Jack White is kind of like what it would be like to know DaVinci. He flies in every direction at once. It's almost like decades before he began pressing records in Downtown Detroit, the city was pressing it's unique personality into him. He loves baseball, his two 'man' band struggled through the 90's to emerge as something completely different from the grunge flavor of rock at that time, he and bandmate Meg were brother and sister, then they weren't siblings but instead a divorced couple, he shacked up in Nashville for a spell with a supermodel and Loretta Lynn, he saved the Masonic Temple and created, of all things, a record pressing plant in the city. He's the picture in the dictionary next to the word ENIGMA. And he also recognizes the powerful energy of The Man In Black.
Johnny Cash in his early career, was my Dad's favorite artist. Since at that time I was allergic to Country Music (still am but recognize Johnny Cash's brilliance), I balked at the galloping rhythm of his famous 'Folsom Prison Blues' and eye-rolled the living hell out of 'Boy Named Sue'. But came around to how cool Johnny could be watching Joaquin Phoenix play him in 'I Walk The Line'. However, it wasn't til I was watching the credits roll in a movie when a Man In Black out of body experience hit me. He was using that broken, ragged sounding voice to sing... A NINE INCH NAILS tune. The word 'Hurt' didn't mean anything until I heard Johnny sing it. Not to mention the head fake he threw me in '96 when he covered Soundgarden's 'Rusty Cage'.
As Homer would say, "You take a long time to say nothing!" And he'd be right about this rambling diatribe, but it has an ending and I'm getting there and am tying it all together. Jack White's genius is to find an unreleased concert of Johnny's from 1973. 'A Night To Remember' feting Cash with assists from other Columbia Records artists like Bruce Springsteen. Look forward to that on Jack's Third Man Record Label to be released July 31st. And to put a point on this jumble of thoughts, I regret that I never realized in the 70's when everyone else in the world AND my Dad understood what Johnny Cash was all about, how cool he is. It took Jack White to finally show me.