13 November 2002

Nothing To Do With Baseball...but I Can't Help It

I heard on the Imus in the Morning Show on my way to work today that some people got together and did a tribute album for Johnny Cash, one of the great Country/Western singer-songwriters of all time, which is great, you would think. But you'd be wrong. Because I also heard that some bozo named Keb-Mo covered Folsom Prison Blues on the album, but called the producer and refused to sing the lyric:

"But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die."

So producer Marty Stuart, who himself ought to be taken out and shot in Reno*, told Keb Mo that he could change it!

Excuse me?! Change one of the greatest lines in the history of recorded country music?! How exactly is that a "tribute" to the songwriter?

"Hi, Mr. Brown, James Brown? Yes, this is Joe Schmoe. No, the other one. Listen, I'm working on a tribute album for you...well, you're welcome...but I'm not sure I can sing the lyric "I Feel Good." You see, I don't want to offend people who might be kinda depressed. Wait, stop yelling. I was hoping to change it to "I Feel About as Well As Can Be Expected, Given the Circumstances." I haven't figured out how I'm gonna get it to rhyme yet but...Mr. Brown? Mr. Brown? Hello?"

He apparently changed the lyric to:

"They said I shot a man down in Reno, but that was just a lie."

Which RUINS THE ENTIRE DAMN SONG! It doesn't make any sense with that line changed! The song is about a BAD guy, who wants to get on the train he can hear from the prison, but he can't, because he's paying his debt to society. It's NOT about someone who's been framed, because if it was, the contrast supplied by the word 'but' at the beginning of the line in the original song ("...my momma told me, 'Son, / Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns./ BUT I shot a man...") wouldn't be appropriate. And the line in the next verse (I know I had it comin', I know I can't be free.) wouldn't make any sense! If you listen to Cash explaining his thinking as he wrote the song (available on the Willie Nelson/Johnny Cash VH1 Storytellers album) he says that he was trying to think of the most evil reason someone could have for killing another person. Keb Mo is an idiot.

Can somebody please remind me which of the Constitutional Ammendments tells us that Americans have the Right To Never Be Offended by Anything, Ever, Including Things They Don't Understand Because They're Morons? I must have been sick the day we covered that one in history class.

(*In the ear, with a water pistol...just kinda grazing it...but shot, nonetheless!)

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