Like Norman Geras, I’m a country music fan. When I lived in Israel, one of my regular stops was the sadly small C&W section at Tower Records in Tel Aviv. So I join Norman in mourning the loss of the great Johnny Cash.
What always came through in Cash’s music and life was his identification with and compassion for the underdog. His frequent performances for prison inmates– and an angry song like San Quentin— were amazing acts of empathy by a successful star. And Man In Black, recorded during the Vietnam War, is a powerful, Christian demand for social justice.
Although Cash was not a “political” singer, I believe he was– in the best sense of the word– a man of the Left.