December 26, 2010

Bitter Tears, Ballads of the American Indian - Johnny Cash (1967)

Bitter Tears tackles the experience of the Native American Indian and is, by a nose, the best of Cash's Americana albums of the 60s - collections themed on railroad expansion, the American landscape, outlaws, and the archetypal American working Joe. No crass exercise this. A set of strong, affecting songs and ballads mostly written by Peter LaFarge alongside a couple of Cash originals. Surely, among the first popular art to explore the Indian point of view and while somewhat romanticised compared with more contemporary renderings such as Cormac McCarthy's awe-inspiring Blood Meridian, these songs contain undeniable truth.

As the liner notes tell:
"Listen well to these words. They are the thoughts and feelings of a people who deem Custer's Last Stand not a massacre but an Indian victory over a foe who had broken a promise...Johnny Cash sings well these tales of the Indian's woe. His facility for perception and insight lends validity to these tales of anguish. Johnny is justified in the stand he takes. Johnny cash is proud of his Cherokee blood."

Oddi wrth y brawd


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