Sean’s music 11 … Johnny Cash

Sean was a fan of Johnny Cash … the man and the music. He admired the attitude – the cussed independence, the integrity, the insistence on standing up for the underdog. He admired the way that Cash faced the world head-on, played by his own rules and lived life to the full. And of course he loved Cash’s voice.

He was completely blown away by the ‘Hurt’ video – which features the infirm but dignified old man at the end of his life, and moments from his past – when he first saw it. He thought it was one of the most powerful things he’d ever watched. As I’ve mentioned before, he later played this song on the CD player for an American woman who visited us; she had never heard it before and it had a profound effect on her as it drew up material relating to her past.

We used to play a Cash compilation CD in the car. Sean always disliked ‘Jackson’, for some reason … tracks he especially liked included Cash’s cover of U2’s ‘One’, ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘The Highwayman’ (with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings).

Typically, Sean found it pleasing that Cash and Bob Dylan were good friends and mutual fans, and had played music together … friendship was important to Sean, and he loved to see the people he liked enjoy it too. That was how Sean was. He was a sweet person.



Filed under Death, Memories, Music

12 responses to “Sean’s music 11 … Johnny Cash

  1. Cymbeline

    Brendano. I am glad that your son will never be singing that dreadful, hopeless song of regret called ‘Hurt’ by Cash.

    • Hello Cymbeline … that’s one way of looking at it. I like it very much. We sang it here last Thursday night, as Pauline’s nephew plays it on the guitar.

      Cash didn’t write it, as you probably know, but I think he did the definitive version … better than ours, anyway. 🙂

      • Cymbeline

        I meant that his fast and full short and sparkling life was not marred by the feelings Cash sings about, the song of an old, broken man at the end of his life.

        I too like the song. It is very powerful, and as far away from triteness as one could imagine. The feelings expressed are also deeply depressing. There is no victory of happiness in it.

        • That’s true, but somehow I like the mood of it and don’t find it depressing. It’s the human condition … someone who is astonished to find that he has become an old man.

        • Cymbeline

          Yes, of course the human condition in the Beckett sense.

        • Cymbeline

          As I have told you before, Beckett had a profound effect on me when I was sixteen or seventeen.

          I sometimes wish that I had never read him.

        • I’m glad I didn’t, then. Beckett passed me by, somehow.

          Pauline was taken to a production of Waiting for Godot when studying it at school, and hated it.

  2. Incidentally, I added a quote to the ‘tributes to Sean’ post, from one of his tutors. I have emphasized his friendly nature and so on, but he was very good at his work too (when he put his mind to it), and I just wanted that to be on record here.

  3. Cymbeline

    Good afternoon, Brendano. Well, it is clear that he was clever. Not all teenagers listen to such a wide range of music, paying attention to the words.

    When you first mentioned that your son introduced ‘Hurt’ to your American acquaintance, I was very surprised. The words are very sophisticated and he clearly had no experience of hurt or deep existential regret.

    The black-and-white photograph I like, the one playing with windows, desire and reflections, is also clearly the work of an artistic, structured, and thoughtful mind.

  4. Hello, Cymbeline. Yes, he was a deep thinker. A recurring theme with his friends is that he was constantly coming up with ‘facts’ … they found this amusing. I imagine that there was often a general groan when he presented one of his ‘facts’ and started to expound on it. But they could never prove him wrong, they say.

  5. Cymbeline

    He inherited his father’s dialectical gifts, no doubt!

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