More The Merrier
|This appeared in The Sault Star - September 19, 2008|
Tommy Cash doesnt mind company when he steps into a recording studio.
He has recorded duets with older brother Johnny ("Guess Things Happen That Way"), Jeannie C. Riley ("We Got Love," "Winners") and George Jones ("Hank & George, Lefty & Me," "Thoughts on the Flag").
Cash, 68, kept that collaborative spirit alive when he recorded his recently release disc, Shades of Black.
For the biggest hit of his career, "Six White Horses," Cash recruited Marty Stuart, a former son-in-law, and member of the Man in Blacks backing band.
When Cash sent Stuart a rough mix of Shades of Black and asked him to choose a track to join him on, the younger singer opted for his tribute to John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
Marty has always loved the song, said Cash in a recent telephone interview from his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Hes got some great guitar licks that he added on the session. He sings very, very well with me on that song.
"Six White Horses," which was a Top 20 chart hit when it was released in 1970, has been revisited by Cash before. He updated the lament later that decade on his New Spirit album.
Cash tried updating the song several years ago, but wasnt impressed with his efforts.
I sat down one day and rewrote some of the verses and it just didnt work, he said.
Im not going to say what words I used, but I just tried to write some extra spice into the song and it didnt work. As a songwriter I realized that, so kill that idea. I cant take a song thats a classic and make it better by changing the words. I made it better by having another artist who has quite a following to come in and sing with me. It came off really good.
The latest version of "Six White Horses" has a different feel thanks to Stuarts input. It just sounds a little different than the original, said Cash. Its got more funk to it. His guitar playing is more todays sound than we had on the original record.
When Cash came upon "Some Kind of a Woman," a song he wrote 35 years ago, he decided Jones would be a good fit on the uptempo tracks choruses. Jones was impressed with what he heard. He said, This song is a hit. Ill be glad to come and sing on it with you.
Cash hopes having Stuart and Jones on board with Shades of Black will stir public interest and, just maybe, get played on radio.
Anytime you can get a major artist to come in and sing a duet with you, it has a better chance of airplay and it has a much better chance too for fans to look and say, Oh, George Jones is singing with Tommy. Oh, Marty Stuart is singing with him. It should increase the enthusiasm about the album.
Shades of Black also features several takes on brother Johnnys biggest hits, including "Get Rhythm" and "Ring of Fire."
Cash is particularly pleased with his version of "Ragged Old Flag." The spoken word song, about patriotism and the Watergate political scandal, was featured on a 1974 album of the same name.
Its good or better than anything else on this album, he said. Its really hooked. Im really proud of it.
Cash performs his tribute show to his brother at Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre Saturday night. Its his fourth appearance in Sault Ste. Marie since 2004. Local band The Comedics will back up Cash. His band, The Tom Cats, will meet him for a matinee in Richmond, Ont., Sunday.
I think its great, an opportunity of a lifetime said Comedics singer Dr. Gene Turgeon. The band is really, really excited about doing it.
Bandmate Dr. Lou Battel has practised for months with two harmonicas to perform Johnny Cashs hit "Orange Blossom Special." If he doesnt want to do that then Ill sing the lead, said Turgeon. Weve got to get Lou up there with his two harmonicas. Thats a showstopper.
The song isnt included in Tommy Cashs setlist. But when told about Battels efforts, the singer laughed softly. I didnt know he was doing that, said Cash. I can perform it, yes. We can do that.
The Comedics will also unveil several new country songs, including "I Liked Johnnys Records," "The Goulais River Stomp" and "P-I-G."
By Brian Kelly
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