September 12, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

This has been a bad week for FBFtP. Johnny Cash passed away earlier today at the age of 71, so how can today's entry be anyone else? Except that Warren Zevon passed away on Sunday at the age of 56. So you get two blasts today. I have a terrible feeling that I've reached the age where FBFtP will be celebrating the music of those recently deceased much more frequently than I ever could have imagined before.

Don't you want to hear Johnny say "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" one more time? Johnny Cash managed to be a rebel and an iconoclastic outsider without being an ass, unlike so many who seem to believe that being an ass is a prerequisite to being rebellious. It seems hard for some people to remember that Johnny was considered more Rock 'n' Roll than Country back in the '50s. Johnny can now drop his cares and worries and join his wife June Carter Cash, who passed away on May 15 of this year, in angelic white.

There's already been so much written about Warren this week by people that knew him much better than I ever did, so I don't think I should try to add anything to this. And, naturally, you can find a whole lot more out about Warren and Johnny over at BlogCritics.

Here's my favorite song from the man in black's beginning at Sun Records, and my favorite Warren Zevon song.

I Walk The Line (Johnny R. Cash)

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

I find it very, very easy to be true.
I find myself alone when each day is through.
Yes, I'll admit I'm a fool for you.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

As sure as night is dark and day is light,
I keep you on my mind both day and night.
And happiness I've known proves that it's right.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

You've got a way to keep me on your side.
You give me cause for love that I can't hide.
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (Warren Zevon)

Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun
With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done
The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day
So he set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray

Through sixty-six and seven they fought the Congo war
Fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in gore
For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees
They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese

Roland the Thompson gunner...

His comrades fought beside him - Van Owen and the rest
But of all the Thompson gunners Roland was the best
So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead
That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen blew off Roland's head

Roland the headless Thompson gunner (Time, time, time
For another peaceful war
Norway's bravest son But time stands still for Roland
'Til he evens up the score)
They can still see his headless body stalking through the night
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun

Roland searched the continent for the man who'd done him in
He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin
Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word
But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg

Roland the headless Thompson gunner...

The eternal Thompson gunner, still wandering through the night
Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun
And bought it

Posted by Charles Austin at September 12, 2003 09:05 PM

I Walk The Line is impossible for me to sing, or even read, today. I swear, I hope one day I find the time to appreciate Zevon like so many do.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 11:27 PM