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Because you're mine, I stood in line...

Johnny Cash Tribute IV @ The Troubadour, October 5, 2007.

Review by Lori Lee | Pix by Pete

T
his was the fourth in a series of annual tributes to Johnny Cash and they are getting bigger every year. Pre-sale tickets were almost sold out, and the fans were queuing outside the venue before the doors opened. I dearly wish everyone could have come into the gig, but there are size limits in the venue, so some people had to be turned away. Those who couldn't get in hung outside in the Mall, singing Johnny Cash tunes a cappella and creating their own fun. If I could have predicted such a big turnout, a larger venue would have been sought, not that cool venues with good vibes are easy to find in Brisbane, but, on the next anniversary I will move the tribute to a larger venue, so we'll all have more space to party.

The crowd was an interesting mixture of folks. Some people were fully primed, jumping around, clapping and dancing from the minute they walked in the door. Johnny Cash's new found popularity continues to surprise me. The humble country singer is not only big in rockabilly and country scenes, people from all walks of life feel a connection with the man, his life and his music. Watching the crowd at the tribute, I declare that the Man in Black has become more popular than the King.

The evening started with DJ Lori Lee spinning some early tunes from Cash's Sun era, accompanied with vintage concert footage on the big screen. Duke Wilde and The Shotgun Hillbillies were first on stage, playing their southern style country rock, influenced from the 1970s outlaw genre ie Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynrd. The crowd were rightly demanding some Johnny Cash tunes, so Duke settled them with Understand Your Man, followed by Sunday Morning Coming Down and a re-worked version of Walk The Line. Eileen duetted with Duke on Long Legged Guitar Pickin' Man and special guest baritone Charlie Bob Jr got everyone's attention with Get Rhythm.

Steve Grady from new Brisbane alt-country band, Inntown, came onstage for a guest solo performance, opening with I Still Miss Someone, followed by his own composition Wear That Dress For Me, written for and dedicated to June Carter-Cash.

Pat Capocci and his Barnyard Ramblers were up next and boy did they rock the joint. Pat hangs his hat in Sydney and has created three versions of the Barnyard Ramblers - one for each city of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The Brisbane Ramblers include Dangerous Dan on geetar, Jon Flynn on slap bass and Rupert Jenner on drums. With this pedigree of rockabilly players, you would expect top notch rockabilly and it came in spades this set. The big sound came from Pat and Dan on guitars, who share a similar musical vision and similar influences. They looked like brothers on stage. Johnny Cash tunes in the set included his first ever Sun single, Cry Cry Cry and Big River and his version of Oh Lonesome Me. Miss Teresa joined the boys with a duet with Dan on Jackson.

The night was moving fast. Next up was Andy Dashwood, who spends his day job fronting local rockabilly trio, West Texas Crude. This was the first time he has flown solo on stage and he charmed the audience from the first note. His baritone voice was right at home tonight with songs Don't Take Your Guns to Town, Ring of Fire and Ghost Riders in the Sky.

At the end of Andy's set I nearly missed my cue getting back to the dj desk and while I was rushing through the crowd, someone accidentally elbowed me smack in the mouth, stunning me for a moment as I quickly got some tunes playing and sat there waiting for the swelling to begin! With that kind of instant karma, I don't think I'll ever miss a cue again!

The Ten Fours were chomping at the bit to play and once they got on stage they let it rip with a killer set of cranked up rockabilly and rhythm'n'blues. These cats seem tighter every time they play, if they could wind it up tighter, it's already pretty dang taut. The Ten Fours are long time Johnny Cash fans and have played the last couple of tributes, so the tunes they played tonight were somewhat obscure. Tunes such as Wide Open Road, Mean Eyed Cat, Blue Train and Get Off The Junk went down well, but it was their version of Chicken by The Cramps (everyone likes a chicken song, right?) that had the crowd screaming for more. So they played more! Cool.

DJ Lori Lee brought the night to a close in the wee hours of the morning with a selection of Johnny Cash tunes from his final recordings for his passing. As his commanding and haggard voice boomed throughout the Troubadour, I reflected on the night and watched the audience as they slowly left the room. Some people on this night were expecting a Johnny Cash 'impersonator' to headline the tribute, but that was never to be the case. These tributes are held to remember the man and his music. The tributes aren't held to mimic, imitate or turn his music into crowd-safe cabaret. These shows are to commemorate and celebrate and that's exactly what we did this night.

Long live Johnny Cash.
 

Pat Capocci & His Barnyard Ramblers:



Duke Wilde & The Shotgun Hillbillies:


 

Steve Grady (from Inntown):


Andy Dashwood (from West Texas Crude):


 

The Ten Fours:


The audience:


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