What a loving and gentle performance by Johnny Cash. His aging voice strikes me, fragile and at that day a bit hoarse, as he confessed to an understanding audience. But does it make the performance worse? Not really, people take it into account I believe and even respectfully do not over-sing or over-scream his voice. To give him room and to let him reach them once more I like to think. Wish I had been there.
What a wonderfull story told by first Helen, then Johnny Cash, who married June Carter and became the son-in-law of Mother Maybelle. The marriage may well have saved the man from your typical showman’s disasters involving drugs and sex and rock & roll.
And another nice thing to note is the aging voice of Maybelle. She was never a singer with soaring voice but with age she becomes even more careful not to stretch it too far. She stays within her modes range and plays an important harmony role. And she does take the lead in going through the song, and she is always very sure of when to start and when to end a particular part. That is often seen in those who are also strong guitar players, I believe because they have two perspectives on song, the chord progression and the melody.
See more about the Carter Family.
I find something wonderful in aging voices. Strength gets lost, volume goes down, range decreases and ease vanishes. Still, there is beauty to be found.
My parents are both aging singers and I hope one day I will be too 🙂
Here is a nice short documentary about the Carter Family, a musical family that was very important in American country music. The documentary mentions the Carter-style scratch, which I am trying to master, unsuccesfully so far 🙂
And here is a more recent live studio recording that also features Carlene, representing yet another generation of the Carter Family. And a great opportunity to hear Anita Carter sing at a more advanced age, which she did not do in public very often due among others to health considerations. I also love watching June concentrate on playing and singing so intently. In earlier years she was a real front lady but here she takes a more modest role.
The more I listen to him, the more I am a fan of Johnny Cash, the ‘King in Black’.
In his younger years he competed with Elvis for the hearts of the girls. Later he became a living legend for millions of music lovers in the world.
Now, I was surprised to hear a number of people whom I talked to about Johnny Cash say that he was not a very good singer. I think that this old video and many others clearly demonstrate his singing abilities. At age 70 of course the voice becomes less strong and less sure. That is a natural phenomenon.
Anotehr nice element in this video is the typical electric guitar work by Luther Perkins. In the country scene this sound made their music very distinctive.