Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited

Various Artists
Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited

The '60s proved to be a time of great change, and Johnny Cash was that rare country performer who didn't adhere to the general conservative tone of most country music. His 1964 album Bitter Tears, which yielded the hit single “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” featured an entire album of songs dedicated to demonstrating how Native Americans were mistreated throughout U.S. history. To celebrate the album's 50th anniversary, producer/musician Joe Henry assembled this collection of esteemed country and folk artists covering the songs from the legendary album, many of which were written by Peter LaFarge. Not surprisingly, Emmylou Harris’ version of “Apache Tears,” performed with The Milk Carton Kids, is a highlight, with Harris adding an intimacy that the stoic Cash generally repelled. The “Reprise” version by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings is performed as a solemn instrumental. Welch brings her vocals to the opening version of “As Long as the Grass Will Grow.” Kris Kristofferson tackles the hit “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” with true grit. Steve Earle relishes his role in the powerful “Custer.”

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