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Through The Eyes    eyeroll.gif (2357 bytes) Of A Fan

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Once Upon A Tune

Johnny Cash's first number -one Hit ( I Walk The Line ) in a sense was written backward. One night while he was stationed in Germany, Johnny then in the Air Force, discovered that his buddies had borrowed his reel-to-reel tape recorder. When he turned it on, he heard a haunting, organ-like sound. In Truth, it was guitar runs recorded with a tape running one direction and played back in the other. When he got back in the States, Johnny married and found success with ( Cry, Cry, Cry ) and ( Hey Porter ) but he never forgot that melody. In a Gladewater , Texas, dressing room he was sharing with tour partner Carl Perkins, Johnny played his backward tune. What are you doing there sounds like a hit to me, Carl said. Johnny with the Temptations outside his door and a new wife at home, wanted the lyrics to say, I’m going to be true to those who believe in me and depend on me to myself and God. Something like I’m still being true, or I’m ( Walking The Line ) . The lyrics came as fast as I could write, Says Johnny. "In 20 minutes, I had it finished". He recorded the song for Sun Records in 1956. But producer Sam Phillips pleading, he also recorded a faster version. When Johnny heard it, he begged Sam not to release any more copies. I thought it was horrible, he says. Country Fan’s loved it. The Song topped Billboards country charts for six weeks and peaked at number 17 on pop charts

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Track List


( Lyrics ) I Walk The Line

I keep a Close Watch on This Heart Of Mine
I Keep my Eyes wide open all The Time
I Keep The Ends Out for The Tie That Binds
Because your Mine I Walk The Line

I Find It Very Very Easy To Be True
I Find Myself Alone When The Day Is Through
Yes, I'll Admit That I'm A fool For You
Because Your Mine I walk The Line

As Sure as Night Is Dark And Day Is Light
I Keep You On My Mind Both Day And Night
And Happiness I've Known Proves That It's Right
Because Your Mine I Walk The Line

You've Got A Way To Keep Me On your Side
You Give Me Cause For Love That I Can't Hide
For You I Know I'd Even Try To Turn The Tide
Because Your Mine I Walk The Line

I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart Of Mine
I Keep My Eyes Wide Open All The Time
I Keep The Ends Out For The Tie That Binds
Because Your Mine I Walk The Line 

A Golden Album For Johnny Cash

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I Walk The Line Revisited 

I Walk The Line Revisited
Rodney Crowell With Johnny Cash 
Rodney Crowell Learns You Don’t Mess With A Legend

If he had really thought about what he was doing. Rodney Crowell probably wouldn’t have been in a recording studio giving instructions to Johnny Cash. Crowell had written “I Walk The Line Revisited” a tune about the day he rode in his grandfather’s 1949 Ford and first heard the classic song. He used the words of Cash’s original as the new chorus, and asked Johnny to sing it. On catch: He wanted Cash to sing the words in Crowell’s new melody, not the one Johnny had sung countless times for nearly 45 years. Until saw Cash’s incredulous stare, Crowell didn’t realize his own audacity. Then gravity sort of hit me, “he recalled. He looked at me and said, “you’ve got a lot of nerve changing my melody”, son. GLUP, Oh, and this just wasn’t a music legend Crowell was messing with. It was his fromer father-in-law. Crowell had divorced singer Rosanne Cash in 1991 after 12 years of marriage and two children. I really started reeling. I thought, this is like getting Da Vinci to paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa. I kind of screwed up macho and said, Yeah, I do. But you’re the guy to do it.

Crisis averted. Cash followed orders, and the song is a highlight of the Huston Kid Crowell’s new album and the best of a country music career that spans three decades. This is the first time in my process of making records that I said “Now I have my own respect,” What took him so long? That’s probably what many people wonder in Nashville, where Crowell admits he has a flaky reputation. He was first noticed as a songwriter and musician in the mid-1970s while playing in Emmylou Harris Hot Band. His career didn’t take off, even as he helped his wife achieve success. Finally, starting with the 1988 album, “Diamonds And Dirt” Crowell began a string of five No. I singles on the country charts. Since then, he’s drifted. He found the path to creative rebirth through memories of his youth. Crowell is the Houston Kid, of course. His disc has some fond, vivid images about growing up in Texas but is also painfully autobiographic. He sings about watching his father beat his mother and dealing with emotional aftermath. There are still things that I’m finding out, that I acted out myself, Crowell said. I hit woman, the very thing I said I would never do after having seen it. I was so ashamed. It also gave him compassion for his father, although on the disc Crowell is cold-eyed “I’m a firsthand witness to age-old crime,” he sings. A man who hits a woman isn’t worth a dime. He hopes that talking about it will help others in similar situations. I kept a close watch on whether it crossed over to self-indulgence, he said. I don’t want the sympathy vote. I think the dignity of the truth what I’m looking for. There are signs, however, that Crowell isn’t completely, comfortable with the truth.

He takes artistic license in writing about his parent’s abusive household in Rock My Soul the sons end up on a downhill skid, and in jail. This baffled his mother when she heard it before two years ago. She said Ok, but you don’t go jail, Crowell said. I said , No 1 didn’t. But there was a kid down the street who grew up in domestic violence who did go to jail. The other boy’s story was used to add drama, he said. That’s common device for songwriters, yet seems oddly out of place when Crowell is trying to confront a painful truth about the past. Why Don’t We Talk about it contains a brutal opening four lines that will likely interest gossip columnists: Once I had a woman with a high hand. And I let her treat me mighty low, man. She made a lover of my best friend and now he treats me like a has-been. Crowell insist in an interview that he’s not singing about Cash and her second husband, musician John Eventual. A few days later, though, calls to apologize. He admits the reference is about them, but won’t elaborate. I’m just not comfortable bringing other people lives into my records, he says. Crowell concludes his record with a song, the message, the Beatles would approve of, “I know love is all I need” which owes its existence to a dream. He went to sleep one night with the nagging feeling that his disc wasn’t quite complete. In his slumber, his parents appeared before him, giving him a tour of their new house, it was a fixer-upper. I said, wait a minute. You guys are dead, he said. They sat me down and said, We love this record you’re making and we really approve, but you’ve not telling the whole story. I said what do you mean?

Crowell woke up before he could get an answer. He wrote the song in less than an hour and recorded it almost as fast. He like the results so much, he went back and recorded several others, sacrificing studio perfection for a live, authentic feel. Johnny Cash is one of the people who liked how it sounds. The crafty old master exacted revenge for “I Walk The Line Revisited” Though. Crowell took a copy to Cash’s home to play it for him. Cash nodded his approval but said he wasn’t willing to relinquish half of the song publishing credit; Crowell wanted to split 50-50 GULP Again. I laughed, Crowell said, but I wondered. Maybe he’s serious. He’s not serious. Or is he. He had me kind of strung up, the singer admitted. Then June Carter Cash walked in and said John, you be nice. That’s a tribute to you and a damn good one. He said, Oh, I’m just kidding.  

Houston Kid 

I Walk The Line Revisited
Rodney Crowell With Johnny Cash 
Still Available 

Links To Words of Other Songs

Home Of The Blues

Big River

I Still Miss Someone

( Ghost ) Riders In The Sky

Hank And Joe And Me

Forty Shades Of Green

All Over Again

What I Care

The Orange Blossom Special



Don't Push

Revised: September 03, 2007

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