The Johnny Cash Estate shares a video on what it was like for Cash and the band to play with the Bill Walker Orchestra.
“I think the boys were worried that I was going to try to take away the sound,” said Bill Walker, arranger and musical director of The Bill Walker Orchestra. “I never tried in any way to take away the sound because that was Johnny Cash,” he said.
Can Johnny Cash Play With An Orchestra?
But the collaboration wasn’t initially the smoothest of mash-ups.
“It was The Tennessee Three playing with Bill Walker’s Orchestra,” said Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash’s bass player. “And that was very very difficult because all of those people were reading music. And we didn’t read music. We read numbers but not music.”
Nevertheless, Walker managed to harmoniously bring the two musical groups together, according to Grant. “So it was a little difficult but Bill Walker did a phenomenal job of bringing us and the orchestra together,” said Grant.
Cash worked with The Bill Walker Orchestra to perform songs including “Folsom Prison Blues.” Always looking for new ways to interpret his songs, this wasn’t the only time Cash collaborated with another artist. Cash also teamed up with stars including Joe Strummer of The Clash for, “Redemption Song.” He also collaborated with U2 on the song, “The Wanderer.” Additionally, Cash worked with Elvis Presley, Tom Petty, and, of course, June Carter Cash.