First things first: sorry it’s been a bit quiet round these parts this week. I had some broadband issues last week (by which I mean, I had no broadband last weekend) which meant I wasn’t able to write the usual splurge of posts to last a week that I normally do on a Friday night.
It also meant that, as I’m working from home at the moment, I wasn’t able to do that either. And rather than take the time I was off-grid as unpaid or annual leave, it was agreed I could just make up the time, which is what I’ve been doing for the rest of the week.
Anyway, normality restored (I haven’t made up all the time yet, but there are fewer hours for me to claw back), I wanted to start off with a specific apology to my old mate, Martin.
Regular readers may recall that, having left Wales over ten years ago now, I reconnected with Martin at Llŷr’s memorial service (Note: NOT a wake) last year, and I’ve mentioned before how happy I was that that had happened.
It’s a funny thing, as without really thinking about it, I think he and I viewed each other in much the same way: as Llŷr’s mate. But we’ve both come to realise since Llŷr passed that we have an awful lot in common, to the point where I regret that we didn’t spend more time in each others’ company before geography became an issue.
See, I think Martin and I are cut from the same cloth (and thinking about it, that’s probably why Llŷr was friends with both of us): we share a sense of humour; we both support (different) football teams who are constant only in their delivery of disappointment; we like (mostly) the same records and now happily swap recommendations; we both like a drink (generally my Friday night writing is…interrupted isn’t the right word…enhanced by a message from Martin in the wee small hours, as under the influence as me, leading to a text conversation about the merits of anything from Withnail & I to the use of the slide guitar in country records).
So while my broadband was playing funny buggers last weekend, I got a message from Martin, with a link to a song which he described as “a guilty pleasure”. This one:
Now. Regular readers will know just how much the phrase “guilty pleasure” grinds my gears, and so my response was, on reflection, a tad on the brusque, dismissive side:
“Nowt wrong with that. Johnny Cash covered it!”
(Over at Charity Chic’s place he used to do a series which discussed the various Cash covers. I imagine this one came up, but I’ll leave you to go and investigate.)
Here’s The Man in Black’s version, from (of course) the American Recordings series, specifically Volume 5 A Hundred Highways:
If I were to be really pushed, I’d probably plump for Cash’s version, but that is probably down to the context of the recording, the scratchy vocal, like he felt compelled to get the songs featured in the American Recordings series out while he still had time, the breath and the capability to do so.
But it’s a really close call.
Anyway, Martin: sorry if my response seemed a little curt. It certainly wasn’t meant to be.
As an aside, there’s something about If I Could Read Your Mind which always reminds me of this next song. I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on it, but I think that somewhere there must be a snatchette of melody which corresponds between the two: