Walk The Line / Johnny Cash

This is for all non-EC or peripheral-EC topics. We all know how much we love talking about 'The Man' but sometimes we have other interests.
johnfoyle
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Walk The Line / Johnny Cash

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:07 am

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ ... 67,00.html



The Times October 28, 2005

Walk The Line

( showing in London Film Festival)

James Christopher at the Odeon West End


LIKE inmates of San Quentin prison at 7.30pm on New Year’s Day, 1958, I didn’t know an awful lot about Johnny Cash. He was just another alcoholic hick who strummed tunes. By 9pm he was a jail-house god. James Mangold’s extraordinary film begins and ends with this seminal concert in a cement gymnasium, and the drama is just as addictive.

The director paints Cash in his pomp: rakishly handsome, dressed in black, and spookily in his element. The singer never lost his Mississippi chains, or the lifelong suspicion that he was on the wrong side of everything. Cash couldn’t drink enough liquor — or swallow enough pills — to atone for a dead brother, a bitter father and a first marriage destroyed by fame. His lyrics are paved with regret. But his music shaped a generation.

Joaquin Phoenix delivers one of the most magnetic performances of his career as the Man in Black. He stews through sheaves of scene-setting exposition, but he broods as if his life depended on it.

Both actor and character seem to crave pain in order to perform. It makes mesmerising viewing. The young Cash is full of brash and bullish innocence. There are brief visits to his air force career in Germany where he picks up his first guitar, and a crucial audition with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studios, who gives him his big break.

Mangold’s film plucks at the past like a needy child. There are flashbacks to his father’s senseless and selfish cruelty, and stoned moments where Cash aches for the emotional security that he was denied as a boy. His first wife, Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin), seems to have it in spades. But weeks of boozy touring turn the marriage into a sham.

The film slips into spiky drama when Cash falls under the spell of June Carter, a bubbly performer who has burnt her fingers more times than she cares to admit. Reese Witherspoon is a small sensation as the sassy singer who pounds the circuit with a young Elvis Presley and a manic Jerry Lee Lewis. The film hinges on her slow-burning romance with Cash. The intimacy between these two hardened alley cats is electric. Needless to say, Cash promptly falls apart after he makes the adulterous leap.

The rest, I guess, is history. The star is endlessly scraped off the floor by Carter, and almost dragged by the hair into middle-age.

Cash’s curse is that he was only ever truly alive when he was losing to his own demons. Phoenix captures it perfectly.

He is an uncanny spit of the man himself when he walks on stage. His voice is close enough to send shivers down the spine. This is not a rose-tinted homage by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a hair-raising trip.
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http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/s ... 74,00.html

Here's Johnny ...

At this year's London Film Festival, Joaquin Phoenix walked the line, Carmen clicked in Xhosa, Steve Martin did romantic and Nick Cave went walkabout. Jason Solomons saw the lot

Sunday October 30, 2005
The Observer

( extract)

They may not make them like they used to, but musicals were alive and kicking during the first 10 days of the 49th London Film Festival. Country singers, township operas, a rap drama and a new dance craze; maybe it's personal preference lurking beneath the impassive critical surface but, amid the myriad choices available to the bemused LFF-goer, I seemed to be drawn to tales of ghetto oppression and indomitable musical spirit.
Let's start with the highest profile film, James Mangold's Walk the Line, which tells (a bit) of the life story of Johnny Cash, in much the same way Taylor Hackford told us the story of Ray Charles last year. Indeed, the lives of the two iconic and recently deceased musical subjects run remarkable parallels - or could it be the exigencies of the biopic form that breed such similarity?

Cash, like Ray, never recovers from the death of a sibling for which he's made, in golden-hued flashback, to feel partly guilty; he has father issues; he meets other famous people; he has hit records; he takes drugs; he is unfaithful to his prissy wife; he sweats through cold turkey and emerges a better man.

Jamie Foxx made his career with his Oscar-winning Ray impression and we can expect similar accolades for Joaquin Phoenix's impersonation of the Man in Black although, for me, Reese Witherspoon, who plays his second wife, June Carter, gives the film its spark. She's electric here, cute, funny and brittle, and I pined for her every time she left the screen.

Most people seemed to love the film, but it left me cold, simply because the musical side of it was botched. Where Hackford had the ingenuity (and fortune) to use the actual voice of Ray Charles, Mangold has to use Phoenix's Stars in Your Eyes turn and he doesn't convey the compelling, gravelly intensity of Cash's sprechgesang.

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Who Shot Sam?
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Postby Who Shot Sam? » Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:05 am

Oooh, I'm definitely going to be seeing this one. Been listening again to the American Recordings series he did with Rick Rubin.
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BlueChair
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Postby BlueChair » Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:49 am

Do you have the Unearthed box set of outtakes from the Rick Rubin-era? Cash's take on Neil Young's "Pocahontas" is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard.
This morning you've got time for a hot, home-cooked breakfast! Delicious and piping hot in only 3 microwave minutes.

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Who Shot Sam?
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Postby Who Shot Sam? » Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:03 am

BlueChair wrote:Do you have the Unearthed box set of outtakes from the Rick Rubin-era? Cash's take on Neil Young's "Pocahontas" is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard.


Yes I do. Amazing that some of that stuff was left off of the albums - I love the version of "Redemption Song" with Joe Strummer too. Tons of other great material on there too - "Banks Of The Ohio", "If I Give My Soul", etc.
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El Vez
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Postby El Vez » Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:42 am

That UnEarthed boxed set is like Tom Hanks' luggage in Joe Versus The Volcano.....them shits is goin' everywhere I go.

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Postby spooky girlfriend » Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:53 am

Ya'll done gone 'n got Vez all excited. :wink:

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El Vez
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Postby El Vez » Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:55 am

I think it's my spankin' new Walken avatar. Makes everything I write seem more urgent and sinister.

selfmademug

Postby selfmademug » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:14 am

The timing couldn't have been better, in light of my current little romantic super-fund site (and when do I not have one?!:roll:). Who needs a watch in the ass when you've got his creepitas.

Hey just to legitimize my presence on this thread, where should a gal start a not-hugely-ambitious-but-respectful Cash collection? I have the 2-disc Rhino Sun Years, which I like hugely-- although some of the tunes are a bit too Tin Pan Alley/Old Timey for even a sap like me, some others are just so great it puts it all in context.

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El Vez
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Postby El Vez » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:31 am

You cannot go wrong with any of these -

1. American Recordings. Pretty much the last word in "Comeback" records.

2. At Folsom Prison. His defining moment.

3. The Fabulous Johnny Cash. One of his best early Columbia albums.

4. VH1 Storytellers w/ Willie Nelson. Maybe not a great album per se, but it's a lot of fun and it's very entertaining to listen to these two perform together.

5. American Recordings II: Unchained. Cash w/ Petty & The Heartbreakers is almost always pure gold and his vocal on "Spiritual" is shattering.

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BlueChair
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Postby BlueChair » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:50 am

I'd say Live at Folsom Prison or Live at San Quentin are ideal starting points.
This morning you've got time for a hot, home-cooked breakfast! Delicious and piping hot in only 3 microwave minutes.

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Postby selfmademug » Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:55 am

Thanks you guys. I should have more time for this sort of thing now that I am NEVER DATING ANYONE EVER AGAIN. Oh, whoops, did I say that outloud? :o

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Otis Westinghouse
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Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:05 pm

I've started with Folsom Prison, for all of £5 in lovely Fopp, and it is indeed a good place to start, but bugger me I really want to hear the American recordings, and HAVE TO hear the Pocahontas cover.
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pophead2k
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Postby pophead2k » Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:44 am

I got Unearthed from my girlfriend the Christmas it came out, and it is a constant treat to go back to over and over again. Pocohantas is a stand out, but Redemption Song makes me weep.

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noiseradio
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Postby noiseradio » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:20 pm

I bought the $10 best of last night just because I'm out of town and forgot to bring my Unearthed discs on the road. I need Johnny Cash like hos need crack.
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King Hoarse
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Postby King Hoarse » Sun Nov 06, 2005 7:12 pm

Solitary Man (American III) is my favourite. Especially singing with Will Oldham on I See A Darkness. Nick Cave's Mercy Seat with BIG piano is overwhelming too. And Petty's I Won't Back Down, sung right after a heartattack. And then there's Wayfaring Stranger, That Lucky Old Sun, One, the title track with some cool Petty harmonies, Mary Of The Wild Moor, I'm Leavin' Now sung with Merle Haggard on Cash's porch...but all the American Recordings are essential.
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SoLikeCandy
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Postby SoLikeCandy » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:14 am

selfmademug wrote:Thanks you guys. I should have more time for this sort of thing now that I am NEVER DATING ANYONE EVER AGAIN. Oh, whoops, did I say that outloud? :o


Wow, lady. I know men can be idiots, but never dating again? Ever? Like, never, ever?

on Johnny Cash--the first time I heard "Redemption Song" by Strummer and Cash, it was after both of them had died. Like road-weary angels singing.
If there's one thing you can say about mankind--there's nothing kind about man

selfmademug

Postby selfmademug » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:54 am

SoLikeCandy wrote:Wow, lady. I know men can be idiots, but never dating again? Ever? Like, never, ever?



I suppose it might, in the far distant future, turn out to have been a slight bit of hyperbole... :D


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