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The "Bitter Tears" of Johnny Cash

Friday, May 06, 2011

In 1963, Johnny Cash released one of the biggest hits of his career with the trumpeting, propulsive “Ring of Fire.” But he followed up with a most obscure and controversial effort: the 1964 folk-protest album called “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.” Writer/filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio - whose book, “A Heartbeat and a Guitar,” tells the story of the release - joins us for a fresh look at a forgotten classic.

Antonino D'Ambrosio will discuss "A Heartbeat and a Guitar" at 92Y Tribeca on Wednesday, May 11th, with performances by members of Sway Machinery and Antibalas. More information here.


Antonino D’Ambrosio

Comments [8]

IAM2 from Texas

The claim has been confirmed because one of his GGG*grandfather's wife was 1/2 Cherokee (same one as in my ancestors). But more than that, many of the people in the South with Native American ancestry married others of Native American ancestry so the old and non-genetic way of figuring 1/2, 1/4, etc. kind of falls apart since that is not the way genes are inherited. Not known if they were shunned by "all white" neighbors or if they just were attracted to others with similar genetic background.

Jul. 02 2012 01:02 PM
Redboy Schildt from schurz, NV.

John Cash is a great country legend, period. Leave it at that. People everywhere claim native blood. You're all welcome. The only one who can judge is the creator.

May. 09 2011 09:35 AM
LInda Griggs from les

I just heard Antonino D’Ambrosio say Johnny Cash greatly exaggerated his Indian ancestry while on drugs.


I think I have to guy this book.

May. 06 2011 02:32 PM
John from Manhattan

Great, great show!

May. 06 2011 02:31 PM
sabrina from nyc

Is it my imagination or do the backup singers sound like Leonard Cohen's backup singers?

May. 06 2011 02:24 PM
Linda Griggs from lower east side

Wasn't Johnny Cash quite proud of his own Native American ancestry?

(although I think he said Cash was a corruption of Cassius, the name of the ship captain (Irish?) that gave the family it's name.)

May. 06 2011 02:21 PM
a g from n j

how timely and prescient,given the unfortunate appropriation of geronimo,yet again.

May. 06 2011 02:15 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Not to sound like a snob, but anyone who doesn't know about what I call Johnny's "Cowboys & Indians" records isn't a Johnny Cash fan, only a tourist.

May. 06 2011 02:12 PM

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