of Vietnam.  Cash, of course, would famously speak out against the war--and all wars--as he grew older. They were kindred spirits, and it is wonderful that, though the first two times they met Cash was involved with drugs, they were able to make their third encounter a memorable one.


"The Pete Seeger I know. . . [and] love is one of the best Americans and patriots I've ever known. For some reason it takes a long time to educate people and to make them understand." - Johnny Cash


Rest in peace, Mr. Seeger.


- Article by Jeff Emond




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When one thinks of Johnny Cash’s producers, more than a few prominent names come to mind.  First, there was Sam Phillips who founded Sun Records and was smart enough to let Cash sing.  Also at Sun Records was the witty “Cowboy” Jack Clement, who wrote songs like “Guess Things Happen That Way” and “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” that Cash turned into pop hits. At Columbia Records there was Bob Johnston, who helped Cash make his prison albums and also other regulars like Don Law who helped Cash at the start, and Larry Butler and Charlie Bragg worked as producers on many Cash albums during the 1970s.


The only album collaboration between Johnny Cash and “countrypolitan” producer Billy Sherrill was on Cash’s 1981 album The Baron.  The title song was released as a single and made the top ten on the US Country charts, and the album made 24 on the US Billboard Top Country Albums chart.  The single had the help of a music video as well as a TV movie to boost its popularity. The most impressive, or at least original sounding, songs from the album are “The Hard Way” which packs a powerful punch and “Hey, Hey Train” which has a great rhythm and stands alongside other great train songs that Cash had recorded.


Aside from the three tracks mentioned above, “Thanks To You” stands out as an entertaining and lighthearted song of revenge via songwriting.  “Mobile Bay” has some beautiful violin and guitar licks in it and Cash’s vocals are strong and moving as he sings a typical Johnny Cash theme: sympathy for hobos and bums down on their luck. “The Reverend Mr. Black” is reminiscent of “Daddy Sang Bass,” where Johnny Cash merges new lyrics with a Carter Family classic; Daddy Sang Bass relied heavily on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” while “The Reverend Mr. Black” relies on “Lonesome Valley.”  The comedy selection, “Chattanooga City Limit Sign” seems like a nod toward “One Piece at a Time,” but with a very subtle humor that might even me more funny that Cash’s hit song--if you know any truck drivers personally.


 “Ceiling, Four Walls and a Floor” is almost autobiographical for Cash, but ultimately the corny lyrics don’t quite convey sympathy for the misguided narrator nor do they drive home the song’s moral.  Lastly there is a song written by Billy Sherrill himself, “The Greatest Love Affair,” a patriotic song that sounds powerful musically and vocally, but again the lyrics fall short and seem overdone--it certainly doesn’t come close to touching upon the power of “Ragged Old Flag.”


johnny-cash-nashville-1978What we have with The Baron is really a typical Johnny Cash album from the time period: something with some hidden gems but some predictable comedy, gospel and patriotic flavor.  Sherrill also produced a number of duets with Johnny Cash, twice with Ray Charles and once with David Allan Coe.  Cash and Ray dueted first on Kris Kristofferon’s “Why Me Lord” and both giants deliver a very bluesy and heartfelt recitation that deserves to be put among both artists’ best duets.  The second Ray and Cash song, “Crazy Old Soldier,” was recorded in 1984, around the same time as Out Among the Stars, and was released on Ray Charles’ album Friendship.  Sadly, “Why Me Lord” is the more vibrant song and it was not released until 2010. If nothing else, anyone following Johnny Cash’s career closely knows that the best songs are not always released right away.


The most infamous song that Cash and Sherrill worked together on was “Chicken In Black,” a song Cash truly had hoped would be a hit but a song he did not expect to go far and was retrospectively ashamed to have recorded.  It is largely believed that the release of “Chicken in Black” as a single was the final push that Columbia Recorded needed to drop Cash from their label.  Rather write about the song, I encourage any readers to watch the music video.  The B-side to “Chicken in Black” was “The Battle of Nashville,” a song written by Cash that describes his frustration and pain with Music City, a place he had helped build that now had no care for him or his music. The final song that Cash worked with Sherrill on was the David Allan Coe duet, “Ten Commandments of Love,” in 1986.  “Commandments” is a slow love ballad, and Cash mainly sings backup vocals.  It also appears to be the last track that Johnny Cash would record for Columbia Records.


What can we expect from Out Among the Stars?  Most of the material was recorded in 1984 around the same time, and even during the same sessions, as “Chicken in Black” and “The Battle of Nashville.”  Cash had a lot to prove while making this album and even if he felt his relationship with Columbia was jaded, he was certainly not a quitter.  First, let’s look at “She Used to Love Me A Lot.”  The first teaser released upon the albums announcement, the song was recorded by Cash on June 14, 1984.  Comparing Cash’s version with David Allan Coe’s version reveals that each song is very similar--and more than likely Coe, who was working with Sherrill, simply copied Cash’s version when he released the song in December of 1984.  With no disrespect to Coe, it is very difficult not to imagine that Cash would have had as much success with the song or more if Columbia had not withheld the album.


Beyond “She Used to Love Me A Lot,” the songs seem to go in many directions.  Cash would later record both “I’m Movin’ On” and “I Came to Believe” with Rick Rubin, and he and June did perform “Baby Ride Easy” during a 1984 Christmas Special. All of the other songs have never been released in any form by Cash.  In addition to writing “I Came to Believe,” Cash also wrote the never-before-heard song “Call Your Mother.”  Other songs are written by artists familiar to Cash like Gene Autry and Hank Snow.  Two songs, “Tennessee” and “Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time” are actually outtakes from The Baron and were recorded in 1981.  This will lead us to our last subject of interest.


What will be the bonus track?  Here is the list of songs still unreleased and unaccounted for from Cash’s tenure with Sherrill.  If some version of the song as been released, it will be listed here.  My hope is it will be the Cash original “You Gave Me Music,” but only time will tell!


March, 1981

- Blessing in Disguise

- Billy Brown (a demo of his song has been released with the House of Cash book)

- New Cut Road (a different version of this was released on the album “Johnny 99”)

- Why Am I Thinking of You


May 1984

- I Know You Love Me

- You Gave Me Music (written by Cash)

- My Elusive Dreams

- I Still Miss Someone (written by Cash; this version has been rumored to be a duet with Willie Nelson.)

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On September 27, 2013, Mr. Henry Vaccaro, Sr., a personal friend of Johny Cash, was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his relationship with The Man in Black for the Johnny Cash Infocenter.  On behalf of myself, and the entire JCI team, thank you Mr. Vaccaro, for taking the time to share some stories about John Cash! 


Interview by: Jeff Emond


When did you first meet Johnny Cash, what was it like?


I first met Johnny at a reception following a show at Garden State Arts Center here in New Jersey in 1973.  I was formally introduced to him in 1976 at a similar reception.  I was in the construction business but had just invested in [the] Kramer Guitar [company].  That next day Johnny introduced me to Bob Wootton at their hotel. I took Bob and Marshall to the Kramer factory only 5 miles away. They were so impressed that night on stage [that] Bob, Marshall and Jerry Hensley all played Kramer instruments.  Bob and I really hit it off and I invited he and Earl Poole Ball to Bimini Bahamas on a fishing trip.  Bob enjoyed it so much that he told Johnny about it so the following year Johnny, John Carter, Bob and I went back to Bimini on one of our several trips together.


How did you get started in the guitar business?


I started in the guitar business when a young man came to my office and wanted to rent a vacant warehouse building that I owned.  I was so impressed with the guitar with an aluminum neck that I invested, eventually becoming the largest stockholder and Chairman of the Board. In 1987 Kramer was voted on by Guitar Player as the top guitar in the country.


You were a witness to Johnny Cash received the Shalom Peace Award.  Do you know any details on the work Cash did to get such a prestigious award?


In 1986 Johnny was Roasted at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis where he received the Shalom Peace Award from the Jewish National Fund for his work in promoting peace around the world. Johnny made a movie called Gospel Road in Israel.


Can you tell me how Johnny helped revive your religion?


I was a usher in Bob’s wedding party in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  After [the] wedding, Johnny, John Carter and I flew back to New Jersey in a learjet. While on [the] plane it was thunder[ing] and lightning; [and the] plane was shaking when John turned to me and asked what church I went too.  I told him that I didn't go to church, [and] he asked why. I told him [and] he said there is a God up there you should go back to church.  [To] make the story short, I did go back to church and the last five times that Johnny Cash ever came to Asbury Park he went to church with me.


Johnny Cash was deeply involved with Asbury Park, lived there for a time, and recorded a concert there--can you tell us about his involvement in Asbury and “The Great Lost Performance”?


Johnny and June were limited partners in the Berkeley Carteret Hotel restoration and maintained an apartment there from 1985 until 1993.  Johnny did several concerts at the Paramount Theater just across the street from the hotel.  Johnny did a ceremony for the local VFW and the MIA's. The lost performance I paid to have recorded along with a man named Clark Ensley.  On his own, several years later, Clark put out the CD and added his wife's vocals even though she never performed with John.


Cash was your business partner at some point.  How did that professional partnership begin?


The business partnership began while on the movie set [for] "Murder in Coweta County,” filmed in Georgia.  While on Johnny’s bus I showed June pictures of Asbury Park and the vacant hotel that I was buying. She fell in love with it and told Johnny [about the hotel] when he got on the bus.  We talked and he wanted to be part of it.  That's how it all started.


Is there any advice or words of wisdom that you remember Johnny giving you, or any comments he made that really stick with you to this day?


Words of wisdom. In 1993, I went bankrupt [and] Johnny invited me to spend Christmas and New Years with he and his family in Jamaica. We had a long talk one day and he said, “Henry, remember this: The only thing that went bankrupt was your wallet." He pointed to my head and my heart [and said,] “[A]s long as that brain is working and that heart keeps pumping you will be fine and will come back bigger and stronger than before.”


If you had to pick one song, and one album of Johnny Cash’s, what would be your favorite picks?


Favorite song: "Ways of a Woman in Love.”  Favorite album: Live at Folsom Prison.  Other top songs: “Flesh and Blood,” “Forty Shades of Green,” “Far Side Banks of Jordan,” and “Meet Me in Heaven.”  


What encouraged you to write your book, “Johnny Cash is a Friend of Mine,” now, several years after Cash’s passing?


I always wanted to write a book about my memories of him.  But I am not a writer.  So I hired an author, but he wanted [$50,000] to write the book [and] at that time, three years ago, my business was very slow and I didn't have the money.  So my son purchased a camera and said, “Dad, talk into this and tell your stories.”  I did, and for several weeks I sat and talked.  After finishing we found [an] online a service that would type [what is said] in a word document.  We hired them and soon all my stories were down on paper.  I never had a computer in my life, so at age 70, I [got] a computer and typed, one finger at a time, the entire book from that transcribed document. [O]nline we found an editor for two grand who we hired. The editor sent back [a] marked up manuscript which I revised [and] sent out to several artist agencies and book publishers [but] none would print it as I was not an experienced author and they felt it was a "niche book.”  My son found this company called Createspace, owned by Amazon, [and] we sent them the book including photos.  Next thing I know I am an author.


For more information on Mr. Vaccaro’s book "Johnny Cash Is a Friend of Mine" (which contains more stories and personal photos of Johnny Cash) please visit his Facebook page, Johnny Cash Is a Friend of Mine.



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The Johnny Cash Museum is unlike any other popular attraction that I’ve seen in Nashville--and I’ve been a tourist in music city three times.  The first two times I traveled to Nashville I went to see all that I could that was Cash-related.  That included the Country Music Hall of Fame (which a very small section on Cash) the now-replaced and renovated Musicians Hall of Fame (which had a decent amount of Cash items on display) and then visited Hendersonville and saw the remains of Cash’s home on Lake Hickory as well as the cemetery where the Man in Black, his beloved wife June Carter, Luther Perkins, and Cash’s parents are buried.  


While I enjoyed the trip I still felt like Nashville had forgotten one of its founders, one of those icons who transformed a city like any other into the “Music City” that it is today.  On the second trip I saw a Johnny Cash Mural that was faded by weather located just a couple streets from downtown Nashville and the stately Ryman Auditorium, which had a very interesting but small collection of Cash-related items on display.


It was not until the third trip that I found something that truly saluted Cash in a manner that a legend deserves.  I consider myself a devout Johnny Cash fan, but there was so much to discover at the museum that I was in awe!  I could read Cash’s first marriage certificate with Vivian Liberto, the mother of his four daughters.  I could read documents on Cash concerning his Air Force days.  They also had my personal favorite things to read--handwritten letters and lyrics!  

But the museum was not all reading.  


Accompanying all the great texts is a magnificent collection of clothing, instruments and even recording equipment!  There are iPads stationed around the museum that provide an auditory guide to many of the props and even a theatre that features Cash’s TV and movie life--the most well received of these videos being his outrageously funny guest spot on The Simpsons.  Another stunning exhibit is the wall of award-winning records: golden, platinum, multi-platinum, Cash had scored a plethora of awards during his career and they are all featured at the museum.  


As a die-hard Cash fan, I’ve always loved his movies and TV shows.  It was a treat to get to see the costumes that Cash wore and view the scripts for his movies.  Did you know that Cash acted alongside Kirk Douglas, Andy Griffith and Eli Wallach, to name a few?  Another feature I found fascinating was a partial reconstruction of his home, featuring a statue of Native American art that Cash must have treasured.  If you have seen the music video “Hurt” you will recognize the scenery.


My advice to fans of any degree: check out the museum and you won’t be disappointed.  I am admittedly a fan but do not cast me off as biased.  I have seen glimpses of Cash memorabilia in museums all over the midwest in the United States but nothing compares in quality or quantity to the Johnny Cash Museum.  The side of Johnny Cash that is nearest and dearest to me is his humanitarian work, and I was so glad to see that the museum had made space to showcase his efforts to improve conditions for Native Americans, prisoners and other causes.  Johnny Cash wasn’t just a good musician, he was a good man, and Bill Miller and everyone who helped to make the museum a reality are preserving his memory, as it should be.  


I would also advise fans to keep a lookout for the museum’s schedule of upcoming special events and the addition of new content.

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Patriotism is a word that is hard to define in America.  Is a patriot someone who blindly accepts the customs of his or her country?  Is a patriot a questioner--a revolutionary?  Does a patriot have to be political, or does a patriot transcend partisan conflicts? These questions are deeply personal and open to interpretation and prone to change as circumstances change.  Johnny Cash was also ever changing, and parts of his life were headlined in world news while other aspects belonged to him alone.


Johnny Cash has been claimed by America but we haven’t always done him justice in the states.  He is too hard to categorize in almost every sense.  His complexities can make his fans feel uneasy.  He is a man who was an outspoken Christian, yet Cash himself usually denied to affiliate with a branch of Christianity and simply called himself “spiritual.”  But that broad label does not quite do him justice--as his daughter Rosanne once said, her father might better be described as a “mystic.”  As Cash himself stated in his second autobiography, he kept both a Navajo Dream Catcher and a crucifix in his trailer to ward off bad spirits, and he openly--but quietly--sought to put an end to religious differences (he won the Jewish National Fund’s “Shalom Peace Award” for seeking to peacefully resolve religious conflicts in Israel in 1986).  He recorded a Kahil Kibran book that combined Christian, Islamic and Buddhist philosophy.  His faith emphasized a core component of the positive aspects of freedom in America: Johnny Cash was not afraid to proclaim his own beliefs nor was he about to defending, encourage and embrace all the differences of this melting pot nation.


He was an activist and humanitarian, but supported ideas rather than specific political parties.  However, many people today try to romanticize him as being above politics completely, and that statement does not accurately describe the Man in Black.  On February 12, 1988, he did endorse Al Gore for president, and the two maintained a friendship for the rest of Cash’s life.  But it was the friendship with the person, never the political affiliation, on which Cash based his relationship with politicians.  He met with every president starting with Nixon.  He always treated the presidents with due respect, befitting of their office.  It seems that Cash realized, especially once he started his own TV show late in 1969, that he was a public figure, and for better or worse, people would follow his example in making choices and also use him to promote their own causes.


So Cash used his influence carefully but he did not ignore the responsibility that fame brought about. This author believes that Cash became an actual American idol after the run of his TV Show, where he solidified his stance as someone who could oppose war but support troops, who could defend hippies and perform for Nixon, who could get Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Bob Hope and Bob Dylan on the same show.  He was rebel, he was a southern gentleman, he was a uniter.


In 1974 Cash made his first original album of songs written only by him--a patriotic album in many senses--and it was in many ways a controversial album.  Cash was catering to two groups--the liberal folk fans who clung to his concept albums in the 1960s and the new conservative Nashville crowd who loved his more traditional country and gospel shift.  


Cash’s 1974 album was Ragged Old Flag and the title song became a widely adopted patriotic anthem.  The song wasn’t afraid.  It wasn’t a song of blind patriotism.  It acknowledged the many races (black, yellow, red and white) that shed red blood to help keep this nation alive.  It managed to show our strength through all of our wars while also touching upon the tragedy of war.  It mentioned the scandals that our government had recently suffered and all the commotion about flag burning.  The issue of flag burning can bring us to a story that helps to define Johnny Cash’s idea patriotism and responsibility fanbase--his countrymen.


Before performing “Ragged Old Flag” in the 1980s and early 1990s, Cash would open the song by stating, “I love all the freedoms we have in this country.  I’m thankful for our right to burn the flag if you  want to.  But I’m especially proud of my right to bear arms, so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.”  One day, after doing that song with The Highwaymen (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson) he went backstage.  As Kristofferson recalls it: “My son Johnny [Kristofferson], who was about 4 or 5 at the time, said to John [Cash] when we were backstage, ‘I’m gonna shoot you!’  And it was a line that always got [Johnny Cash] a tremendous amount of applause.  And [Cash] looked at my son and he said, ‘I’m never gonna sing that again.’  And he never did.”  Johnny Cash was responsible with the power he held over his audiences and would not compromise what he felt his ideals were for the mere sake of  entertainment.


His album Ragged Old Flag was also uncompromising.  “Don’t Go Near The Water” was his protest song against businesses that were careless with pollution.  “Southern Comfort” was an ironic ballad of a tobacco employee whose line of work was slowly killing him--and the theme of the exploited worker was also present in “King of the Hill,” where Cash admits that the American dream doesn’t really come true for all hard workers.  But he also sang of his newfound faith, of God and Jesus in “Pie in the Sky” and “Good Morning Friend.”  He sings for the truck driver, for the prisoner, for heartbroken and the poor.  These are the roads that Cash travels in just one album.  This author admits that he could not find a “target audience” that would agree with the message in every song.  But there is no one that I can think of who could not identify with at least one of the songs.


Johnny Cash isn’t only America’s treasure.  A part of him belongs to the world.  He was open-minded, a man who saw no boundaries in his work, beliefs and in life.  He helped SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica and Germany as readily as he did in his own country, because he knew humanity was global, and that our differences were not as strong as our similarities.  But it is only fitting that we think of this Air Force Veteran, who admitted to not being “military minded,” but who played for his troops overseas,  as our day of independence arrives.


Johnny Cash is as difficult to define as patriotism itself, but maybe it is only by going down many roads that we can find the definition.  I have asked some friends and family members who knew Cash to share some memories of Johnny’s patriotism to honor his memory on the 4th of July.


“I’m happy to pay my taxes.”   This is the simple patriotic quote that son-in-law and musician Jimmy Tittle remembers Johnny Cash saying.  Jimmy Tittle adds, “Considering his tax bracket, he never complained.  Pretty unique, huh?”


Bill Miller, a long-time friend and founder of both the official Johnny Cash website and the recent Johnny Cash Museum said, "Johnny Cash is as much a part of the fabric of America as the Founding Fathers. With his magnificent recitation of Ragged Old Flag, he took the story of our country to people in lands in every corner of the globe."


Henry Vaccaro, a long-time friend of Cash and author of “Johnny Cash Is a Friend of Mine” said “Johnny Cash was against war and was a man of peace. But he loved our country and went overseas to Vietnam just to entertain our troops. June would go out of her way to bring back messages from the wounded and personally call their families. Johnny even went to our base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to put on a show.”


Article by: Jeff Emond

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On January 1st, 2013, I was given the chance to interview Johnny Cash's daughter Kathy Cash-Tittle.  For over an hour she graciously answered my questions and shared some stories about her father.  It was an amazing experience, and I feel like there will be some stories that even the oldest Cash fans never heard, printed here for the first time.  I'm sincerely thankful to Kathy Cash, who was wonderfully friendly and made the first day of the new year one that I will never forget.


Interview by: Jeff Emond


Did Johnny Cash always have a broad acceptance of different genres of music and musical artists?


Always. He loved every type of music you could imagine. He was interested in everything from rock, to pop, gospel, country, you name it, he liked it. He would always research music, too. He’d tell the women who worked at his office, “Here’s some money go buy me all the top 10 [songs on Billboard the charts.]” He studied music like he studied the Bible, like he studied everything else.


Was he into any specific genre most of all?


When he had downtime and listened to [music] for enjoyment, he would listen to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Blind Boys of Alabama… it was usually gospel.


What was his favorite gospel group?


The Blind Boys of Alabama.


Do you have a favorite song of your father’s?


Of all his songs I have three that I can listen to forever and ever. “Flesh and Blood,” “Forty Shades of Green,” and “I Walk the Line.” Contrary to what some people might think, he did write “I Walk the Line” for my mom, and I think it’s beautiful. I think those are all so artistic and poetic. I remember being little and I thought “Home of the Blues” was such an incredible song; I could picture all of it. “Forty Shades of Green” turned out to be funny because after going to Ireland, when I was probably 18 or 19, we went to a pub to have lunch and someone recognized dad—of course everyone knew him, it was in the 70s. And the man said “Someone said you wrote ‘Forty Shades of Green.’” And [Johnny] said, “I did.” And the man said “That’s a classic Irish folk song.” And [Johnny] said, “I wrote it” and the man said “No you didn’t” and they argued about it. There’s just something about that song that makes you picture every single bit of it. When Johnny and [Vivian] first went to Ireland, Johnny looked out the window of the airplane and said, “Oh my God, there has got to be forty shades of green!” and he wrote that down on a yellow legal sized notepad he always carried on him.


What style of music do you cherish most?


I’m into all kinds of things. I’ve got everybody from Bonnie Raitt to Led Zeppelin to 70s hip. As far as dad’s music. . . I can listen to the old stuff without being emotional, because it’s from when I was a kid; it still makes me feel good and it’s comforting. But the older stuff, when he was older and he got sick—it’s hard for me to watch the “Hurt” video and it’s hard for me to listen to those songs. And when he died [Hurt] was playing everywhere, and few weeks after he died John Carter and I went to accept the award for the song. That one is hard for me to watch because it wasn’t long before dad and June would pass away. A lot of people don’t know this, but [Johnny] was pretty much blind the last couple of years that he was alive, and he was in a wheelchair. The first time he showed me “Hurt” was in his office. I just started crying and he asked, “What’s the matter, honey?” And I said, “It’s so sad but it’s beautiful!” He said, “Aw, that’s art! It’s part of life.” I said, “I know, but watching it is really hard.” He said, “Look at it from an artistic point of view.” He was trying to talk me out of being upset, but it’s hard to watch. That was obviously his goodbye song, he did record several after that, but that was hard. I still have a little trouble watching it. I can look at pictures of dad when he was young and it doesn’t affect me like it does when I see pictures of when he was older. To me he was two different people, he was daddy and then he was Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was the public guy and daddy was daddy—he was so different at home I never thought about it much until we left home and [fans] would be waiting outside the gates.


Is there a specific time period of Johnny Cash’s music you like the most?


I didn’t like Mercury too much—he didn’t either.  I didn’t like that period of his music. I was disappointed because I knew he wasn’t doing things that he wanted to do. I was working in dad’s publishing company at the time and he would just get so frustrated. “They won’t let me do what I want to do.” So Sun, Columbia, and of course Rick Rubin’s years are all important to me. I don’t pay much attention to [Mercury]. I’m sure Mercury won’t be happy.


Johnny Cash has recorded some powerful political songs like "Don't Go near the Water." Did they have special meanings to him?


Yes. He was very careful about how he chose his words [when speaking] publically about the world and what was going on, but he talked about it a lot at home. He woke up every morning between 4 and 5 thirty and the last 3 or 4 years that he was alive I spent the night over there with him and June at least 3 or 4 times a week and we’d—it was pretty funny—he’d walk by my room and cough really loud or do something to make sure I’m awake. Then when he got in the wheelchair he’d just holler. We would have coffee and watch CNN every morning for about an hour and then he’d turn the TV off and talk about [the news]. Then he’d say “Okay, let’s go shake that off. Let’s go outside.” So we’d go outside and listen to the birds, and he’d throw his head back and just listen to all the nature sounds. We’d talk about different things, but when CNN was first turned off, he’d always comment on what was going on. He knew exactly what was going to happen.


In March 2002 we watched CNN and President Bush was on there and he turned the TV off and looked in my direction and said, “Baby, I’m really, really worried.” I said, “About what, dad?” He said, “This President’s going to take us to war.” I said, “It sounds like it, doesn’t it?” And he said, “No, he’s going to take us to war and it’s going to be hard. I worry and I pray and I cry for my children, my grandchildren and even my great grandchildren, because killing never solves anything.” He said, “It causes a lot more problems and that’s just not something I believe in.” I said, “Yeah, I know. I don’t either.” He said, “I’m not going to be here, but I really worry about what’s going to happen when [Bush] takes us to war. It wasn’t long after that [Bush took us to war]. I was with dad the morning it was announced and he said, “I told you this was coming. It’s going to bad.” We talked about it for a little while and he said, “Let’s go shake it off. Let’s go outside.” So we went outside and listened to the bird. You know that line in “Flesh and Blood” when he says that “A Cardinal sang just for me and I thanked him for the song?” It never failed, he did this every time we’d go outside--he’d always throw his head back and close his eyes and just listen and I’d be really quite out there with him, and he’d open his eyes and say, “Thank you!” The first time he did it I [asked], “Who are you talking to, dad?” He [asked], “You didn’t even hear those birds sing for us, did you?” I was ashamed, I said, “No, I was looking at squirrels and wasn’t paying attention.” He said, “Honey, you got to pay attention. If you don’t spend a few minutes with nature each day you’re losing something.” After that, every time he’d close his eyes and listen he’d always holler, “Thank you!” and he was thanking the birds for their song. So that line in “Flesh and Blood” is true, he really did thank the birds, and I thought that was pretty sweet.


Many people say that it was during Johnny Cash’s tour of Vietnam that he adopted a pacifist stance towards war, is this true?


Well, he was like that before, but I think when he went to Vietnam it really hit him—it really got to him. He was so upset when he came back; he talked about men that had shrapnel in them, and [how] they had used Agent Orange, and all these things that he was just horribly baffled by, and he really became more vocal about it. He saw firsthand what kind of harm and damage it was doing, and the families that were being affected, and the men and the women that were over there fighting. And he said, “For what? For what, why are we here? This is just senseless to me.” He did become more vocal about it, but he was really careful in public about what he said, because he had been to the White House and met every president since the 60s, and he was trying to appear to be in the middle line, but he really wasn’t. He was completely against war; he was completely against fighting because of someone else’s religion when they had been fighting for centuries over it.


He said, “[Vietnam is] none of our business, we have no business being over there.” He said, “We need to take care of our country, protect us, and that’s all we need to do—take care of us.” He said, “This is just senseless sending our young men up there and putting them in harm’s way when it’s not our fight.” He said, “I understand why some of the presidents feel that they should [go to war], but I still think it’s wrong, it’s just stirring up more hatred, aggression and violence.” He’d say, “Nothing good comes from violence.” And that’s true.

So when people in this last election and the election before, when people say, “If Johnny Cash were here, he’d be a republican!” and I thought, “He’d better not come back; Boy, you didn’t know him.”   He certainly was not for a lot of the stuff that is going on, he’d be horrified. All over the world, he’d be horrified, but he knew it was coming.


Can you tell us something about Johnny Cash’s charity work?


He hardly told us anything that he did [for charity]. The only reason we knew anything was if the press showed up. But when dad died, [and I was] at the funeral home, I had at least four people come up to me and say, “Did you know that your dad changed my life?” and they were sobbing. I said, “No what do you mean?” One said, “He sent me to college. I was an A student, but my family didn’t have the money to send me to college.” I asked, “How did he know you?” He said, “Oh, I was so-and-so’s housekeeper’s son.” I said, “Really?” And he said, “Yeah I met him twice, and he paid for my college, and now I’m an attorney.” And I was like, “What, really?” And I heard that all day at the funeral home.


[Johnny Cash] and his friend, John Rollins—of Rollins Protective Services and Pest Control—they both had houses in Jamaica, and started the S.O.S. children’s village in Jamaica. Jamaica is so poverty stricken, that people all over Jamaica were finding little babies in the trash and abandoned in churches, so they started the S.O.S. children’s village in Jamaica. It started out with one house, two parents, and twelve children. Now it has spread like crazy. [Johnny Cash] supported and contributed to autistic children, [children with] cerebral palsy. . . God, I don’t’ know how many charities. He sent people to college that I didn’t even know about until he passed away. He did so much, it’s unbelievable. I remember in Nashville, he was going down the street, and there was a man sitting there was a man with one leg sitting there, but he was a veteran. Dad asked, “Where are you going?” The man said, “I’m trying to get to Vanderbilt, I think they’re gonna get me a prosthetic leg. I’m gonna have to pay a little bit for it, but my G.I. bill will pay for the rest.” I don’t know how much money my dad gave him, and then he told him to get in the car. [Cash] drove him to Vanderbilt and told the people [at Vanderbilt] to send the bill to him and to fit [the veteran] with the best leg they have. He just did stuff like that all the time.


He was such a sweet man. He never told anybody about most of the [charity work] he did. I found out a lot after he passed away. I got letters saying, “Because of you, I started by own business . . . or thanks to you I became partners with. . .” He was really, really tender-hearted. Uncle Tom, dad’s younger brother, tells a story about when in the late 50’s [Johnny Cash] had just come into money, and he was playing at a high school. [Johnny] was in a locker room, and Tom asked “What are you doing?” Johnny said, “I’m looking in these lockers.” Tom asked, “What for?” Johnny said, “The most worn-out pair of shoes I can find.” Uncle Tom asked, “What are you doing that for?” Dad said, “To find who needs new shoes the worst.” So he kept looking until he found them, then he left a hundred dollar bill in locker with the most worn-out shoes. He always did stuff like that.


What were Johnny’s religious views; I understand he was always nonjudgmental in his views.


[Johnny Cash was] very [nonjudgmental]. He never tried to preach to anybody or anything like that. He said, “Example is the best way, and I always feel that I always do the best I can.” And when asked what religion he was, he’d say “Southern Baptist,” because that’s how he was raised. But he’d usually say, “I’m just Christian, I just believe in Jesus Christ. That’s all I know, I don’t have all the answers.”


What were his thoughts when he recorded the audiobook, Eye of the Prophet, which combines Christian, Islamic and Buddhist philosophies?


He believed in all of that. He believed in whatever was good for an individual, as long as they believed in something. He’d say, “I just think it’s good to believe in a higher power, it doesn’t matter who it is—if it’s Buddha, Jesus, a guru, whoever. It’s important that everyone believe in someone higher than themselves.” He encouraged us [children] to. . . like, one time, Rosanne was reading a book when we were in our teens on reincarnation. He walked in and asked, “Are you interested in that?” She said, “Yeah.” He said, “Well then read everything you can about it—learn all you can about it.” She asked, “Do you believe in reincarnation?” He said, “No, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. You need to make up your own mind about what you believe in.” I was reading Edgar Cayce books around the same time, and we talked about prophets. He said, “You know the bible talks about false prophets.” I said, “Yeah I know.” He said, “There is one I truly believe in—Edgar Cayce fascinates me.” I said, “Daddy, you just said you don’t believe in prophets.” He said, “Well, I believe that Edgar Cayce had a gift from God and used it for the well-being of everyone he could reach.” And he loved talking about [Cayce] and read all his books. He was very versatile with being open to anything. He made his mind up for himself. But there were a lot of people who really fascinated him, and he didn’t question them or think they were the work of the devil or whatever. I remember when I was working in the publishing company he wrote that song, “You’re so Heavenly Minded you’re No Earthly Good.” He walked in with the lyrics and the tape and asked, “Can you get this published for me?” I said, “Okay. That’s an interesting title.” He said, “Well, it’s a true title. We’ve all met those people that think they’re so high-and-mighty they can’t do good for anybody else.” I said, “That’s true.” He said, “Well, that’s what I wrote that about.” He said, “You have to live what you believe in, you can’t just say it and expect people to believe. I don’t have any use for people who talk about [doing good], but do nothing to help each other.” He wrote “What on Earth Will You Do for Heaven’s Sake” around the same time, and I published that song, too.


Was it different having a dad who was and is a celebrity?


A lot of people have asked me since I was born, “What is it like to have Johnny Cash for a dad?” I don’t know anything else, it felt normal to me. I guess I realized in the 70s how famous he really was, it kind of took me by surprise. I thought, “Well, I live in California, I spend summers with him and Christmas and whenever he comes to spend time with us.” But to me he was just dad and I didn’t know anything else. I don’t think I realized how big of a celebrity he really was until I was in my teens.


Most of my memories are all family memories and great times that we had and great talks that we had. I really miss him. He was the smartest man I ever knew—and not just because he was my dad, [but] because he was.  From what I’ve seen, it seems that Johnny’s family, June’s family, and Vivian’s family were very close.


My mom [Vivian] was understandably really hurt at first; [the hurt] lasted a little while. But she was such a good mom [and she] wanted her whole life to be a mother, and [she] did the best job she could. She set [all the problems] aside. I have pictures of mom and her husband at dinner with dad and June and all of us at dad’s house. Dad game to graduations, sometimes June came sometimes she didn’t, but it was never an issue if she did. John Carter came to my mom’s funeral. June always said, “There’s no stepchildren in this family; they’re all our children.”   I remember Rosey [Nix Adams]—June’s daughter—staying at our house in Venture for three weeks at a time, she loved my mom. Of course, she loved us, too.  We were a very well blended family. I think it was very successful the way they made sure all of us were sisters, all of us were family. We didn’t act weird or awkward [around each other.] It’s impressive when you’re a kid and you think, “How’s all this going to work out?” And then they get in the same room and everything’s just fine and you think, “Thank God that worked!”


There was so much love for us [children] from dad and mom and June that there just wasn’t any hateful, nasty stuff that a lot of families go through. I never heard dad say one bad thing about mom, and I never heard mom say one bad thing about dad—ever. She loved him until she died and she would value that. She was respectful and June was respectful and it was good. [Vivian] came to Tennessee after June died—it was in July, June died in May—and she had a two hour visit with dad. Vivian asked me to take her to dad, and I said, “Sure I’ll be glad to.” I called dad to ask how he was feeling, he said “I want to see Vivian.” So I brought her up there and they laughed and they talked. But of course, it started off a little somber, mom told him how sorry she was about June and they both cried for a few minutes. Then dad said, “Okay, let’s talk about something else.” They talked about different things and mom said, “I’ve written a book that I don’t want to publish unless you say it’s okay.” He said, “Vivian, if anybody should write a book, it should be you. Of course it’s okay.” And he gave her his blessing and wrote it on paper. She said, “I don’t need it on paper.” He said, “Yeah, you will. Some publisher is gonna ask you for it.”

I tried to leave the room a couple times and they both said, “No stay, stay!”  It was just me and dad and mom. I thought maybe they don’t want me to stay, maybe they have something to say to each other—but I stayed in there the whole time. It was really a sweet visit and I’m so glad she came to Tennessee and saw him, because he died in September.


What was it like performing with Johnny Cash?


I didn’t do that [for] long, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all. I’m not shy at all, but he put me on stage and my knees were knocking. I didn’t enjoy it at all. So he gave the opportunity: if you want to sing, sing; if you don’t, don’t. I [sang] four or five times and finally said, “This just isn’t me.” And he said, “That’s okay baby, if it’s not you, it’s not you.” So I sat it out. Rosanne, Carlene, Cindy and I all sang for a while, but I just didn’t enjoy it. I don’t know why, I just didn’t like being on a stage in front of thousands of people.


What was it like singing on the Johnny Cash Christmas special with all of his daughters and stepdaughters?


I remember it well. [Johnny Cash] was trying not to cry because Maybelle [Carter] had just died. We were at the Beverly Hills hotel and he came in to tell us that Maybelle had died, and were supposed to start filming the next day. I remember he and June talking about cancelling the show, and dad said, “If I do that, I’ve got a contract, and it is going to be a legal problem. What would I do? I’m fine with cancelling it if I need to but. . .” They talked about it for a long time, and finally he came in and said, “Okay girls, we’re gonna do this show. Then we’re all going to Tennessee for the funeral.” I remember the wardrobe department asking us about what we want to wear, let’s keep it all the same color, blah blah blah. I was like, “God, I don’t want to do this.” But I’m glad I did, because it meant a lot to dad. If you’ll notice at the beginning he says, “This year we’re doing this without Mother Maybelle Carter,” he was really trying not to cry. That was one of the few times I saw him cry—when Mother Maybelle died, when my grandma died, and of course when June died. I only saw him cry a few times, but I think that’s the first time I saw him cry. I thought that dad’s not going to do this [show] very well, but he did.


What was Johnny Cash like around Christmas?


Well, around Christmas, for the last several years, he wasn’t here. In November he would have a huge family dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’d exchange presents, then [Johnny and June] would go to Jamaica until March because he couldn’t take the winter, [because] he had pneumonia. When he got in a wheelchair, he couldn’t go [to Jamaica].   [Johnny and June] would love being in [Jamaica] in warm weather while we were here freezing.  They’d invite us to come down there for a week or so and hang out. But for the last three or four years they were here, because they needed to be taken care of. I stayed with them a lot; I finally talked dad in letting nurses stay [with him] around the clock.


A lot of people helped—my sisters came—we’d stay a week or two at a time. We were afraid; dad wasn’t feeling well and he was in a wheelchair. [Johnny and June] moved into and owned the house across the street [from where they lived] which had on level, which they bought my grandparents when they moved [to Tennessee] from California. When my grandparents died, [Johnny and June] kept the house. When dad [had to use] a wheelchair full-time, they moved into that house for a while and had an elevator put into the big house so dad could go down the floors in his wheelchair. But until then, it was pretty rough, because [Johnny] was pretty much stuck on the third floor. I’d say, “Come on daddy, let’s take a road trip.” And I’d get him and his chair and we’d go to Wal-Mart, or Lowe’s, or Walgreens or Sam’s Club. And I’d ask, “What are we looking for?” And he’d say, “Oh, I don’t know. We’ll know when we see it.”


I remember he thought it was fun and he came back with a ton of Simpsons stuff. He gave everybody cool Simpsons stuff that Matt Groening signed. I still have what dad gave me, and my kids do too. We all had an autographed cartoon picture of the Simpsons and he gave my son a Simpsons chess set. He gave me a Simpsons day planner. He gave us all a bunch of stuff, it was all really cool. When I saw the episode, I thought it was just great. He thought [The Simpsons] was funny, he liked [the show]. He [would] brag, “They asked me to be on The Simpsons.” I asked, “What are you going to play?” He said, “I don’t know; I think a dog or something.”  I said, “Well that’s interesting.” Then he ended up being the coyote, and I thought that was better than a dog.


Did he like acting and his acting roles?


He loved acting. He basically played himself.  I was on the Columbo set when he did that, and he really enjoyed that. Before that he did Westerns and Five Minutes to Live which was just God-awful. But he really liked [acting] after he did Columbo, and he said, “That was so much fun. I really like this for something different. I get to stay in the same place for a while.” I was there when he did Murder in Coweta County.


Do you remember anything about his movie with Eli Wallach, "The Pride of Jesse Hallam"?


He really did a great job on [The Pride of Jesse Hallam]. He actually got into the role so much that, weeks before [the movie was filmed], he was sounding out words and trying to find out what it felt like to not be able to read. He was really playing that part at home. After he did that movie, I volunteered to be a teacher at the Literacy Council in Summer County, which was a great experience for me. I got to teach people to read, which was nice. He inspired me to do that from the movie. I didn’t realize how many people illiterate people we have in this state (Tennessee). It was shocking, so I helped the Literacy Council for about a year, [and] then I developed a tremor disorder and had to quit. But I really enjoyed [teaching], and I might [join a Literacy Council] again. There was even a little eighty-year-old man there trying to learn how to read, and it was really inspiring to see someone that old try to learn how to read. It’s a great thing that [the Literacy Council does].


What do you think about the Johnny Cash museum coming to Nashville?


I’m excited about it; I think there should be something to honor dad in Nashville. There’s not much. There’s a mural downtown, and different artists honor him, but I think [the museum] is going to be really successful. Bill Miller has collected [Cash items] since he was a kid, and I know for a fact he has the largest collection of [Cash items] for any one person. [Bill Miller] is doing something really good, and I think it is important that dad gets honored in [Nashville].


Can you tell us anything about your website and store?


My poor blog, I let it go for a long time. I just started writing again a few weeks ago. On my website is an online store. There are some pretty cool things you can buy through that. It’s been there four or five years. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with what we have.


I understand your husband, Jimmy Tittle, worked for Cash. Is that how you met him?


Actually, [Jimmy] worked for Merle Haggard in the 70s and I met him through my sister Rosey. I was a single parent, and I had little guitar pulls at my house. We’d have maybe fifteen or twenty people; I wanted to keep it small because my house was small. And I had a small son, and I didn’t want him up all night. So I would have these dinners and guitar pulls, and Rosey brought Jimmy one night, and that’s how we met. We were really good friends for a few months before we started dating.


[Jimmy] worked with Merle Haggard—he was one of the Strangers in the 70s. Then he came back to Nashville and worked with The Carter Family and a bunch of other people. We became friends, and he started hanging out at my house a lot. We’d go bowling, go out to dinner. . . at lot of stuff like that. Dad called one day and said, “I hear you know Jimmy Tittle.” I said, “Yes, sir, he’s standing right here.”  Johnny said, “You’re kidding.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “I need a bass player.” I said, “Do you want to talk to him?” He said, “Yeah.” Dad was going to do Saturday Night Live in two or three week. Johnny said, “I don’t know what I’m going to sing from night to night, so just listen to my records and learn what you can.” Jimmy got off the phone and said, “Oh my God! How many records do you have of your dad?” I said, “All of them.” And he said, “I need all of them. I think he’s going to test me.” I said, “Knowing dad he will.” A couple weeks later we went to New York City and Jimmy was on Saturday Night Live, and that was one of his first gigs. [Jimmy] worked with [Johnny Cash] until we got married and had two children; he quit shortly after our daughter was born. When dad started working with Rick Rubin, he used [Jimmy] for every session. [Jimmy] played bass, sang harmony. . . he was at every session. They were really good friends. It was very sweet that dad would call him and say, “James, what are you doing?” Jimmy would say, “Nothing, John,” and Johnny would say, “Want to take a road trip?” Then he and Jimmy would go somewhere like Lowe’s and just look around or to the studio. It hit Jimmy as hard as it hit me when dad died.


Is Jimmy Tittle currently working on any new music?


He’s always doing something. He’s been producing, and he has a couple things going. One is a book he’s working on. He has a nice little setup here with equipment. He’s not actually working on a new album right now, [but] he’s working on some songs that he started a while back. We just moved last year, and it’s been a lot of transition getting rid of things and storing things. He has a website with some of his videos there.


I had one last question: I know that Johnny Cash was an avid reader. Did he have a favorite author or book?


He was into books about the Civil Wars and prisons. His library was huge. He had thousands of books in his office, and he said to me one time, “You know, I’ve read every one of these books?” I said, “I don’t doubt it.” He said, “Some of them I’ve read twice.” He read up on Roman history. He was a real buff on several different things. He loved anything he could get his hands on about history and the saints—of course he wrote The Man in White about Paul—it took him nine years to write that. He loved books, and he had read every one of them.


For more information on Kathy Cash, you can visit her website.

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