Johnny Cash: The Life
A man in black is what Johnny Cash truly was; not just in his signature dress also in his life, love and all the messy bits in between. Now, seasoned music critic and writer Robert Hilburn brings "Johnny Cash: The Life" to life. A perfect biography as winter starts to sit down on your lap incessantly. And as the book says "People don’t just listen to Johnny Cash--they believe in him."
Hilburn, who has been doing what he does for 30 years, manages to bring Cash to your fingers. He lets Cash bleed out of your hands, feet and mouth as he beats day lights out of you with everything that the singer escorts, believes and preaches. The resurrection happens with ease as Hilburn writes passionately and respectfully in this shy of 700-page biography of the great man. What Hilburn also does perfectly is present enough of Cash for you to love, hate and love him over and over again.
And more interestingly what Hilburn does differently in this biography, as there are many, of Johnny Cash is he produces eager-to-know details to the well known facts, and myths, about the man and his "empire of dirt." There is enough to chew on about his drug addiction and of course his relationship with bombshell, and also singer, June Carter as well as his music life of course.
What rings true in this biography by Hilburn is that the research on the singer must have uncovered a real obsession with redemption. Cash, who behaved badly and sometimes even worse, evidently wanted to "make good" what had happened throughout his life and actually just wanted to be a good guy - an ordinary good guy that loves and gives of himself. And as he always said so very simply and earnestly, "Hello I’m Johnny Cash."
But it really feels as if Johnny Cash comes alive again, 10 years after his death and brings his "Personal Jesus" with him. A celebration of a man greater than any other country or rock musician to ever open his big bad mouth - just couldn’t be beaten down by anyone.
"I wear the black for the poor and beaten down..." and somehow Mr. Cash beat himself down. But will always be the man in black - the shiniest star in the music industry.
"Johnny Cash: The Life"
Little Brown and Company
by Robert Hilburn