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« So you think Christians can dance? | Main | Speaking of Wilberforce . . . »

January 30, 2007

Folsom Prison Blues Remixed

Scott Henson makes a unique comparison between Johnny Cash's prison tunes, such as "Folsom Prison Blues," and modern thug melodies, like "Cocaine Blues."

Johnny Cash never went to prison himself, but early in his career he realized that prison was a brilliant metaphor for a set of human experiences in a raw, extreme form that are universal, that all of us endure at one time or another. Commenters at YouTube compared Cash's near-glamorization of prisoners and their crimes to modern "thug life" attitudes routinely expressed by rappers. There are songs where that is justified -- for example, Cocaine Blues.

And yet, Henson points out, there is an obvious difference between Cash's lyrics and most modern rap -- sympathy for prisoners, remorse, and need for redemption.

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Very insightful post! As I was born long after Johnny Cash's prime, I wouldn't have understood anything that you were saying in this post if I had not seen Walk the Line a few months ago. It is a great movie that introduced me to Johnny Cash and, as a result of that, I am able to read and understand the comparison you are making! Once again, interesting comparision and intriguing post.


Luke, see also this great article by Steve Beard as a starting point for learning about Cash and his music:

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