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"As a performer, I understand it takes a picture of me with the Pope or a president to get debt cancellation onto the front pages. Otherwise it's just too obscure a melody line."

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Three Times the Cash

Newark Star-Ledger, February 08, 2000
By: Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith


Despite his battle with the ravaging neurological disorder Shy-Drager syndrome, Johnny Cash is nearing completion of what's been for him a dream project -- three anthologies of his music, centered on the themes of "Love," "God" and "Murder."

Each disc will come with an accompanying essay. And how about this? Cash had U2's Bono pen the "God" intro, and murder-minded moviemaker Quentin Tarantino provide the "Murder" piece.

Bono -- who, we're told, is putting finishing touches on a new studio album -- is one of Cash's many fervent admirers in the music world. Among his observations: "Johnny Cash doesn't sing to the damned, he sings with the damned, and sometimes, you feel he might prefer their company."

Tarantino, also a longtime Cash devotee, found time to pen "Murder" in the midst of finalizing three script deals and -- very secretively, it seems -- directing on his first feature since Jackie Brown. His essay parallels Cash's downtrodden gunmen and today's gangsta-rap music scene.

As for who wrote the "Love" essay? It was supplied by -- who better? -- Cash's wife, June Carter Cash. The music icon started work on his "Love," "God" and "Murder" collections in 1997. They're due out on Columbia Legacy in May.

  © 2000 NewarkStar-Ledger. All rights reserved.

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