Johnny Cash’s work has always had a real-life feel that meant much to me over the years (“At home and at peace,” by Robert Hilburn, Oct. 20). There seemed to be a reassurance to his songs, even when dealing with some tough issues.
I’ve heard the story about Charlie Parker hanging around a jukebox at one of the clubs he frequented, putting his coins in to play country-western songs. When friends finally asked him, “Why do you listen to that stuff?,” he reportedly replied, “It’s the stories, man, it’s the stories!” It’s those stories and the way Johnny Cash told them that was important to many of his fans.
I’m a city guy and don’t even know exactly where Folsom is, but I understand what he means. Although primarily a classic and straight-ahead jazz fan, I try to listen to other types of music that are pleasurable and entertaining, rather than deprive myself by being a narrow-band listener. Your article fired me up, informed me, and brought some emotions and memories to the surface.
I admire his courage in choosing guests for his TV program that you mentioned. Johnny Cash had the courage then that many others are now embarrassed to admit they hadn’t.