I Walk the Line: Don Meets Johnny Cash

So I’m 17 and doing a Saturday night show on the local radio station, “playing rock and roll for the kids.” One of the regulars on the station was a guy who went by the name of Dunnigan, and who along with his wife, would sing live country songs and also play the current country hit records. One day I was visiting and he did a live promo of a show with Johnny Cash that he was bringing to town. Johnny Cash wow, he had pop hit called “I walk the line,” and I expressed interest in attending. It was one of my first backstage experiences and I was warmly greeted by the artists: Merle Travis, Rose Maddox and others, who treated me like the star struck boy I was.

But one thing was bothering me, the last opening act was on and no Johnny Cash, I pointed this out to Rose and she told one of their people to go out to the truck and wake up J.R. Turns out the big star had a pickup with a camper on the bed and was crashed in the truck.

Just before the current act was finishing in comes the man in black, disheveled and combing his hair with his fingers. I introduced myself as he put his guitar case on a piano and took out his guitar, and noticed a broken string sticking straight up. I pointed this out to Mr. Cash and he said, “Oh hell that don’t matter.” Johnny strapped on his axe and strolled onto the stage just as the band started to play, took the mic and said, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” He killed.

A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

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