If you're not personally involved in it, it's not going to work right for you.
It's going to sound like you're not personally involved in it.
Aldus Johnny Cash. Die op donderdag 12 september 2013 'al weer' tien jaar dood is. In het oktobernummer van het Engelse muziekblad Mojo kijkt sterreporter Sylvie Simmons terug op een week, zes weken voordat Cash stierf, waarin ze uitvoerig met hem sprak. In dat artikel staat de samenwerking van Johnny Cash met producer Rick Rubin centraal. Een samenwerking die leidde tot vier reguliere albums, twee posthuum, een box-je met restopnames en een gospel-cd. Cd's waardoor Johnny Cash echt uitgroeide tot een legendarisch artiest. In zijn nadagen speelde hij liedjes van anderen. En liet horen dat die tot leven komen door wat hij hier personal involvement noemt. Iets wat feitelijk voor ieder mens geldt die iets doet. Moet doen. 'Het' werkt alleen als je er zelf op de een of andere manier bij betrokken bent, je 'ziel' er in kunt stoppen. Een geweldig clichée maar desalniettemin waar. Iets van alle tijden.
Een prachtig (lang) artikel
Sylvie Simmons is in the UK en de VS een vooraanstaand muziekjournalist. Die met veel groten uit de muziekwereld heeft gesproken, veel belangrijke platen heeft gerecenseerd en verschillende boeken geschreven. Het artikel bevat de weerslag van de gesprekken die ze voerde met Cash. Een bespreking van alle cd's, een interview met Rick Rubin en herinneringen van enkele muzikanten die Johnny Cash hebben gekend. Uiteraard zoals dat heet lavishly voorzien van foto-materiaal.
Simmons: Back in the '70s you said something interesting: "If I'm not personally involved in the music, it ain't gonna work." Is that what happened, that you didn't have that involvement, for some reason, during the latter CBS years and the Mercury years?
Cash: You're right. If you're not personally involved in it, it's not going to work right for you. It's going to sound like you're not personally involved in it.
Een bijzonder gospel-liedje
Simmons: What about the significance of Let the Lower lights be Burning?
Cash: Well, what it means to me now is when my father was dying, he was in a coma, and all my brothers and sisters and I were gathered around the bed. We felt we were telling him goodbye. But my oldest sister Louisa said, "Let's sing to him." So we started singing Let the Lower lights be Burning and at some point I looked at him and, though he had been sound asleep in a coma for days, his lips started moving and he started singing that song along with us. And the more we would sing it, the more he sang, and he opened his eyes and looked around at us as we were singing. And of course everybody had a good cry as we watched him and listened to him as he sang Let the Lower light be Burning with us. So when I was picking out songs for this album, that had to be in it.
It went straight to the heart
Simmons: Back to that first American Recordings album. There was a real transparancy to the record - there was nothing between you and the listener, it went straight tot he heart. Were you aware of that while you were doing it?
Cash: We saw that was happening when we started putting it together, and we loved it. It felt good, to be able to go straight to the heart of the listener. I knew it was special - very special. From the very beginning, from the very first day I started recording. I knew it was going to be special.
Nobody's safe out there from me
Simmons: The covers you've included on these American albums is almost like a modern kind of unexpected songs and presenting them in a different way, or a different audience.
Cash: Yeah. It's like nobody's song is safe out there from me (laughs). I go through, picking and gleaning. I've got my favourites. I hear a song and I'll go "Oh, I love that song." Maybe I've loved it a long time, like First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and I go "I've got to record that song. I can't sing it like Roberta Flack but I can do it my way", which is what I shoudl do anyway. ()
Simmons: What about Hurt, originally a song by Trent Reznor about heroin addiction.
Cash: Did I love it straight away? Yes I did. I loved it straight away.
(views op 8/9/2013 55.991.105)
American recordings (1994)
Unchained (1996) (= American II)
American III : Solitary man (2000)
American IV : The man comes around (2002)
American V : A hundred highways (2006)
American VI : Ain't no grave (2010)
(zondag 8 september 2013)
Hans van Duijnhoven