Johnny Cash - Forever Words
Was Johnny Cash een goede dichter? Ik denk daar niet iedere dag hetzelfde over. De meeste dagen denk ik niet dat Cash een groot dichter was, maar dan hoor ik weer "I Walk The Line" of "Folsom Prison Blues" en weet ik dat Cash zeker zijn momenten had.
Onlangs verscheen het boek Forever Words; The Unknown Poems van Johnny Cash. Lezend in dit boek kom ik tot dezelfde conclusie: Cash was geen groot dichter, maar hij had zeker zijn momenten.
Bob Dylan is vrij duidelijk over Johnny Cash: "The greatest of the great, then and now", zo staat het op de achterzijde van Forever Words.
Had Bob Dylan het over de dichter, de zanger of de muzikant Cash? Geen idee.
Wie Forever Words openslaat komt, naast citaten van onder andere Nick Cave en Leonard Cohen, nog een citaat van Bob Dylan tegen: "If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black".
Beide citaten van Bob Dylan komen uit zijn bericht na het overlijden van Johnny Cash:
I was asked to give a statement on Johnny's passing and thought about writing a piece instead called "Cash Is King," because that is the way I really feel. In plain terms, Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him -- the greatest of the greats then and now. I first met him in '62 or '63 and saw him a lot in those years. Not so much recently, but in some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.
There wasn't much music media in the early Sixties, and Sing Out! was the magazine covering all things folk in character. The editors had published a letter chastising me for the direction my music was going. Johnny wrote the magazine back an open letter telling the editors to shut up and let me sing, that I knew what I was doing. This was before I had ever met him, and the letter meant the world to me. I've kept the magazine to this day.
Of course, I knew of him before he ever heard of me. In '55 or '56, "I Walk the Line" played all summer on the radio, and it was different than anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the earth. It was so powerful and moving. It was profound, and so was the tone of it, every line; deep and rich, awesome and mysterious all at once. "I Walk the Line" had a monumental presence and a certain type of majesty that was humbling. Even a simple line like "I find it very, very easy to be true" can take your measure. We can remember that and see how far we fall short of it.
Johnny wrote thousands of lines like that. Truly he is what the land and country is all about, the heart and soul of it personified and what it means to be here; and he said it all in plain English. I think we can have recollections of him, but we can't define him any more than we can define a fountain of truth, light and beauty. If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black. Blessed with a profound imagination, he used the gift to express all the various lost causes of the human soul. This is a miraculous and humbling thing. Listen to him, and he always brings you to your senses. He rises high above all, and he'll never die or be forgotten, even by persons not born yet -- especially those persons -- and that is forever.