It’s going to be a particularly content-free day here at Castle Yesteryear—my father, or “Conan the Contrarian,” as we call him, is coming over for assistance on a project—but I did want to take a few moments to point you to an interesting article at Salon.com. I read Salon on a fairly regular basis (as all good pinkos should, I suppose) and they really do some first-rate stories—this one’s an excerpt from the recently published book by Antonino D'Ambrosio (A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears) and it talks about the history of one of the Man in Black’s most controversial albums and the single from that LP, which he performed for President Richard Milhous Nixon in July 1972 (Nixon had requested that Johnny do Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee and Guy Drake’s Welfare Cadillac).
With the nation still mired in
Years later, Man in Black is remembered as a sartorial statement, and What Is Truth? as a period piece, if at all. Of the three songs that Cash played for Nixon, the most enduring, and the truest to his vision, was The Ballad of Ira Hayes.
I sort of take exception to that last bit only because I still think What is Truth? resonates some thirty-five years after its release, and to dismiss Man in Black as a “sartorial statement” is an indication that people really haven’t listened to the lyrics of that song. Other than that tiny nitpick, I feel it’s a really great read—and I’m going to have to track down this book at my nearest local library.