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Sabroso Shot #6 - Johnny Cash Has Been Everywhere (Man)

You'll need headphones for this one!

I love which exists for one reason and one reason alone.

Today’s website is the epitome of that idea. JohnnyCashHasBeenEverwhere.com is a Google Maps interface which tracks all the locations mentioned by Cash in his song ‘I’ve been everywhere’.

(It's so simple, I feel like even that explanation might even be overcomplicating it.)

The song itself is a bit of a joy as well. It’s perhaps the second greatest piece of writing which only rhymes words with cities:

Kansas City

Souix City

Cedar City

Dodge City

What a pity

Incidentally, the title of ‘greatest city rhyming piece’ belongs to John Cooper Clarke for ‘Burnley’:

I'll tell you now and I'll tell you firmly.

I don't never want to go to Burnley

What they do there don't concern me.

Why would anybody make the journey?

If you’re still reading, perhaps you’ll permit me to take advantage of a captive audience to recommend some more Johnny Cash (though I'm by no means a scholar of his work).

If you’ve seen his life story retold in Walk the Line, you’ll be familiar with his ‘steady as a train’ country style, acerbic wit and compassion for people who have been imprisoned.

Those things are all good, but I prefer the albums he released much later in his career. By his own admission, he was a complicated and contradictory man, and his later work shows that level of self-reflection a lot more clearly.

American IV: The Man Comes Around was written and recorded in the final year of Cash's life. His health (and the health of his beloved wife, June Carter) was badly failing.

The album features a lot of covers which seem to take on an entirely new meaning when they’re sung by a man ravaged by a neurodegenerative disease, with lungs damaged by pneumonia, reflecting on a life lived with huge emotional conflict.

Most salient perhaps is his cover of The Beatles’ In My Life.

I don't mean all that to sound bleak. I think the album is truly beautiful, and of the greatest ever made.

This may be the only time I get to tangentially recommend music in the Sabroso shot, so I hope you'll forgive it. Maybe one day I'll get to tell you why I think Ta Dah is the best Scissor Sisters album, but we'll have to wait and see.

In any case, a music-review-free service will resume tomorrow.

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