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A Burning Room of Fire

The 3rd Annual Tribute to Johnny Cash...The Troubadour...September 16, 2006.

Words by Lori Lee...Pix by Pete (and Alex)

The Johnny Cash Tribute for 2006 fell on the same weekend as the Valley Fiesta, which attracted an estimated 70,000 punters to the designated entertainment district over a three-day period. The outdoor stage for the Valley Fiesta was positioned just outside the entry to the Troubadour and maneuvering through the masses to get to the Johnny Cash Tribute was a challenge in itself. Also the same night was the easily avoidable Countdown tour, as well as a three-day blues festival up the north coast, featuring many of our local and fav blues acts. The other events didnít thin our crowd at the Troubadour though, as expected, the room hit capacity early in the evening.

One of my fav parts of working as DJ Lori Lee is being able to play a real mixed bag of Johnny Cash recordings and play them really, really loud! From his stark Sun recordings of the 1950s through to his final albums in the 1990s, the distinctive voice of Johnny Cash boomed around the Troubadour at a volume you just canít achieve on your home stereo. Add some life-size video footage of Johnny projected onto the stage and you could fully immerse yourself in a roomful of Cash.

When the bands plugged in, the audience was fully primed for some live Cash tunes and Corn Liquor gave it to them in spades. Normally with these tribute nights, the bands play a selection of Johnny Cash tunes amongst their own songs, but tonight, Corn Liquor went above and beyond the call of duty and played an entire set of Johnny Cash numbers. They opened up with Donít Take Your Guns to Town, then Folsom Prison Blues, then I Got Stripes, Hey Porter, and the Cash tunes kept on coming - Cocaine Blues, Ring of Fire, Jackson, plus a surprise rap version of Boy Named Sue. The crowd lapped it up. Corn Liquor put on a top show and made the night peak early. 

West Texas Crude opened up with a crankin' version of Ring of Fire that had the floor in the upstairs club bouncing to the boppers. Keeping up the pace, they shifted lanes to Mr Johnny Burnette with Train Kept A Rolling and Lonesome Train mashed together into one long rocker. The highlight of the Crudeís show was their version of Ghost Riders in the Sky, an old Cash cover from the early days of the Crude, dusted off for a new audience tonight that resulted in the crowd doe-se-doeing and twirling their cowboy hats above their heads in the sheer joy of it all.

Gosh, where do you go from here, but go west - to the country!  Tonightís show was the second only gig for The Duke Wilde Band. You would remember Duke Wilde from The Flaminí Locos and heís recently been playing with The Bobcats. Joining Duke in his new outfit is Paulie from The Chrome Daddies on double bass and Mal on drums. It became obvious that Duke's true love is rockiní country music and he plays it very well. Duke Wilde delighted those left standing with a choice of songs from not only Johnny Cash, but also Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, Dale Watson and the daddy of them all, Mr Hank Williams. The night closed in style when his wife Kelly D joined the Duke on stage for a rendition of Jackson which had the room stomping and singing along.

By the end of the evening (or should I say, early morning) we raised our glasses for a final toast to the Man in Black and then left the Troubadour totally exhausted, but very satisfied.


Corn Liquor:


West Texas Crude:




The Duke Wilde Band:




DJ Lori Lee, the audience and guests:








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Read the review of the 2005 tribute < here >