We seek to create and foster this type of community directly and through various socially based technologies. As this documentary points out, Cash paid a price for the project. The music, new and old, is the soundtrack. D’ambrosio is no stranger to the material, as he’s not only executive producer of Look Again to the Wind, but also the author of the 2009 book, A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears. The album focuses on the problems the Native Americans had to deal with. [7], The documentary is We're Still Here: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited. Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar! Cash believed that his ancestry included Cherokee, which partly inspired his work on this recording. Filmmaker Antonio D’ambrosio (Let Fury Have the Hour) has crafted an informative and impactful documentary about Bitter Tears, framed around the recording of the 2014 tribute album, Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited. He was overwhelmingly defeated, in part due to his own errors, by Lakota warriors at Little Big Horn. In 2014 a tribute album, Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, was released with contributions by Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Emmylou Harris, Bill Miller, and others.This was also the name of a documentary film about the suppression of Cash's … Where Cash 's previous Americana albums had previously concentrated on cowboys and Western pioneers, Bitter Tears is all about Native Americans and their trials and tribulations. But this required effort. The story behind Johnny Cash's lost Native American-themed concept album and his unique collaboration with folk artist Peter Lafarge. We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches lives. Most are interviewed. ZekeFilm is a non-profit organization devoted to cultivating community through cinema through critical discussion, educational activities, and by encouraging mindful viewing, ongoing curiosity of the cinematic form, dialogue, and entertainment. Perfect 100% in Accountablility and Transparency. The true power of the doc lies in the resonant tragedy of the wanton desecration of the Indian way of life. Cash and Seeger also discussed Peter La Farge and their mutual admiration for him as a songwriter, and his ability to grapple with social issues in his music. 2 and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes", reaching No. D'Ambrosio acted as executive producer, and also made a documentary film about, the re-recording of the songs by various artists, who were chosen for their personal interest in the album. [2], "Facing censorship and an angry backlash from radio stations, DJs and fans for speaking out on behalf of Native people, Cash decided to fight back. The Bitter Tears of Johnny Cash As singer Johnny Cash built ties with the American Indian movement, the record industry lashed out — and the FBI began to surveil him as a radical. The Man, His World, His Music, Kindred Spirits: A Tribute to the Songs of Johnny Cash, Dressed in Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, Walk the Line: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bitter_Tears:_Ballads_of_the_American_Indian&oldid=965656211, Short description is different from Wikidata, Album articles lacking alt text for covers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Digitally Mastered by: Vic Anesini, Sony Music Studios, NY (CD Reissue), "The Talking Leaves" (Nancy Blake w/Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings), "Apache Tears (Reprise)" (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings), "As Long as the Grass Shall Grow (Reprise)" (Nancy Blake, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings), This page was last edited on 2 July 2020, at 16:43. Cash credited La Farge with inspiring the entire album, which included four other songs besides "The Ballad of Ira Hayes." Two deal with 20th-century issues affecting the Seneca and Pima peoples. Following the success of “Ring of Fire”, Cash opted to take on over two-hundred years of grotesque injustice committed by the white race against the American Indians. Warmly photographed in Cash’s own cozy recording studio, the cover performances by the esteemed likes of Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Gillian Welsh and Dave Rawlings, The Milk Carton Kids, Rhiannon Giddens, and quite notably, Native American musician Bill Miller, among others. Pepper’s, Pet Sounds, Tommy, or Days of Future Passed, there was Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian – an arguably more laser-focused project than any of those, and indisputably weightier in its subject matter. A Caucasian man (though he believed himself to have some degree of Cherokee blood) with an inch-deep callous exterior but an empathetic streak deeper and wider than most any, Cash went forward at what could arguably have been the peak of his fame with a concept album devoted to (yes) the plight of the Native American peoples. He is a life-long St. Louisian living with his wife and four children. This was also the name of a documentary film about the suppression of Cash's Native American-themed album in the 1960s. The release of this fifty-three minute documentary presumably brings his multimedia exploration of Cash’s album to a close, a worthy extended effort to be sure. One thing is for certain- it means that there are bigger problems in all of this than my own need to find a replacement word for “plight”. This one focuses on the history of Native Americans in the United States and their problems. [5], In 2010, the Western Writers of America chose "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[6]. One suspects that Cash might not be thrilled about the degree to which he’s made to be the martyr in this story, particularly as it’s all spring-boarding from the terrible treatment of the Indians- something that continued even in his time. In 2011, after Antonino D'Ambrosio published A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, there was renewed interest in the album. He later learned that his ancestry was limited to the British Isles: English, Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish. November 9, 2009 Meaning, before there was Sgt. The album was included on the Bear Family Records box set Come Along and Ride This Train in 1984. If you believe your film would be an excellent fit for PBS Hawai‘i Presents, please submit your film for consideration. Believing that he had some Cherokee ancestry, Cash was inspired by Native American activism and issues in the 1960s, a time of social upheaval in the United States. It merely proves the new album’s producer correct when he claims that there’s a certain timelessness in the La Farge/Cash songs, just waiting for a contemporary revival. In addition to those songs, La Farge's song "Custer" mocks the popular veneration of General George Custer. Filmmaker Antonio D’ambrosio (Let Fury Have the Hour) has crafted an informative and impactful documentary about Bitter Tears, framed around the recording of the 2014 tribute album, Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited. In 1964, the notion of “the concept album” had yet to take on the lofty assumptions that landmark rock album brought to the form only a few years later. 15Zine Popular Posts Widget: To use the "View Count" option You need to install Jetpack plugin and enable the "Stats" module. Become a sustaining supporter of PBS Hawai‘i with a monthly gift, or support your favorite programs with a one-time gift. Bitter Tears is the twentieth album that has been released by Johnny Cash. He left the question unanswered. After becoming an instant celebrity because of the iconic photo of this event, Hayes struggled with life in the postwar years. He is Director of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, and works as video editor and Art Director for professional film and video productions. Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian is a 1964 concept album, the twentieth album released by singer Johnny Cash on Columbia Records. This song was covered by Johnny Cash on his 1964 album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, reaching Number 2 on the Billboard country music chart. [8] It first aired on PBS on February 1, 2016, and was scheduled to re-air in November 2016. "The Ballad of Ira Hayes", tells about Ira Hayes, a young Marine of Pima descent, who participated in the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. He encountered resistance to this work. It was considered controversial and rejected by some radio stations and fans. In 2014 a tribute album, Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, was released with contributions by Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Emmylou Harris, Bill Miller, and others. Bitter Tears and one single were successful, the album rising to No. Yet, what does it say about us if that phrase can become that legitimately overused? PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS harnesses our Islands’ storytelling traditions with multimedia platforms for independent filmmakers, offering thoughtful, fair and diverse perspectives reflecting the history and cultures of the region. Antonio D’ambrosioBill MillerEmmylou HarrisGillian Welshhistorical documentaryJohnny Cashmusic documentaryNative AmericansRhiannon GiddensSteve EarleWe're Still Here: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited. Again and again, it’s mentioned how Cash’s career took a blow as a result of the direct, outspoken nature of Bitter Tears. The film also chronicles the reimagining of Cash's highly controversial 1964 record on its 50th anniversary, as recorded at Nashville's historic Sound Emporium Studios. Jim has been reviewing films since 2003 for outlets such as ScreenAnarchy (formerly TwitchFilm, both as Featured Critic), ImagineDat, and KTRS 550 AM. By 1965, La Farge was also becoming known as an artist and painter. According to later accounts, by stressing the Native American theme, Cash had entered contemporary controversial social issues and upheaval of the period. Among the eight incendiary tracks are the Peter La Farge songs, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”, “Custer”, and “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow”. All of the above musicians are extensively featured singing their haunting new versions of the original songs. Much to the filmmaker’s credit, the film stands well alone, as opposed to playing as an extended promo for Cash or, more to the point, the new album that’s shown in progress. Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West, Carryin' On with Johnny Cash & June Carter, America: A 200-Year Salute in Story and Song, Johnny Cash Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, All Aboard the Blue Train with Johnny Cash, 16 Biggest Hits: Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words, Johnny Cash! “Custer” by Peter La Farge is a Native American take on what happened at Little Big Horn. [3], Cash began a campaign to support the Ira Hayes song, buying and sending out more than 1,000 copies to radio stations across America. He also co-hosted the long-running comedy podcast, The Wonder Show. There’s tragedy in that fact alone. D’ambrosio’s film, in under an hour, tells these many stories well; simply, yet strikingly. PBS Hawai‘i is a top-rated 4 out of 4 star non-profit. The disc extras are inconsequential, but the film, in all its dignity, sells itself. As a writer, I find it difficult to avoid using the word “plight” when describing the historic and even current situations of Native Americans. D’ambrosio fortunately understands this, letting Cash more or less argue his own case in the corporate disregard for Bitter Tears in the form of excerpts from an angry letter he publicly put forth to the music industry (read by Steve Earle). Cash rerecorded "As Long as the Grass Shall Grow" decades after the release of the Bitter Tears album.