One way or another, he was always in it.

In a ring of fire that burned him from the inside.

The fire of faith that accompanied him from childhood.

The fire of desperate disbelief. 

He knew how to observe the boundaries of the ring of fire, although to an outside observer such a saying might seem wild.

“God is the final judge for Elvis Presley.

And for Johnny Cash too.

We are completely in the hands of God, ”he once said.

And very sincerely.

And then he added: "My arms are too short to box with the Lord ..."

He is Johnny Cash.

Man in black.

Furious fighter for prisoners' rights.

Country era symbol and icon.

Not the worst life guide for those who go astray.

A worthy person in the middle of a not quite worthy world. 

The most ordinary man.

All his life, overcoming himself and making his way up his throat in troubled water ...

Should I watch the James Mangold movie Walk the Line about Cash's life?

Perhaps worth it.

At least for the first ten minutes.

America so rarely "likes" to show this - cotton, bent backs.

It does not fit well with the image of a "land of opportunity / blessed land." 

He was born on February 26, 1932.

In a family of the poorest Scottish farmers, who "grabbed" 20 acres of land in northeast Arkansas for growing cotton, Roosevelt's agricultural program is to save those who have no hope left. 

Little JR, as his parents called him, worked in the field from the age of five.

Sometimes in the heat over forty.

For a long time.

Together with his father, mother and older brother Jack.

Jack dreamed of becoming a preacher.

But at fourteen, trouble happened to him - he died from wounds received at the sawmill.

Jack was working.

Probably in unthinkable conditions.

Watch the first ten minutes of the movie ... 

In a sense, Jack became a preacher - he accompanied Johnny Cash all his life, albeit invisibly, balancing light and shadow in him.

They were very friendly.

The sadder is the story of their long separation ...

And childhood in the south, and military service (in Germany, just like Elvis), and the first album recorded on Sun Records by Sam Phillips - all this kind of brings Cash closer to the kings of rock and roll.

As if. 

He was always on his own.

Although they toured with Elvis and Lewis together.

At first.

But Johnny had already returned from the army by that time.

He got married and had his first daughter. 

Life cut and leveled him much earlier than the rest of Phillips' chicks.

But he never boasted of it.

He lived as he lived.

He made hits, gave concerts.

It sounded like it was modern, but it seemed to be archaic. 

He himself looked like a preacher, a hermit with an unkind face, bearing a heavy cross and having on his conscience, if not a murder, then at least some other grave sin.

We will never know the whole truth about him (as well as about ourselves, by the way) - there was or was not in reality that terrible conversation with his father, who shouted: "God took the wrong son from me! .." We will never know, though Cash and gave his personal go-ahead for the Walk the Line script, for the selection of actors ... 

He always, all his life, said the same thing about his father: “He loved me to death.

Never beat, it seems, and never said a bad word.

He always worked - we had to be fed.

He always worked and lived with love for us. "

And the love of music and singing, as well as faith in God, little Jay-Aru was instilled by his mother.

Mother who always understands everything ... 

After watching the film again - just yesterday - I wondered: what will my two sons, who are now eleven, say about me?

What will be remembered and what will be forgotten? 

Johnny Cash.

I can't say that I listen to it all the time. 

For me, it is like Holy Scripture for a believer in his soul, in a temple, perhaps not often, but who generally reveres the commandments. 

And what are these commandments?

Best of all, I know one thing - get up and walk, rising from any dirt, from the most terrible stench caused by life or by yourself.

Get up and go, for it's not up to you to decide which day is the last.

All the days of the Heavenly Father are numbered.

And for everyone. 

Cash got up and walked all his life.

From the incredible bottom, breaking through to the light.

Drugs, alcohol, fights, forest fires (there were such things).

Many were sick with the same.

Ray Charles admitted that a third of his life had been devoured by drug fumes.

But no one, no one like Cash, made this inner ascent to the light with such a gloomy, detached determination, and no one better than him could tell about it to those who are even lower, already sentenced, perhaps to death, perhaps to something that will never be released.

He sang in prisons not for the sake of ratings (he personally spoke at hearings in the US Congress on the rights of prisoners), by the way, his record company Columbia Records with all its hands and feet rested against the idea of ​​the At Folsom Prison album.

And it was he, this album, that really shot - on January 13, 1968, together with his group and future wife June Carter Cash, despite everything, entered the impromptu stage of Folsom prison.

"Performing in prison was probably the only logical way out for a man who was imprisoned by his own demons," Rolling Stone later wrote. 

The album was released in May.

America at the time was going through shock and internal division after the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968.

Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June.  

Everything that the seers of the fifties wrote about in science fiction novels came true with alarming speed in front of those who "just wanted to plow their land."

The world was sliding into an abyss, flower children were called upon everywhere to lay down their arms and surrender in Vietnam, protests against racial segregation and violence turned into retaliatory violence and vandalism. 

What was the man in black to do?

So much like a preacher with a dark past.

Just sing. 

Lacking the charisma and royal brilliance of Elvis, the wild temperament and unbridledness of Lewis, the lyricism and poetics of Orbison, Cash, very clearly recognizing himself in the reflection of time, simply sang.

And people believed him.

And they followed him.

So he helped, doing his job day after day, to many, very many. 

His second love, truly the great country star June Carter, of course, saved him from narcotic delirium and fog, but so did he.

Having lived together in a house on the lake for thirty-five years, raising both common and their children, touring and recording albums of the same ancient and archaic country, they told the world and everyone living: "You can still just plow your land." 

I don't know if I could tell you anything about Johnny Cash.

In any case, I have said that there is life outside the stock exchange reports, political scandals and the general madness of an "excellently developed civilization".

And not the most cheerful and life-affirming, but a very real Man and Man helped me in this - Johnny Cash. 

Ring of Fire, Cash's biggest hit (written by June Carter), is now one of the top 500 hits of all time.

In him, as in a mirror, his whole life.

The life of Jack's older brother.

June Carter.


A simple "country" love song.

But what is Love?

What is it like? .. 

In the last years of his life, Johnny Cash recorded several solo albums with the same name - American (they came out just under numbers - 1/2/3 ...).

Look at the envelopes.


Visit your personal temple.

When-never, but we will have to talk to God, so isn't it better to prepare for this conversation at least a little in advance? ..

I am quite deliberately not writing a word about the compositions of the six American albums - it is better to hear them as something new and clean in the midst of the chaos of meaningless white noise of show business.

A lot has been said about these final (the last two were released after Cash's death) albums: “Biblical truths and revelations”, “The voice of a man of deep and unshakable faith”, “Worthy of the finals”, “Life-affirming masterpiece” ... 

Let each of us have our own personal judgment. 

And here's another thing - Cash repeated many times that the black color of his clothes: “This is compassion and a tribute of respect to everyone who is hungry, destitute and homeless, in prison or captivity, betrayed by time, killed by drugs, forced to fight, old, helpless ... " 

May there be compassion in our hearts for our neighbors.

May there be a place in our hearts for the simple truths of Johnny Cash's Man and Man.

Love is a burning thing

And it makes a fiery ring

Bound by wild desire

I fell into a ring of fire

I fell into a burning ring of fire

I went down, down, down

And the flames went higher

And it burns, burns, burns

The ring of fire ..

The ring of fire ...

The author's point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.