‘I close my eyes and picture …..
…..the emerald of the sea
From the fishin’ boats at Dingle ….
……to the shores at Donaghadee!
Writtin by Johnny cash in 1959, looking out of the aeroplane window as he flew into Ireland for a his first gig here.
Forty Shades of Green
I saw Johnny perform on a number of occasions, with his band and with Willie, Chris and Waylon. But the one that sticks in my mind …(and embarasses me most ).. is one he did in the Ulster Hall in Belfast… way back!
I had got back into the pic taking and had a Russian made brick outhouse of a camera .. a Zennit TTL..with a 70 to 150 zoom..! Now anyone who knows these old cold war mass produced (every border guard had one!) lethal weapons (You could knock someone out just with a clumsy clunk on the head with these!) will understand .. they weren’t state of the art.
The ladies were going daft! Johnny was belting out ‘Five ’fut’ high an’ risin’! ‘Walk the line’! ‘Orange blossem special’!
They were all up dancing and going up to the stage to take the momento pics on the wee 16 mm and disc cameras of the time!
So ….! Egged on by the wifelet to be….! Up went I with the ‘BIG ONE’! I think Johnny must have seen the ‘big’ lens with the big ‘hammer head flash’ bolted to the side and thought …‘PRESS’!
The gentleman he always was.. pulled all the poses. into the lens, hand on hip ,coat tails back,hand held high,the man in black, moody look, ..the lot!
I clicked .. wound ….clicked …wound clicked wound and on ! Oh man .. in my heaven .. here was Johnny Cash performing for me!!!
Suddenly it dawned on me …I must have taken over 100 snaps … ! But I loaded a kodak 36?
I returned to the isle.. burning red face…I knew instantly…! The film hadn’t been wound on properly and slipped out of the slots of the spindle !
To this day I have recurring nightmares of that gig. Johnny is gone now and just for a little momento of that great person I bought an origonal copy of the sheet music ‘Forty shades of Green’.
This is a view from Killynether Wood on Scrabo Hill , Newtownards Co. Down. Looking towards Belfast on the right and Comber towards the left. Johnny was right .. 40 shades of green!