Monday, 19 January 2009

Johnny Cash>San Quentin

I recently finished reading Johnny Cash's autobiography. It was good read - gave some insight into what drove the man. Most interestingly he talks frankly about his faith and his failings - clearly evidenced in his music. On the one hand you have the whole 'man in black' thing, his drug addictions and the singing of songs about murder, death and pain. Then suddenly you have what sounds like a sermon and he breaks into a gospel song. You get the feeling that Cash is a man of extremes and probably does everything with a fair amount of gusto!

The live prison albums - Folsam and San Quentin are brilliant examples of his work. The setlists demonstrate the many sides to his character. My favourite track off these albums has to be the song he wrote for the prisoners at San Quentin. This song shows his rebel spirit and the reaction of the prisoners is amazing. Check it out below and thank God for a man with fire his belly and in his heart. We could do with someone to fill his shoes...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Kate Rusby>The Miner's Dream of Home

Happy New Year! A resolution and a track to talk about. First the track. Kate Rusby is a youngish British folk singer who has provided the soundtrack to our Christmas. On recommendation from my friend Pete I bought my wife a copy of Rusby's new album - Sweet Bells - a collection of Yorkshire carols. I love all the songs but particularly for New Year I suggest you try and get hold of 'The Miner's Dream of Home'. The song tells the story of a young man's dream of returning home on New Year's Eve after ten years away. As the family are reunited the bells are ringing in the new year - the past is gone, 'sin is banished' and the new year offers new possibilities. Rusby is great - check out the video below.

And so what are my dreams at the beginning of a new year? Well, I have made a resolution. It all goes back to my summer holiday when I sat with my five year old daughter at an outdoor swimming pool in France. We were just drying off after a swim when she pointed at a man in the pool and whispered into my ear - 'Daddy, that man's muscles are much bigger than yours!' I tried to brush it off - 'no they're not, he's just a bit fatter' I replied. 'No', she insisted, 'look how massive his muscles are - he must be much stronger than you.' Later that evening I discovered the very same man pitching his tent two down from mine - and as I suspected every time he appeared from then on, I had to hear how much stronger than me he must be. So this year is the year of the muscle! I'm very, very skinny so I've got a long way to go - but let me assure you of this - the next time I hear Kate Rusby singing that song (I packed the CD away in the attic with all the Christmas things) I'm going to be fitter, stronger and a match for anyone!