Artist: The Handsome Family

Album: Smothered and Covered

Appears On (Mixes): Past The Barber and Gymnasium

Song Notes: The Handsome Family are a great alt-country group with a dark sense of humor. This is from their self-released compilation Smothered and Covered, a collection of covers and rarities. There were two issues of it—one in a self-burned CD in a slimline case with the art glued on, and another pressed version in a digipak. (I have the burned version.) Both are the same, content-wise, though, so that's cool. This song is probably most thought of as being Johnny Cash's; Kris Kristofferson wrote it, and there's actually a really interesting story behind it. Kristofferson worked as a Janitor at Columbia Records, and he kept trying to convince Johnny Cash to record some of his songs, in particular, this one, but he couldn't get him to hear it—Cash'd be friendly enough to him and they'd chat, but whenever he'd bring up the song, Cash would change the subject. His bosses at Columbia were getting annoyed, since he was explicitly told not to bug the performers about performing his songs, so he figured he'd give it one last shot. Since Kristofferson used to be a helicopter pilot in the military, one Saturday morning, he rented a helicopter, flew to Johnny Cash's house and landed on their lawn. He talked a bit to him, and Cash finally agreed to hear his song; it turned out he really liked it and agreed to perform it on his ABC Variety Show. The ABC Censors objected to the word "stoned" in the chorus, though, and requested he change that line. Cash sort of pushed them off, saying "sure, sure, I'll do it later", but when it aired, he kept in the word "stoned", singing it with relish, and this is probably Cash's most known version of the song. - Rev. Syung Myung Me


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