The Man in Black Debuts
Courtesy of Sun Records
In addition to the Rock n’ Roll revolution starting in the mid-50s, a small rockabilly revolution came along. Spear-heading the country side of the rockabilly sound was Johnny Cash. 1957 was a great year for music and was the year that Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar was released, sending “the man in black” to stardom. Although Cash’s first three singles charted in 1955, they still appear on the 1957 album.
The album starts off with the initial slow playing of a spoken-word Cash in the fast-paced Rock Island Line. The late Hank Williams played a huge influence on Cash, illustrated by Cash’s version of the slow, “(I Head that) Lonesome Whistle.” Cash’s strong, yet subtlety sweet voice, paints the picture of lonesomeness with a man on the run from authorities, leaving his home and “his gal” behind. This crime drama is followed by “Country Boy”, an acoustic track of the soothing sound. “If the Good Lord’s Willing”is a sweet love song laced with a quicker pace.
Originally released two years before, the hit, “Cry! Cry! Cry!” went to #14 in the Country charts. The next track, “Remember Me (I’m the One Who Loves You)”is a slow-paced love song. Hitting the Country charts at #4, “So Doggone Lonesome” is a foot-tapping song to sing along to. Johnny Cash knows when Jesus saved him in “I Was There When It Happened.”Satan couldn’t make him doubt it either, all the way into American hearts with this lively track. One of Cash’s most well-known songs is the upbeat “I Walk the Line.” This voice-fluctuating song walked its way up the charts ending at #17 in the US and #1 in the Country charts.
“The Wreck of Old ’97” is a fast paced song coated with rhythm and leads on the guitar sections. Another one of Cash’s most famous songs is “Folsom Prison Blues.” Peaking at #32 in the US and #1 in the Country charts, this song danced its upbeat, yet gloomy tone right into the world’s ears. The final track, “Doin’ My Time” concludes the album with another song about prison. He sings of missing his gal through the prison walls.
With themes of westerns, prison and love, Johnny Cash’s first attempt at an album was a success. Many people found the upbeat factor in Cash’s music, despite his somewhat gloomy lyrics. I, for one ,love this album. I wasn’t too into country, nor Johnny Cash before I stumbled upon this album. Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar is a must-have for a country (or music) fan.