7 Aralık 2010 Salı

Johnny Cash and His Music

Music has been one of the most indispensable things in my life.I think it’s such a good way to express one’s feelings and ideas or share them.It is somehow the best way to satisfy and nourish one’s soul in my opinion.
If I’m to mention about my personal music journey;I want to start from early ages.I’ve been more into pop, especially Turkish when I was little,around nine years old.Then I started discovering rock music when I was a teenager like many of other contemporary teenagers did at that time. In high school,I had a great interest in grunge,especially Nirvana.I read many books about Kurt Cobain and his music.Later, my sytle started shifting more towards rock’n’roll and blues which I personally can define like more melodic than grunge.Though I still really like grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam,I prefer rock’n’roll today.It gives me much more pleasure while listening.
I started discovering this music with Elvis Presley listening to his songs like “Heartbreak Hotel” and feeling the urge to dance and have fun inside me with the fast rhytm of it.Then came Johnny Cash for me.First song with which I met him was “Hurt” which still stands as one of my favorite songs.This is a song far from fun and it occured to me in a pretty depressive time of my life so it affected me pretty deeply.

Later on,I decided to listen other songs by this man who made this beautiful song.And then came “The Man in Black” and “Falsom Prison Blues” which were musically more fun and very much close to Elvis’s style.Then I found about,after some research, that it is because both Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley were rockabilly singers which is a branch of rock’n roll.
Don't know what rockabilly sounds like? Listen to above samples!
This rockabilly style evolved out of post-war country-boogie, hillbilly, and rhythm & blues.It was played with spare instrumentation: a twangy electric guitar and an acoustic stand-up bass whose strings were snapped percussively in a technique dubbed "slap-back" (which sometimes made drums unnecessary). Between 1945 and 1954 these different musical styles crossed paths and developed the hybrid known as rockabilly. The name comes from the mixture of “rock” and “hillbilly”,the country music and it was originated in the South America. It was mostly popular in 40s and 50s starting with Elvis Presley and Bill Haley. And as I stated before, rockabilly is influenced by many kinds of music like rock, blues, country, hillbilly boogie and bluegrass and mixes their elements into this kind of music.I think what makes this music so different and good for me is basically this mixture of many sounds and rhythms.
As I regard it as important , I want to briefly mention about the mucis styles that influenced rockabilly.The country-boogie style is which had grown out of jazz boogie-woogie rhythms and The Delmore Brothers is one of the first examples of this kind. As important as this in the evolution of rockabilly was the hillbilly style of Hank Williams. His honky-tonk hillbilly sound, utilizing steel guitar, acoustic bass and profound influence on Bill Haley and Carl Perkins are important in the development of rockabilly.The final ingredient in the rockabilly mix, rhythm & blues, owes much to Sam Phillips.His use of flutter echo and over-amplification created a stark, primitive sound that he later adapted to his efforts with country artists.
In fact, it was a guitar riff from Junior Parker a "Love My Baby" in Elvis Presley's 1955 version of "Mystery Train"  that positively forms a link between the country and rhythm & blues styles. Indeed, it was Presley's historic recordings that crystallized the emerging rockabilly style.
Nevertheless,while Elvis undisputably stands as the founder of the new idiom, it was, in fact, Carl Perkins' original self-penned recording of "Blue Suede Shoes" (1956) which resulted in international recognition for rockabilly. Perkins'  recordings were all rockabilly combining all the elements of the style. These recordings constitute one of the most fruitful and exciting periods in the history of rock 'n roll Rockabilly musicians recorded in the most uninhibited fashion with the sparest instrumentation, often on primitive equipment. Most of today's music, cold and calculated, pales in comparison with the simplicity and beauty of these early pioneering efforts.
If we come to the relationship of Johnny Cash with rockabilly, he was one of the first rockabilly stars of the '50s, along with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley as I mentioned before. In 1955 he published his song Hey, Porter with his group the Tennessee Three.This song and another Cash original, Cry! Cry! Cry!  were released in July. Cry! Cry! Cry!  managed to crack Billboard's Top 20, peaking at No. 14.[61] , Nevetheless,his great success came later, in the late '60s when he popularized country and western music.
With their first single "Cry, Cry, Cry,"  Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two had great success the song becoming a country hit. After some other songs,the group had their first major pop country hit with Cash's own "I Walk the Line" in 1956 which is again one of his most famous  and my favorite songs which gave its name later to the biographical movie about Johnny Cash in 2005.
 The group continued having a great success playing in many places.They subsequently achieved major country hits with Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way" in 1958..
Then came hard times for Cash about his emotional state. Leaving the Grand Ole Opry and moving to California, Cash started working with June Carter of the legendary Carter Family, in 1961. feeling the strain of constant touring, and the collapse of his first marriage and death of friend Johnny Horton, Cash began taking amphetamines and tranquilizers to cope.
In 1963 his first major hit came: "Ring of Fire.".Cash soon began using the Greenwich Village folk music scene and another hit of his "Understand Your Man" had a definite folk feel.
Though his style had shifted to country more,in 1980 he returned to his early style of music, recording Rockabilly Blues with Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds of Rockpile. Despite increasing popular success, Cash's life seem to deteriorate. In October 1965 he was arrested in possession of stimulants and tranquilizers. After being found near death in a small Georgia town in 1967, Cash decided to reform. With June Carter providing moral support he cleaned up his act. The pair had a smash hit with "Jackson" in 1967 and married in March 1968. And then they made the hit "If I Were a Carpenter."
What I like about him most is that his lyrics are not meaningless,they have really deep meanings when you read or listen them.The lyrics just get deep inside you and affect you like Hurt as I mentioned before.In addition, you can see his social consciousness in the early '70s with the hits "What Is Truth" and "The Man in Black." He also assisted in the production of The Trail of Tears, a dramatization of the tragedy of the Cherokee Indians.
In 1985 Cash joined Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson to tour and record as the Highwaymen. They had many hits and in 1986 Cash reunited with old Sun alumni Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison for Class of '55, contributing "I Will Rock and Roll With You." And he continued doing singles until his death in 2003 because of diabetes.

2) http://www.history-of-rock.com/johnny_cash.htm


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