People who have followed the life and music of Johnny Cash had unbelievable goosebumps when the film ‘Walk the Line’ was released in 2005. It was undeniably an excellent adaptation of Johnny Cash’s early life- his almost fairytale romance with June Carter, his catapulting to the country scene and the challenges he had to overcome to be on top and stay on it. It was indeed a work of art but one of the things that stand out the most is the fact that Johnny Cash was eerily played excellently by actor, Joaquin Phoenix.
Joaquin Phoenix performed several of Johnny Cash’s hits but what amazed everyone the most is his spot-on mimicry of Johnny Cash’s aura on stage.
Cocaine Blues, Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash
September is an excellent month to commemorate Johnny Cash’s contributions and legacy and what a better way to remember Cash but to refer to the movie who tried to depict his earlier life. One of the scenes that is particularly striking and lasting is Joaquin Phoenix’ version of Cocaine Blues.
In 1968, Johnny Cash made the song famous after performing it in Folsom Prison concert. Johnny Cash made some tweaks on the lyrics of the song such as replacing ‘San Quentin’ with ’Folsom’ and changed the ‘Cmon you hypes’ to ‘Cmon you gotta listen unto me.’ He also went as far as avoiding censoring himself upon saying ‘I can’t forget the day I shot that bad bitch down’
On this clip below, Joaquin Phoenix made an excellent portrayal of the said concert moment:
Cocaine Blues Lyrics
Early one mornin’ while makin’ the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin’ .44 beneath my head
Got up next mornin’ and I grabbed that gun
Took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I run too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez, Mexico
Late in the hot joints takin’ the pills
In walked the sheriff from Jericho Hill
He said Willy Lee your name is not Jack Brown
You’re the dirty heck that shot your woman down
Said yes, oh yes my name is Willy Lee
If you’ve got a warrant just a-read it to me
Shot her down because she made me slow
I thought I was her daddy but she had five more