Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue

"Any of the guards still speaking to me. Can I have a glass of water." Johnny

"Any of the guards still speaking to me. Can I have a glass of water." Johnny

☆ Masterpiece 

A Boy Named Sue (1969) is a poetic tale of a young man coming to terms with his name.
Bob Johnston produced the single A Boy Named Sue from the album, At San Quentin.

Starring Johnny Cash live at San Quentin.

A Boy Named Sue is one of my favorite music videos. Johnny like Sinead O'Connor's, No One Compares 2 U (1990) music video let's the lyric's simple story color and ignite the audiences imagination. The song was written by Shel Silverstein and was given to Johnny just before the concert. Cash had only read the song several times before preforming it live a few days later. In the music video you can clearly see Johnny repeatedly reading the lyrics from the clip board in from of him.

Watching Johnny perform this song live shows his masterful stage presence. Cash may not know the lyrics, but he sure knows how to interact with his captive audience. The audience is completely imagining the lyrics in their minds as vividly as if they were watching a movie. Cash uses pauses to give the audience time to reflect on the lyrics and to memorize the next couple of lines in the song.

In the clip below I love how Johnny who does not know the lyrics is sight reading as he sings and plays the guitar. When he reaches a point where the lyrics are easier to remember he lifts his head and plays and interacts with his captive audience. Johnny had great timing in this clip.

Trivia - The song was inspired by writer Shel Silverstein's close male friend Jean Shepherd who was taunted as a child for his feminine sounding name.