Good song covers and where they lead

Oh it's absurdly late and I will surely abuse the English language in what follows. I want to say in advance: Sorry about that.

I've kinda had a Johnny Cash theme week. On Monday I heard his version of "Solitary Man" (from his third Rick Rubin record) on my headphones walking over the bridge to work. Because the phrase "dating is a bitch" has moved from a generality to a specific truth around here lately, and because Cash's gravelly cover is fabulous, I stood there grinning toothily while I listened.

That night I picked up Walk the Line from the video store and watched it for the first time. (Wow I feel grateful that pills have never been among my problems --nor ill-thought-out early marriage). On my next afternoon off I gave a careful listen to the three hours of Johnny Cash on my harddrive. Some bits I listened to over and over and started to learn.

Tonight I decided to watch the movie again and see what I could catch a second time through. Er, lots. Like that the guy in glasses in Texarkana is Roy Orbison. And that in the first 1966 down-and-out scene, when Waylon/Shooter Jennings is sitting in a motel doorway playing guitar, it's my guitar that he is playing.

Or rather it's my guitar's long lost sister - maybe a year or two newer and with the sunburst finish - but still. My guitar. A sweet little early sixties Gibson. The one I have now was my mom's twelfth birthday present, and it's a fine thing to have for a whole lot of reasons. The second time through the movie, I didn't make it all the way through the movie before I hit pause to walk away and play the guitar.

Of course I worked on Cash's songs. I picked out a chord progression for "I Walk the Line" on my first try, then another song or two, building up a little speed before tackling Mister Neil Diamond's sad song. Here's what I came up with, after twenty minutes and a lot of counting on my fingers:

G Am G D
Don't know that I will but un- til I can find me
A girl who'll stay and won't play games behind me

D Em
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
A solitary man

Em C Em Am
Melinda was mine til the time that I found her
holding Jim
& loving him

Em C Em Am
Then Sue came along, loved me strong, that's what I thought
Me and Sue
but that died too

Next step: finding a voice to sing it in that sounds cool-as-Cash sound rather than sacchrine-as-Diamond. Hm. A couple of decades of whiskey and cigarettes would probably help, but listening to some Dietrich tomorrow might get me there faster.

i'm reminded of this miles davis quote:

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself”
Great quote, Em. I finally reached the other end of my Johnny Cash obsession. Right now on my headphones, Life's Rich Pageant just ended and something screamy and Troy-related just started (I'm guessing it's X).

word verification: taiuqqea. just feels right just after hearing "Cuyahoga."
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