We can stop our whoring

“Well, I hope that someday, buddy, we have peace in our lives.”Johnny Cash, I See a Darkness (written by Will Oldham)

When I was 21 I spent a year abroad. There I ended up meeting my first serious girlfriend, whom I dated for years after that and, as I explain in “about this blog”, was a great girl. Nevertheless, my best memories of that year aren’t of her, or the friends I made, it’s about how independent I felt.

That was the year I really learned to live with myself, which is something I think many people never learn. That year I found out that I could never be bored when I’m alone (I can be with others), that I like doing things by myself, and that I don’t mind solitude at all. Obviously with this can only come with great music…

One day a friend and I popped in a store called Saturn which we’d heard had bargain CDs. It was the time of MP3s and pirated music, but neither of us had a computer so all we had were two about-to-be-obsolete Discmans, so we went to check it out. I was able to find about 8-10 albums that year at about 5 euros each (about 7 dollars) all which I thought were bargains given the artist’s names, but there are only 2 which I still remember well: Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Soundtrack to the movie She’s The One and Johnny Cash’s American Recordings III.

I player both of those CDs like there was no tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll dedicate another post to Petty’s soundtrack, but today I want to focus on Cash’s incredible album. I’d been a fan of Johnny Cash’s classic songs from back in the day, but through this album I discovered his American Recordings sessions and I was blown away as to how talented the guy really was. I remember opening the CD and listening to it straight away, loving almost every song. Solitary Man was my favorite song from the album, but there was another which really stuck with me called I See a Darkness, originally written by Will Oldham known better as Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

“Well, you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know.
And you know I have a drive, to live I won’t let go.
But can you see this opposition comes rising up sometimes?
That it’s dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind.”

I opened up the booklet that came with the CD and as I opened it I was surprised to see that instead of a booklet it was this large sheet that had been folded up a bunch of times. In it there was a section where Johnny Cash basically explains that since June Carter passed away he was ready to die. For him American Recordings was basically the last project he wanted to finish before dying, but that other than that… he was good. After reading that and hearing the songs again I was amazed. I think somehow my newly found independence, and often voluntary solitude, felt like something Cash must have felt during most of his life if he was open to saying he was prepared to die. Who knows, maybe I’m being pretentious, maybe it’s just a great song, a great album and a great artist.

Well, you’re my friend and can you see, many times we’ve been out drinkin’, many times we’ve shared our thoughts. But did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got?”

36 thoughts on “We can stop our whoring

  1. You took a look at my blog (translationquotesandsongs) so i looked at your. Inspiring. We have some things in common: we’re both fans of J.C. (same initials than the son of god), we’re both into writing and leaving something in our path. One trick to make yoursef notice: publish your article directly into the Facebook page of the artist that you are publishing the song.
    Your blog is well made both content and appearance, i could use your advice in improving mine. Like how do you post a picture like the one you posted of the Utah arc?
    Come back with an answer at this e-mail adress: mart76cori@gmail.com.
    Until then keep up the good work :)

    • Thanks for the nice comment and the helpful tip! The picture I was able to load by switching themes (dashboard-appearance-themes), mine is called Hemmingway Rewritten. It’s free and very simple to use, if you select it there’re a panel en the right where you can edit what you want to appear on your Header or your side panels. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Watch out now, take care | I Remember You Well

  3. I can’t believe I’ve lived my entire life never listening to Johnny’s version of this song. Many thanks to you for bringing it up to center stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ir5Ud_shp8

    As I’m sure you’ve noticed from my minstrelmusicmonger blog, I am a music fanatic! Hope you stop by often and find inspiration there. I find I am continually in search of two very rare creatures online: people interested in politics (please don’t groan in bewilderment), and people with a ridiculous obsession for all kinds of music. Will definitely poke my head in and see what you’re up to from time to time. Happy listening!

    • Solitary Man is my favorite out of all the Cash covers! It’s Tom Petty doing the backing vocals. Glad you liked it!

      i’ll be sure to follow your blog, I like music a lot more than politics but both work for me! I’ll be sure to reference you if I ever decide to write a post that combines both. All the best!

  4. Great post.

    When I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years back…Johnny Cash’s tour bus was parked outside that you could go in and look around. It was pretty homey. Nice for back in the day. Not all fancy like the tour buses of today. His was more of a mobile home since his wife and kids were with him.

    One thing I found interesting…the table on the bus was made of a rare wood grown in Jamaica that was illegal to export out of the country. Since they couldn’t ship the wood home, they made crates out of the wood and shipped other items in the rare wood boxes that passed the customs!

    Anyway…here’s the original version of the song by BPB…

  5. I also found that I could never be bored when I’m alone. I also like doing things by myself, and that I don’t mind solitude at all. And it has brought me great Peace and complete Contentment.

    • When the man comes around is excellent, one of the songs, one of the few songs in the American Recordings Sessions that was written by him. It must have been one of his last songs. Thanks for bringing it up!

  6. I really liked this post … especially the part where you wrote “That was the year I really learned to live with myself, which is something I think many people never learn. That year I found out that I could never be bored when I’m alone (I can be with others), that I like doing things by myself, and that I don’t mind solitude at all. Obviously with this can only come with great music…”

    It made me think back of when I learned to live with myself – thanks helping me reminisce!

    • I’m really glad you liked it! It was definitely influenced by my mother who said learning to live with myself would be the best thing I could get out of the experience of being abroad. Thanks for commenting, take care!

    • I’m going back home in July, the CD should still be there and I’ll try to find it! It’d be great to reread the booklet and see how much I remembered correctly! Cheers!

  7. Johnny Cash sang the lyrics. Even if the lyrics weren’t all that hot. Listening to him was having a heart felt talk with him. Yeah, you can talk back to him as he sings over your chosen media.

    You and he sit in some dark corner of the world – a bar, of course. A car, truck or another conveyance. Maybe at a woman’s house in her living room after she’s gone to bed.

    Other singers have that effect on me – Sinatra, Dylan, Lennon, Judy Garland, Gladys Knight. The vocal instrument doesn’t have to be the greatest. Just sing the lyrics.

  8. I know what you mean – I love being with my own company. One of my Mum’s greatest lessons was to teach me to enjoy being alone and with myself. Only then can you enter a relationship with another person in a healthy way.

  9. Johnny Cash is a good source of introspection and so is traveling. I went to a Johnny Cash festival at Sun Studio in Memphis back in 2005 and have been a bigger fan ever since. But I enjoyed your comments about travel even more. While I love the company of others, traveling taught me the value and growth that comes from solitude and independence. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I too believe in the mere joy of being alone. Many found it strange I used to visit theaters alone. Hmmm…If you have no interest in seeing a film with me, am I supposed to refrain from watching the film? Lol.

    Fast forward to meeting my wife…I met someone with the same sense of appreciation for film. For me, music is that thing, able to bridge a connection with those who aren’t able to witness similarities, all because of their physical differences.

    Music binds us together, because it doesn’t care about gender, religion, sexual preference, etc. Music just is, which is why we all fall in line.

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