There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode,
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a ringin’ a bell.
You can’t copyright guitar licks and maybe that’s good, because if you could, Chuck might have hoarded them as he does his Cadillacs. Without The Chuck Berry Riff, we’d lose not just the Beach Boys, but essential elements of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, and Bruce Springsteen — to mention only the most obvious examples. In a way, what was at the center of the first wave of the British Invasion could be described as a Chuck Berry revival.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock and Soul)
“Folsom Prison Blues” is a song written and first recorded in 1955 by Johnny Cash. The song combines elements from two popular folk styles, the train song and the prison song, both of which Cash would continue to use for the rest of his career. It was one of Cash’s signature songs.
And we’ll walk down the avenue again
And we’ll sing all the songs from way back when
And we’ll walk down the avenue again and the healing has begun
And we’ll walk down the avenue in style
And we’ll walk down the avenue and we’ll smile
And we’ll say “baby, ain’t it all worthwhile?” when the healing has begun
“It starts just like ‘Cyprus Avenue’, no coincidence as the line about ‘songs from way back when’ hints, and with a walk down the avenue (of dreams), to the sound of a haunted violin. A song of full, blazing sex as well as revelation. The healing here is like that in Arthurian myth, the wounded King restored through the action of the Holy Grail, but it is also through as graphic a seduction, almost, as the original live version of “Gloria”
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)
This beauty was recorded at the Record Plant Studios in Sausalito, California in spring 1979. He has performed it live 274 times according to the brilliant website ivan.vanomatic.de.
Here are 5 lovely versions..
Live At The Oasis Centre – Putting The Boot In – Swindon – 1999:
I want you to put on your pretty summer dress
You can wear your Easter bonnet and all the rest
And I want to make love to you yes, yes, yes, when the healing has begun
Louder, when the healing has begun
All right, whoo
I wished I had you in Carrickfergus
Only for nights in Ballygrand
I would swim over the deepest ocean
The deepest ocean to be by your side
“Carrickfergus” is an Irish folk song, named after the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was first recorded, under the name “The Kerry Boatman”, by Dominic Behan on an LP called “The Irish Rover”, released in 1965.
Van Morrison has performed “Carrickfergus” 86 times live (1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2002 & 2003) – top year was 1989 with 31 performances.
I love this song, and no one does it better than Van Morrison. Here are three brilliant versions.
From the album “Irish Heartbeat” w/The Chieftains:
And the caravan is on it’s way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at Emma Rose
She’s a-playin with the radio
La, la, la, la…
Originally recorded on July 30, 1969 at Mastertone Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer. Released on “Moondance” January 27, 1970.
The gypsy life and the radio are both images of harmony, images that bless. Van is “getting back into the romanticism bit with gypsies and all that. I´m really fascinated by gypsies. I love them.” Van Morrison also based the song on real memories while living in a rural house in Woodstock, New York, where the nearest house was far down the road. He described why he included the reference to radio in the song:
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)
I’m goin’ out west where the wind blows tall
‘Cause Tony Franciosa used to date my ma
They got some money out there, they’re givin’ it away
I’m gonna do what I want and I’m gonna get paid
Do what I want and I’m gonna get paid
Bone Machine’s standout track was “Goin’ out West,” a throwback to the demonic R&B of “Heartattack and Vine” and “16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six.” Over possibly the greatest drum sound ever—Waits whacking what sounds like a metal door— Joe Gore and Larry Taylor created an infernal Cramps-ish racket that put the likes of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion utterly in the shade. Waits raged away in the guise of a wannabe actor en route to California, a deluded ex-con who claimed he looked good with his shirt off and planned to call himself Hannibal or Rex. The song was Elmore Leonard’s Be Cool distilled into three frenzied minutes, a capsule snapshot of a dumb Everglades hunk with a head full of celluloid fantasies. Waits had seen dolts like this swarming into LA for years.
-Barney Hoskyns (Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits)