Johnny Cash and June Carter – It Ain’t Me Babe

Johnny and June


Casey and I are going to try to institute some daily themes to help give this blog a bit more structure. One of these is Throwback Thursday where we take you back in music history to some of the familiar songs and artists our parents (or grandparents) loved and maybe we’ll pull out some gems from the past that are less familiar though equally enjoyable (or at the very least influential).

As I was thinking about who to cover for our inaugural Throwback Thursday, I happened to stumble across an old Johnny and June record at work and I honestly couldn’t have thought of any duo more fitting than these two. Johnny Cash is easily one of the most recognizable names in country music and his distinctive voice and classic style harkened back to the roots of old country (or as I call it “good country”) even when much of the new country was going pop.

June Carter’s forebears were old country. The Carter Family was the first family of country music and, along with musicians like Jimmie Rodgers, helped define country as a genre in the 1920’s and 30’s different from earlier hillbilly or Old-Time music (and yes, there was a time when a genre of music called “hillbilly music” was the hip thing to listen to). Although never as musically successful as the original Carter’s, having been steeped in old country and folk from infancy, she became the perfect counterpart to Johnny.

The song I picked was actually written and released by Bob Dylan in 1964, but Johnny Cash liked it so much that he and June covered it just a year later and released it on the album Orange Blossom Special. Personally, I think their version is far superior to Dylan’s. I understand that the lyrics are a little odd considering all I just said about Johnny and June’s chemistry, but keep it mind it was written by the angsty Dylan about an old girlfriend.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” by Johnny Cash and June Carter

Go away from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door

But it ain’t me babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’ll only let you down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’ll promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes to you
Someone to close his heart
Someone to die for you and more

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
To pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
And to come each time you call
And will love you for your life
And nothin’ more

As always, let us know what you thing of this music or any comments in general. 

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