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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm going nowhere, somebody help me there 

I love pepperoni pizza. I love chocolate. But I would not, could not, eat chocolate pepperoni pizza.

That's how I feel about this story:

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - The home of the late singer Johnny Cash has been purchased by another singer with a distinctive voice.

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and his wife, Linda, bought the house...an attorney for the Cash family said Wednesday.

The Gibbs plan to restore the rustic retreat on Old Hickory Lake where Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, lived during their entire marriage. Hendersonville is 13 miles northeast of downtown Nashville.

"This place will always be the spiritual home for the Cashes," Barry Gibb said in a statement. "My wife, Linda, and I are determined to preserve it, to honor their memory. We fell in love with it; it's an incredible honor for us. We plan to use the home to write songs because of the musical inspiration."...

The [Cashes] lived for 35 years at the 13,880-square-foot home and 4.6-acre property.

Now I don't pigeon-hole Johnny Cash into the "country" category. His music was a mixture of country, bluegrass, rock, gospel, and anything else that captured his fancy. He appealed to gray-suited gospel music fans, bandana-wearing outlaw country fans, and assorted punks and academians.

Similarly, I don't pigeon-hole Barry Gibb into the "disco" category. Except for "I Started a Joke," I can't think of any Bee Gee song released between the 60s and the 80s that I don't like, and his work for others (Streisand, Rogers, Parton) is outstanding.

Yet I still can't picture Barry Gibb and Johnny Cash on the same wavelength, even though they somewhat intersect in the country arena. And it's not that Barry Gibb or Kenny Rogers or Dolly Parton are "fake country" - Rogers' "The Gambler" is a classic in the genre, and Parton's "Jolene" shows that she has the same roots (under the wig) as June Carter.

I guess the difference lies in their approach to music. Barry Gibb is an outstanding pop songwriter and performer. There's nothing wrong with being a pop songwriter and performer - there are a lot of people in that category, including Michael Jackson (who I admired until the pedophilia got to me) and the Clash. Johnny Cash was a soul-barer, who although certainly popular, probably would have written songs even if he were locked up in Folsom Prison for life.

Gibb and Cash could never have functioned as a songwriting duo. Lennon and McCartney could do so not because of their differences but because of their similarities. Lennon could moon/spoon/june with the best of them, and McCartney, despite his silly love songs, can still draw from the depths of the loss of his mother.

Has Barry Gibb ever written about the deaths of Andy and Maurice? Pardon my ignorance if he has, but I just couldn't picture him doing it.

Could Johnny Cash ever write a happy-go-lucky pedestrian song? Even his humorous songs ("A Boy Named Sue," "One Piece at a Time") are infused with despondency.

In addition, as a geographically-oriented person, I just can't picture Barry Gibb in Hendersonville. (Of course, I couldn't picture Johnny in Jamaica either, but he spent a lot of time there.) When I think of Barry Gibb, I think of London and Miami. I don't even think of any Australian cities, much less a wealthy suburb in the middle of Andrew Jackson country.

However, it is good to know that the house is going to be owned by someone who will appreciate it, and maybe Gibb will be moved to write a heartfelt, moving song about his deceased brothers.

Let's hope the song includes a fiddle part.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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