You’ve seen Walk the Line (probably) so you know the Johnny Cash story, approximately at least.
But there’s a lot more to this book than the story of his life. In fact, this isn’t so much the story as the stories of his life: vignettes, tales and anecdotes from many different periods of his life.
Some parts are funny. Some are poignant. Some give you a better background to where his music’s coming from and the artists he grew up on. There are even a couple advertisements for things he likes (like the Carter Family Fold he’s totally upfront about these endorsements).
I was most interested in the stories of music on the farm growing up–listening to the radio late at night, singing out in the fields–and also of the story of how the partnership with Rick Rubin came about. There was another interesting snippet about preparing for a mid 90s concert (with an audience of younger people) at the Fillmore.
The style is very fluid, conversational, upfront and personal. There’s a ghost writer, but it honestly feels like he must not have done much because it seems like Cash put down these words himself.
At some point I read someone say something like Cash by Johnny Cash is the best music biography or perhaps the best writing on music. I can’t find who said that or the context now, but I’m leaning toward that sentiment. It’s an engaging and entertaining read and give a good background and context to this great artist’s music.
You can buy it at Amazon.