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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 351
Wed, Jan 02, 2013

“Long Shadow”
Joe Strummer

2003

“♫ You
don’t face
your demons
down/ you
gotta grapple
’em, Jack/ and
pin ’em to the
ground
♫”

Everybody’s heard Joe Strummer’s tender duet with Johnny Cash on their cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song,” but did you know Strummer also penned “Long Shadow,” an original for Johnny to record on a volume of Rick Rubin produced American Recordings, but sadly Cash passed before he could finally immortalize Strummers song.

As I sat in an ER waiting room, I had some of Joe’s lyrics from Strummer’s “Long Shadow” kept revolving in my head, “♫ And falling back in the garden/ of days so long ago/ somewhere in the memory/ The sun shines on you, boy. ♫” Funny how music comes to reflect a moment or time in your life. Joe’s “Long Shadow” is one of my favorite C&W flavored affirmation songs. I love hearing “Shadow” when I need that extra lift after life’s intense stings get too hard to bear; you need some acoustic rock to feed your soul.

I would have loved to have seen Joe play “Long Shadow” when he was still alive. Did you know Henry Rollins was lucky enough to see one his idols Joe Strummer perform “ Long Shadow” in front of Johnny Cash as he explained when he witnessed the following conversation between Johnny and Joe:

JS: Johnny, do you remember the song that I sent you for the new album, you didn’t use it, but what did you think?
JC: Joe, (big pause) I’m sorry, I don’t remember it
JS: Well maybe if I sing it to you, then you would
JC: Joe, (big pause) sing that song.

This is the point where Rollins watches Joe have the guts to perform one of his own original songs, acoustically live in front of Johnny Cash. I would have loved to have seen the expressions on Rollins and Cash’s face after experiencing Joe’s private and very personal performance. After Joe finished playing “Long Shadow” to Johnny, Cash turns to Strummer as said, “Joe, that’s a damn fine song, I’m going to go and find that song Joe.”

I so needed a shot of “Long Shadow” today. Joe’s acoustic cut crooning affirmations saved me today. “Shadow” is one of Strummer’s rarely recognized gems that you need to rediscover today. Joe penned “Long Shadow” for Cash to immortalize on wax. Just imagine, if Johnny ever recorded this one? No redemption’s, this was Joe Strummer’s Ascension song. “Long Shadow” would have been legendary just like Joe Strummer…and Johnny Cash! Unfortunately, Johnny Cash never lived to record that song but now you can experience this touching tribute for The Man in Black. It’s time to find your reflection within the lyrical legacy of Joe Strummer and the acoustic guise of his tender & graceful “Long Shadow.”

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