A Boy Named Sue is one of the first songs I can remember. It launched a life-long love of Johnny Cash music. And that memory is wrapped up with my Mom, 8-tracks, and a green car.
Now, my Mama is not a huge music person. This was great when growing up because we could put the radio on whatever we wanted (I remember me and Bobby both leaping to hit “eject” from the back seat – of a different car, red Buick – as we both realized the heavy panting in Bon Jovi’s “Love is a Social Disease” was coming up. Even she would have noticed that and been perturbed.)
Funny though as I was jotting down songs yesterday how some of the music that I love the best, came from her (Girls! Girls! Girls!; Big Iron). Go figure. Though Ann Murray will not be making an appearance other than just those few words ago.
So, Johnny Cash. She had an 8-track of Cash and I don’t know if it was a best of (possible in the mid-70s) or was a new album. I remember playing that while riding in the front seat of that ugly-ass green car, unbuckled of course! – it was the 70s, while driving into Sulphur from Carlyss. I always loved A Boy Named Sue when it came on.
It just told such a great story. And it was funny – “he kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.” And there was drinking. And a fight. And, titillation, a cuss word!
About that car . . . why, seriously, why?!?!, did car makers decide that putting vinyl on the roof of a car was a good idea. That stuff started to peel off around the time she got rid of it. It had one giant expanse of front seat – greent too I think. I also remember how heavy the doors were and that I didn’t always get it shut all the way. I have a vivid memory of Mama taking a corner, the door opening wide, and me sliding along the seat toward the newly opened portal. We weren’t going that fast and she managed to stop before flinging me from the car or that would be a WAY better story.
The other oddity about the song is that he found his Dad in Gatlinburg in mid-July in a saloon on a street of mud. I had always thought of Gatlinburg as some far-away, exotic place.
Then we went before my senior year – Mama, Meme, Pawpan, Kirk, Jeremy, Tray, and me. All in a van (maybe a story for another day, that van – 4 captains chairs and an expanse of cargo area and the pee bucket).
We spent a day in the mountains around Gatlinburg – beautiful, love to go back one day (well, after the trees grow back from the recent fires). We spent most of our time in Pigeon Forge. What a delightfully tacky tourist trap – miles of shit for parents to waste money on having their kids do stuff, souvenir shops, shopping. There’s also Dollywood, which I loved. I even saw Lee Greenwood perform there. Still proud to be an American despite the con at the top (for now) these last few months.
Back to Cash, there are songs by Cash that I like better and will probably make an appearance this month – Sunday Morning Coming Down, Jackson, Unchained to name a few – but it all started in that vinyl topped green vehicle and A Boy Named Sue on 8-track.
Other “A” Songs
When I started thinking about songs, literally the first one I thought of was “A Boy Named Sue.” And I though, meh, there aren’t any other songs that start with “A” that I like that much. Then I started flipping through my iPod (yeah, I still use that antiquated piece of tech).
So I felt like sharing a few more, if for no other reason than it gave me a reason to listen to them again today.
Amarillo By Morning
One day, I’m driving to Amarillo in the morning. Just because. It’s amazing to think how much George Strait was the soundtrack of 1980s radio and even longer. Have loved this song from the first time I heard it. There are a lot of covers, I’ll leave you with George’s version.
By my current favorite band name, Trampled By Turtles. This is on the soundtrack of The Way, Way Back and, like every song on that soundtrack, fits the movie perfectly. Love the opening, which, if you wanna get all philosphical, is the summation of the human experience
Come into the world, alone
And you go out of the world, alone
But in between, there’s you and me
Watched The Way, Way Back because it had Steve Carell in it and I thought it was going to be a comedy. It wasn’t. Not really. Reminded me of The Station Agent, another great movie, just kinda sneaks up on you. Anyway, great song, great movie.
All I Ask of You
From Phantom of the Opera, how could I have forgotten this one? Such a phantastic love song. And then followed by the Phantom’s heartbreak. And, Phantom, ah, kicking off my love of musicals — 3rd row, close enough to feel the heat from the flashes and to see the mics just below everyone’s hairline. Paid too much. Had to eat sandwiches for two weeks because I couldn’t afford anything else – well, and still drink, one has to have priorities!
Ugly Ass Car: https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2014/05/22/hemmings-find-of-the-day-1972-chevrolet-monte-carlo-custom/
8 Track https://www.discogs.com/Johnny-Cash-Hello-Im-Johnny-Cash/release/4717644
Great selection for ‘A-day’ – My dad put an 8-track in his car as soon as they came out, and he stuffed “The Patsy Cline Story” into it. I still think of him when I hear “Crazy” – He introduced us to country music, as well as the Mills Brothers. Good times.
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Love Patsy Cline. I was shocked when I found a Springsteen cd in my mom’s car a few years ago. Also find it amazing that Willie wrote Crazy, it’s now a classic, and he’s STILL touring.
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He let everyone pick an 8-track to play in sequence. Patsy Cline was a double-length tape (which we didn’t know existed until we went on vacation to Virginia.)
Great A day! I love the man in black, and will always remember the first time I heard “A Boy Named Sue”. Cash sure did have a way with the words.. Of course, I’ve always loved George Strait as well. I thought for sure your “Alone” song would be from Heart, but you introduced me to a new-to-me group with this one.
Jingle Jangle Jungle #AtoZChallenge 1970’s Billboard Hits
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Thanks, Mary! No Heart for me, for whatever reason I’ve just never enjoyed their music.