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The Covers: VII – “Ring of Fire.”

April 19, 2020

The last two posts involved Dolly Parton. This and the next three after will be partially about Johnny Cash.

As with several other songs, the version I thought was an original by a famous performer turned out to be a cover.

That’s right. “Ring of Fire,” originally “(Love’s) Ring of Fire,” was written by Cash’s future wife, June Carter and her cowriter Merle Kilgore. It was recorded by June’s sister Anita in late 1962, and released in 1963.

Here is the original..

 

Wow.. so different from any other recording of this song! And it is rather good! I love how her voice goes up a few times before it fades.. Maybe this is an example of the “high lonesome sound” of old-timey and early country music.

Next is Johnny Cash’s version.. also released in 1963.. and I really can’t stand it. Why? The damn mariachi band. Some mariachi music I can sort of appreciate, but not in a Johnny Cash song!

 

You want to hear johnny’s version without the horns? Ok. Here he is, late in his career, performing part of the song live, without horns.. yeah this is better.

 

And now the version I am most familiar with.. the punk rock cover by Social Distortion, This version was released in 1990.

 

There are other covers besides these of course. I just wanted to post the two I’m most familiar with, as well as the original, which I just discovered this past week. I will be adding the original to my early country-old-timey-americana playlist on my various devices. I call that playlist “kinda folksy,” and it spans many decades.

Next post.. Johnny Cash and the mighty Soundgarden.

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