follow us in feedly
‘My Father and the Man in Black’: Johnny Cash as seen through the eyes of his long suffering manager
09.04.2013
06:48 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:


 
Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death (September 12), My Father and the Man in Black, a powerful and unique new documentary film comes out theatrically this Friday in select cities and on iTunes, VOD, DVD and elsewhere soon after.

My Father and the Man in Black is the riveting insider tale not so much of Johnny Cash, per se (although, of course he looms large over the entire narrative) but of his longtime Canadian manger, Saul Holiff, who committed suicide in 2004 and the interaction between these two troubled men that went into creating Cash’s monumental career.

In what is surely one of the only examples one can point to of a manager leaving behind a superstar client, Holiff “fired” Johnny Cash in the early 1970s. The film’s director, Jonathan Holiff, and his father rarely had any contact in the decades before his death. The father left no letter. His son would get no closure. He got nothing.

At least not until his mother makes him aware of a storage locker with some recordings the elder Holiff had made of telephone calls between himself and Cash during the 60s and 70s. These are the years when Cash was setting forest fires, getting nabbed at the border with hundreds of Mexican amphetamines and generally raising hell in the way we all know that Johnny Cash did. Saul Holiff was the guy who got him OUT of those troubles, brought June Carter into his life, cleaned up his many messes and made him into an internationally beloved superstar and American icon. We even get to listen to Johnny Cash, all good and hopped up on goofballs, sounding like a crazy man and ranting a mile a minute. It’s pretty cool stuff, I must admit.
 

 
Among the tapes Holiff found were hours of highly personal, confessional and often very depressed audio diaries made by his father. Some of what the son found in these tapes were real heart-tugging “Cat’s in the Cradle”-style lamentations of a father missing his young family.

With a skillful way of using unobtrusive “recreations” that don’t in any way become annoying, Jonathan Holiff tells a really damned good story here—My Father and the Man in Black is very novelistic for a documentary—and manages to rise above the creative limitations that his predominantly audio archival treasure trove would force on the telling of this tale. There’s one part that’s particularly “woah!” where Johnny Cash has self-financed a film about the Holy Land and is basically demanding of his Jewish manager “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your savior or not?” and that’s when Saul Holiff had simply had enough of what he perceived as his client’s born-again Christian bullshit and got out of the situation. (He went on to manage the Statler Brothers.)

I highly, highly recommend My Father and the Man, not just as a sidebar to better understanding Johnny Cash, but as a wholly fascinating—and very original—film on its own merits. It may seem like it’s one thing—and it is that, don’t get me wrong—but there are many surprises and wonderful details in store for viewers of My Father and the Man in Black that are completely unexpected. And very moving.

My Father and the Man has won a few dozen “best doc” awards in the festivals and it’s easy to see why.

My Father and the Man in Black opens in Los Angeles and New York this Friday, September 6th and in select cities nationwide. The film will be available on iTunes (where you can pre-order it now), VOD, and Amazon Instant Video on September 10th and DVD on October 1. Director Jonathan Holiff will be doing Q&As at the Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills opening weekend. The Johnny Cash tribute band The Mighty Cash Cats will perform at 6:30PM on September 6 prior to the 7:15PM showing.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Melanie: Powerful (WOW!) live performance of ‘Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)’, 1970
08.14.2013
02:44 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:


 
I posted this show-stopper of a performance by folk singer Melanie (with The Edwin Hawkins Singers) doing her classic “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” a couple of years ago, but fuck it, it’s that good, so here it is again. When is the last time you saw a musical performance this good on television? Was it even in the past decade? Sadly, probably not.

These days we’ve got Katy Perry and Rhianna at the top of the hit parade. It’s not the same thing. This powerful performance was about really connecting emotionally with the audience, not strutting around and sexing it up with a bunch of buffed-out, well-oiled himbo dancers! [Well maybe not those Dutch people in the top clip!] In forty years, they’ll probably still be using Melanie’s song in TV ads and film and TV soundtracks, but frankly, I don’t expect the same will be true of Ke$ha or Nicki Minaj’s tunes (I could say the same thing about Robin Thicke and any number of male performers, too, of course).

The song’s powerful lyrics were inspired by events that took place at the “Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam” demonstration of November 1969 and by Melanie’s experience performing at Woodstock. She’s describing the feeling of generational hope and solidarity that came over her as she looked out over the vast audience who held up candles (or more likely Zippo lighters) in appreciation during her soggy set.

When David Bowie asked “Ain’t there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?” on Young Americans, frankly, I don’t thing he was anticipating the extreme vapidity of today’s artistically merit-less top 40 radio.

Listen to her voice! How many little white girls have lungs that could standout against the mighty pipes of The Edwin Hawkins Singers??? Positively sublime!
 

 
More incredible Melanie performances after the jump, including a little-known clip from Woodstock…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Shit-hot: The PERFECT Johnny Cash set from German TV, 1972
07.24.2013
12:50 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:


 
Talk about a ring of fire… Watch this highly enjoyable (I’d go so far to say it’s “inspiring”) 1972 Johnny Cash episode of Germany’s Beat Club TV show, featuring The Tennessee 3, June Carter and her sister Anita Carter, along with special guest Carl Perkins.

Perkins gets the audience warmed up with his “Blue Suede Shoes,” then Cash steps onstage for a charming reading of Shel Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” and a few words in German (Cash served in the US Air Force there). Then he goes into Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (the first of three numbers by the songwriter) and it just keeps getting better from there.

It’s pretty much the perfect mid-career Johnny Cash set, and when June comes out, forget about it, the whole thing just goes into overdrive. The quality is very good here.

Carl Perkins: “Blue Suede Shoes”
Johnny Cash: “A Boy Named Sue”
Johnny Cash: “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
Johnny Cash: “Tennessee Flat Top Box”
Johnny Cash: “I Still Miss Someone / Me and Bobby McGee”
Anita Carter: “Lovin’ Him was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again”
Johnny Cash: “Rock Island Line”
Johnny Cash: “Folsom Prison Blues”
Johnny Cash: “I Walk The Line”
Johnny Cash & June Carter: “Jackson”
Johnny Cash & June Carter: “If I Were a Carpenter/Help Me Make It Through the Night”
Johnny Cash & June Carter: “If I Had a Hammer”
Johnny Cash: “A Thing Called Love”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Just a photo of a ravenous Johnny Cash eating cake
06.14.2013
10:31 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Music

Tags:


 
Here’s a photo of Johnny Cash hoarding a delicious looking strawberry cake all for himself. I guess he didn’t like sharing desserts. Or forks!

Photo circa 1970s.

Via Retronaut

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Waylon Jennings: ‘Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,’ 1969
05.20.2013
05:29 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:


 
Waylon Jennings on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969. The country great was still clean-shaven here, but already moving in the direction of his “outlaw” country sound even then.
 

 
Here’s another shit hot live version of “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” from what appears to be Hee Haw. I am currently monumentally obsessed by this song. I could play it on a loop for 24 hours. That fuckin’ guitar solo is sublime city, baby!
 

 
Here’s a link to Linda Ronstadt’s more Flying Burrito Brothers-ish sounding version of the song, rechristened “Only Mama That’ll Walk the Line,” a staple of her live show in the late 60’s.

In case you were wondering (and I know you were) the mega-hottie on keyboards is Jennings’ then newly-wed wife, Jessi Colter. Below, Jessi Colter performs her 1975 pop-country crossover hit, “I’m Not Lisa”:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Psycho Killer: Johnny Cash plays a ‘door-to-door maniac’ in ‘Five Minutes to Live’
03.13.2013
12:00 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:


 
The Man in Black’s acting debut came when he portrayed the deranged, practically foaming at the mouth cop killer “Johnny Cabot” in the 1961 film noir, Five Minutes to Live. Johnny, along with his partner (Vic Tayback, “Mel” from the 70s sitcom Alice ) plot a unique bank robbery. Johnny knocks on the door of a housewife (Cay Forester, who wrote the script) offering to give her guitar lessons and then takes her hostage. Her husband, (Donald Woods) a bank manager, is told that she will be murdered unless Tayback’s character walks out of the bank with $70,000.

Their plans go awry when the banker calmly informs him that they’d be doing him a big favor by killing his wife so he can run off to Las Vegas with his mistress! Then their son (a young Ron Howard) comes home from school, throwing another wrench into the works.

The weirdest part of the film is the way they shoehorned in a Johnny Cash performance (albeit a twisted one) when “Johnny Cabot” decides to sing a murder ballad to his terrified hostage about her own impending doom. You can skip directly to 36:40 to watch Cash-as-psychopath terrorize her with his guitar, performing “Five Minutes to Live.”

He’s not exactly “Frank Booth” from Blue Velvet, but he’s still pretty fucking creepy.

Five Minutes to Live was re-titled Door-to-Door Maniac for a 1966 re-release. Country great Merle Travis makes a cameo appearance.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Johnny Cash in German
02.21.2013
04:22 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:


 
Because you’re mein…?
 

 
Via Noisey

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Johnny Cash postage stamp to be released this year
01.30.2013
02:14 pm

Topics:
Art
Current Events
Design

Tags:


 
The United States Postal Service will be issuing a Johnny Cash stamp later this year as part of its new “Music Icons” series. The stamp features a photograph taken by Frank Bez which appeared on the cover of the album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.

Makes me want to start writing letters again.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Wheel of Fortune’ FAIL
01.11.2013
07:06 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:


 
There’s really not much to say about this. Just watch it…
 

 
Via D-listed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kids’ Halloween Costumes That They’re Too Young to Understand
10.23.2012
03:28 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Music
Television

Tags:


A miniature Don Draper.
 
Flavorwire has an excellent roundup of photos titled “Kids’ Halloween Costumes That They’re Too Young to Understand.”

Missing from the list: Little Johnny Cash.


“I shot a boy in Reno just for some candy corn.”

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
He Walks The Line: The Johnny Cash 24-Hour Money Machine (1985)
08.03.2012
12:19 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:


 
Yesterday I posted about something that I did not know about until that morning, thanks to one of our readers: Iggy Pop’s guest appearance as a Vorta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Today brings another “I did not know that”: The JohnnyCash Money Machine courtesy of Canada Trust Bank. This short-lived promotion happened in 1985.
 

 
One more JohnnyCash Money Machine commercial after the jump…
 
With thanks to Robert Dayton!
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Crimes against rock ‘n’ roll: Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Ring Of Fire’
06.15.2012
04:11 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:


 
Olivia Newton-John should be hurled into a burning ring of fire for desecrating the Johnny Cash classic, which was co-written by his wife June Carter and Merle Kilgore.

This discofied version of “Ring Of Fire” is a re-mix of the track that first appeared on Newton-John’s 1977 album of country covers, Making A Good Thing Better - a misleading title if there ever was one.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Handmade felted rock stars
04.16.2012
01:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:


Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin hangin’ out
 
Oregon -based artist Kay Petal makes these whimsical sculptural needle-felted rock star dolls. Kay says, “Using single, barbed felting needles I sculpt wool fibers into solid felted wool characters with heart and soul. My characters are soft and flexible yet strong and durable.”

And guess what? Kay will even make one of YOU! You can contact her on the website Felt Alive for more information.
 

Johnny Cash
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
7 Classic Tracks
02.18.2012
05:30 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

Tags:

bowie_blondie_strummer_sonic
 
Age may weary and death may claim, but the ears will not condemn this fine selection of essential listening from Blondie, Joe Strummer, Ian Dury, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen taken from Later with Jools Holland.

01. Blondie - “Heart of Glass” from 1998
02. Joe Strummer - “London Calling” from 2000
03. Ian Dury - “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” from 1998
04. Sonic Youth- “Sacred Trickster” from 2009
05. David Bowie - “Ashes to Ashes” from 1999
06. Johnny Cash - “Folsom Prison Blues” from 1994
07. Leonard Cohen - “Dance me to the End of Love” from 1993
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Johnny Cash: The Last Great American
12.30.2011
06:40 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Punk

Tags:

johnny_cash_great_american
 
From 2004, Johnny Cash: The Last Great American was the first major TV retrospective of the singer’s life and times. Featuring contributions from his daughter Rosanne Cash and son John Carter Cash, longtime manager Lou Robin, and fellow musicians, Little Richard, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello. This documentary contains incredible archive and some superb performances, and is a fine testament to The Man in Black.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Competing James Bond themes: Tom Jones vs. Johnny Cash’s ‘Thunderball’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 3  < 1 2 3 >