Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unlucky #13

I told you Glenn Danzig would be back! And here he is... sort of. While today's song is sung by The Man in Black, a.k.a. Johnny Cash, it was written specifically for him by Glenn Danzig (reportedly in only 20 minutes). The song appeared on Cash's 1993 album American Recordings, which introduced Cash to a whole new generation of listeners and won him a Grammy to boot. The album was produced by Rick Rubin, who was mostly known for his work with rap and heavy metal musicians, and released on Rubin's American label. 

Cash and Rubin would go on to collaborate on four more albums throughout the 90s and up until Cash's death in 2003. All of these albums featured Cash returning to the stripped-down sound of his earlier career and highlighted both original songs and covers. Many of the covers were songs by writers much younger and less famous than Cash, which showed that he was not only still adventurous with his music, but also cognizant and appreciative of its current innovators.

In true Cash style, the song "Thirteen" is a dark lament about a man born to a life of trouble. Does anyone embody both the dark and light sides of life more fully than Johnny Cash? Maybe it's because he doesn't just embody them, he embraces them, and acknowledges that one cannot exist without the other. He's our country music yin yang, and in this particular incarnation, he has a bad luck wind blowin' at his back:

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