Johnny Cash: The Chicken in Black (1984)

 |   |  <1 min read

Johnny Cash: The Chicken in Black (1984)

Fortunately for Johnny Cash he didn't die around the time he hit rock bottom in the mid Eighties. If he'd gone then -- before his career resurrection through the American Recordings and the Walk the Line film -- he might not have been remembered as the man-mountain solid rock of country, the troubled man of faith or the middle-finger rabble-rousing guy of that famous photo.

Imagine if The Chicken in Black had been his last recorded outing. We would think of Cash as the Man in Black who ended up addled and singing novelty songs.

This one - among the last before his label Columbia finally let his contract lapse after 28 years -- finds him at a nadir, and although in hindsight we might charitably say he was at least poking fun at himself there really isn't much else to redeem it.

From the Man in Black to the Manhattan Flash and a video clip with a Cash-singing chicken is a long way to fall. As the song said, you had the sense that his body had outlived his brain.

I couldn't find a recording of the song, but the clip says it all anyway. Too much perhaps.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Sonny Boy Williamson: Your Funeral and My Trial (1958)

Sonny Boy Williamson: Your Funeral and My Trial (1958)

By the time he went to Britain in the early Sixties and toured (and recorded) with the Yardbirds and the Animals, the career of Sonny Boy Williamson II was still at something of a peak, unlike many... > Read more

Harry Partch: And on the Seventh Day, Petals Fell in Petaluma (excerpt, date unknown, possibly Sixties)

Harry Partch: And on the Seventh Day, Petals Fell in Petaluma (excerpt, date unknown, possibly Sixties)

When Tom Waits swerved left from his barroom piano ballads and into using new or found sounds on his clank'n'grind albums in the mid Eighties, he was hailed as an innovator . . . but conspiciously... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guangzhou, China: The sour sound of respect

Guangzhou, China: The sour sound of respect

When you travel to foreign parts it is good to be respectful of local customs, and usually they are common courtesies or pretty obvious: you don't wear shorts or a halter-top to St Peters -- or in... > Read more

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID on the streets of weirdly normal Athens

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JULIAN REID on the streets of weirdly normal Athens

Julian Reid is a musician, graphic designer and photographer who has lived in London for over 10 years. This week he went to Athens on business. He reports that "it is a weird... > Read more