Odd cheer for classic country lyric


According to Wikipedia, Country is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time, and American folk music forms including Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, and the cowboy Western music styles of New Mexico, Red Dirt, Tejano, and Texas country. Growing up, it was referred to as Country and Western, but the western has been dropped over the years.

From Homer and Jethro’s, I’ve Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back In Bed While I Cried Over You to Roger Miller’s You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, country performers have often displayed their sense of humour.

Along with songs of heartbreak often caused by women who done him wrong, there’s no shortage of quirky country songs. From Homer and Jethro’s, I’ve Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back In Bed While I Cried Over You to Roger Miller’s You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, country performers have often displayed their sense of humour.

But I have always found one very disconcerting reaction to a country song. On January 13, 1968, legendary Country singer Johnny Cash performed at California’s Folsom Prison. The concert was recorded and released as Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison; the setlist included, appropriately, the iconic Folsom Prison Blues, which would become a Country classic over time.

More bizarre than the words is the fact that some folks looked upon this heinous act with apparent glee

During the performance of Folsom Prison Blues, at about the 45-second point, Cash sings the lyric – But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die – there is a distinct cheer that goes up from the crowd. That’s a pretty cold-hearted piece of writing, yet to some in attendance, it was right up their alley. It’s bad enough that the words of the song tell us that one person fatally shot another, doing so not in self-defense, or even anger, but rather out of sheer enjoyment. More bizarre than the words is the fact that some folks looked upon this heinous act with apparent glee. I can’t claim to think like a murderer, however, try as I may, I can’t quite grasp the notion of cheering that lyric. Think I’ll stick with King of the Road!

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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