Johnny Cash: The Life - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Kevin T. Hale, VP/General Manager FOX 11 News

Johnny Cash: The Life

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From Kevin T. Hale, VP/General Manager FOX 11 News From Kevin T. Hale, VP/General Manager FOX 11 News

The other morning I sat down for a chat with author/journalist Robert Hilburn, who has just written a new book on Johnny Cash called, Johnny Cash: The Life. Robert was a guest that morning on Good Day LA.

Hilburn told me some fascinating stories about Johnny, learned while interviewing people for his book. We had a great time talking.

Robert told me that he had spent quite a lot of time over the years with Johnny and in fact, was the only journalist invited to Folsom Prison for Johnny's groundbreaking concert and live album, which took place back in 1968.

We had a wonderful conversation discovering we knew a lot of the same people.

For instance, Robert had interviewed both Harold and Don Reid extensively while he was writing his book. Harold and Don were the founding members of the great country vocal group, The Statler Brothers. Early in their career the Statler Brothers had toured with Johnny Cash.  I had worked very closely with Harold and Don while at TNN in Nashville when we produced and ran their weekly series "The Statler Brothers Show."

Robert had also interviewed Marshall Grant who was another friend of mine from Nashville. Marshall was a founding member of Johnny Cash's backing band The Tennessee Three.

I think I could have spent most of the day sharing stories with Robert about people we knew in common but unfortunately we both had other duties which we needed to attend to.

I left Robert with one last story told to me by singer songwriter Jack Wesley Routh.

Quite a few years ago Routh had been married to Carlene Carter. Carlene was a step-daughter of Johnny Cash's.  That marriage between Carlene and Jack didn't work out and Jack next married another of Johnny's daughter's, Cindy Cash. Unfortunately, that marriage also later ended in divorce. Waylon Jennings used to tour with a group called The Outlaws and Jack Wesley Routh would occasionally open for them. Waylon would introduce Jack on stage by saying something like, "with all those daughters that Johnny Cash had he only had two bad son-in-laws, and here he is……….

Pick up a copy of Robert's book on Johnny Cash, I think you'll find it a very engaging portrait of "The Man In Black."

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