Piece Comment

Review of Johnny Cash: The Man in Black

It's hard for me to even think of this as a radio piece because I'm so in awe of the man and his story. I loved this and I hope it's aired where I live and everywhere.

This is the first of the series I listened to, and the subject is, in my mind, the most intriguing of the four segments. Perhaps Rodney Crowell's delivery is a little forced in places, but his intimacy with the subject is not.

Zeroing in on the Vietnam War was a good choice, and if anything, I could have stood a little more background on just how Cash's "stance" against the war was manifest. I guess we hear it in the "Man in Black" song and the other song about truth (which I'd never heard before--Cash's catalogue is bottomless!) but I wonder to what extent his views on the war were public, except as interpretable in the songs. Cash remains a hero to the type of "Country Music Fan" to the easily stereo-typed right wing Christian conservative country fan. We heard a lot from the younger generation and Cash's close friends (his children and sons in law, his bass player) but not so much from the generation of Cash fans who would have supported the war at the time.

Obviously, I was extremely engaged intellectually and emotionally in the segment. I hope to hear this on the radio soon. The inclusion of Rosanne's description of Cash's reaction to the war is some of the most powerful tape I've heard. The decision to include it in the piece is courageous and I appreciate it.