Bob Dylan on Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”

I Walk the Line [was] a song I’d always considered to be up there at the top, one of the most mysterious and revolutionary of all time, a song that makes an attack on your most vulnerable spots, sharp words from a master …

Johnny didn’t have a piercing yell, but ten thousand years of culture fell from him. He could have been a cave dweller. He sounds like he’s at the edge of the fire, or in the deep snow, or in a ghostly forest, the coolness of conscious obvious strength, full tilt and vibrant with danger.

“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.” Indeed. I must have recited those lines to myself a million times. Johnny’s voice was so big, it made the world grow small, unusually low pitched – dark and booming, and he had the right band to match him, the rippling rhyhm and cadence of click-clack.

Words that were the rule of law and backed by the power of God. When I first heard I Walk the Line so many years earlier, it sounded like a voice calling out, “What are you doing there, boy?” I was trying to keep my eyes wide opened, too.”

—     Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume One


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This blog is a shamelessly random collection of cool things, rants and nonsense. View all posts by the anti-laugh

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