I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

 

Something for the weekend.  The incomparable Johnny Cash singing the hymn I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Christmas Bells on which the hymn is based  in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, and this knowledge makes the lyrics even more poignant:

 I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

Published in: on December 18, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day  
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Ragged Old Flag

Something for the weekend.  Ragged Old Flag (1974) sung by the incomparable Johnny Cash, a good song for two days before Flag Day.  Bonus :

Here Comes the Freedom Train (1976) sung by the great Merle Haggard.

Published in: on June 12, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Ragged Old Flag  
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Ring of Fire

 

Something for the weekend.  Ring of Fire (1963) by Johnny Cash.  Cash had a hard life, almost all of his own making, in many ways and it came through clearly in his songs.

An imaginative, much lighter, rendition by Anne Reburn:

Published in: on March 20, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Ring of Fire  
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Folsom Prison Blues

Something for the weekend.  Folsom Prison Blues (1953) by the incomparable Johnny Cash, since Illinois is a lockdown state now due to the virus hysteria.  Cash was inspired to write the song after seeing the movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951) which he was serving in the Air Force in West Germany.

Published in: on March 21, 2020 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Folsom Prison Blues  
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Johnny Yuma Was a Rebel

 

Something for the weekend.  Johnny Cash singing The Rebel, the theme song of Johnny Yuma, a Western television series, 1959-1961 and followed the exploits of Johnny Yuma, well played by the doomed Nick Adams, a young Confederate veteran in the postwar American southwest.  This was one of a number of Civil War themed television shows as the nation observed the centennial of the War Between the States.  The show received high ratings and deserved them, being a cut above the horde of Westerns that were a staple of television at that time.  It was cancelled due to rising concerns of violence on TV by the usual suspects.

Here is one of the best of the episodes:

 

Published in: on February 29, 2020 at 3:45 am  Comments Off on Johnny Yuma Was a Rebel  
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Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving

A reminder from the late, great Johnny Cash that we all have so much to thank God for when we sit down with our families tomorrow. Perhaps we should also recall these words from Theodore Roosevelt in his final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1908:

For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfil its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.

Published in: on November 27, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving  
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Flag Day, Red Skelton, Sir Walter Scott, Johnny Cash and Mom

I can think of few things more appropriate for Flag Day than Red Skelton’s immortal explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  When my sainted mother became a naturalized American citizen, she was given a little American flag.  I have a treasured photo of my Mom and Dad just after the naturalization ceremony, both happy, and my Mom clutching the flag of a land that she loved long before she became a citizen.  I still have the flag, one of my most precious mementoes of my Mom.

A flag of course is only physically a piece of fabric, sometimes described disparagingly by cynics as a rag on a stick.   Sir Walter Scott described such people well long ago: (more…)

Published in: on June 14, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Flag Day, Red Skelton, Sir Walter Scott, Johnny Cash and Mom  
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Johnny Cash at Ford’s Theater

Something for the weekend.  The immortal Johnny Cash singing a medley of We Are Coming Father Abraham, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Dixie at Ford’s Theater in 1979. (more…)

Published in: on September 7, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Johnny Cash at Ford’s Theater  
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Flag Day: Johnny Cash and Red Skelton

“Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

June 14, 1777-Marine Committee, Second Continental Congress (more…)

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 6:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Give Me That Old Time Religion

Something for the weekend.  Give Me That Old Time Religion.  This sequence from Sergeant York (1941) demonstrates the power of this traditional hymn first published in 1873.  It was originally a hymn sung by Black congregations, and was introduced to White congregations in 1891 by Charles Davis Tillman.  It began the convergence of Black gospel singing with White gospel singing to form Southern Gospel singing. (more…)