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Borderline Latin: Johnny Cash Canta en Español

Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

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Amidst the fireworks, beverages and grilled delicacies last night on my rooftop, I suddenly felt like listening to Johnny Cash –as it often happens. After a while, I remembered that there was a Spanish version of “Ring of Fire” — I decided to dig it up, and share it with Remezcla’s readers, so brace yourselves!

Johnny Cash’s connection with the Spanish-speaking world touches base in Germany, as his own musical career –Cash formed his first band, “The Landsberg Barbarians,” while he was stationed in Germany, serving in the Air Force. German was the first language other than English in which Johnny Cash would sing. In 1959, he recorded some of his hits in German because his music was starting to be very popular over there. During the 1960s he continued to expand his German repertoire, and fueled by this love from non-English speakers, he also recorded versions in Spanish for two of his hits: “El Matador” and “Fuego d’Amor”. These songs are only found in non-US records and compilations. “El Matador” was included in a record titled Anillo de Fuego, distributed by CBS with the legend “Johnny Cash canta en español” printed in big letters. Both songs were later featured in Rare Foreign Singles (1988) and The Man In Black: The International Johnny Cash (2002), produced in Germany and including the best of his German repertoire.

And here it is, for your listening pleasure: “Fuego d’Amor.” According to the Brazilian administrator of the YouTube channel devoted to Rockabilly that I’m linking here, “Não se sabe a origem desta versão” –the origin of this version is unknown. Enjoy.