HOT TALK: June Carter Cash’s Last Album, “Bad Boy” Songs

(HOT TALK is a weekly column by longtime contributing writer and former Billboard country music editor Edward Morris.)

Dualtone to Release New June Carter Cash Album
Dualtone Records will release June Carter Cash’s final album, Wildwood Flower, Sept. 9. A spokesman for the label says that Johnny Cash sings on “about half” of the selections and that other members of the Carter family also contribute guest vocals.

Naomi Judd and Ralph Stanley Tout PBS Special
Naomi Judd and Ralph Stanley will make the opening presentation June 6 at the annual PBS conference in Miami. The two performers will discuss The Appalachians, a four-hour documentary set to air this coming January. Judd, who narrates the film, will tell convention-goers stories about Appalachia, while Stanley, who appears in the documentary, will sing songs from the region. More than 3,500 PBS representatives and key members of Congress are expected to attend the event. The Appalachians was produced by Evening Star Productions.

Wanted: Songs for Bad Boys
A song-pitching friend tells me there’s a big demand among male recording artists for what he calls “bad boy songs” — you know, swaggering, no-nonsense manifestos like Toby Keith’s “Who’s Your Daddy?” and Tracy Byrd’s “The Truth About Men.” Testosterone, he says, is running unusually high. Before this trend passes, allow me to suggest a few titles that songwriters might work into something. How about “I Wanna Tie Your Hands” … “Mom, You’re a Whiner” … “Now Hit Me Back” … and, my personal favorite, “Armed and Considered Amorous.” OK, you knuckleheads, get out of here and write me a hit.

Shania Not Pairing With Reba — Yet
A spokeswoman for producers Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson assures Hot Talk that there’s no truth to the rumor that Shania Twain will record a duet when Reba McEntire returns to the studio this summer. Cannon and Wilson are co-producing McEntire’s new project and were prominent in Twain’s early career at Mercury Records.

Pinmonkey Busy
Pinmonkey has started working on its second album for BNA Records, according to a label publicist, and will be “touring like crazy all summer.”

Porter Wagoner a Hit With Bluegrass Crowd
Hot Talk raced across the great state of Tennessee and into the great state of Virginia to hear Porter Wagoner sing last Thursday (May 22) at Ralph Stanley’s annual bluegrass festival in Coeburn. Wearing shades, jeans, jacket and a ball cap, the Country Music Hall of Famer was right at home with the bluegrass folk. “I didn’t bring any of my sparkly suits,” he said. “I ain’t trying to impress nobody.” Well, he did. Accompanied by Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys band and his own guitarist, Glenda Faye, Wagoner ripped and clapped his way through such festival standards as “Bear Tracks,” “The White Dove” and “Black Mountain Rag” before rounding out his set with his Grand Ole Opry trademarks, “Satisfied Mind” and “Y’All Come.” Commenting on the serpentine mountain roads he had to drive over to get there, Wagoner observed, “I ran my battery down blowing my horn at my own taillights.”

Dan Seals Shines at Opry
The incomparable Dan Seals made a rare guest appearance on the May 17 Grand Ole Opry. He opened his too-short segment with a revisit to his 1986 CMA single of the year, “Bop,” and closed with another durable favorite, “Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold.” Between 1985 and 1990, Seals racked up an astonishing 11 No. 1’s, among them “Meet Me in Montana” (with Marie Osmond), “You Still Move Me,” “One Friend” (which had a second life as the verse on a greeting card) and “Addicted.” The absence of new Dan Seals songs on the radio is one of country music’s great losses.

Singer Marketing Album to Soap Fans
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Leigh Robbins has struck a deal with to market her album, Fire in the Rain, as part of a gift bag. Robbins’ music has been featured in several soap operas, including The Guiding Light and Passions. licenses and distributes products from most of the major daytime drama series. Robbins’ label, JackAttack Records, will manufacture the “A Night of Romance” bags, which, in addition to the album, will contain a romance novel, bath salts and a mood candle. The bags will be sold on the Web site, in selected retail stores and through home-shopping TV shows.

Ronnie McDowell Song Promoting ABC-TV’s Karen Sisco
ABC-TV is using Ronnie McDowell’s recording of “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise” to promote its upcoming drama series, Karen Sisco. McDowell included the song in his 1997 Intersound album, Elvis: A Tribute to the King. The new series is based on the character Jennifer Lopez played in the 1997 movie, Out of Sight.

ACM Overdoes a Good Thing
How did you like the Rumsfeld Follies? While everyone expected a bit of righteous flag-waving at last week’s Academy of Country Music awards, the show came awfully close to being a three-hour Army recruitment special. From Wayne Newton’s self-congratulatory nod to the troops, through a series of embarrassingly flat jokes about the Dixie Chicks, to the parading of former prisoners of war onto the stage like show animals, to the flag-emblazoned performances of Lonestar and Darryl Worley, the evening was a paean to all things military.

There’s nothing wrong with praising the bravery of our soldiers. Indeed, we should. But there’s a line — and the ACMs crossed it — at which gratitude takes on the smell of exploitation, of seeking stature by mere association. It happened with the New York firefighters and cops who performed so valiantly when the World Trade Center was destroyed. Before you knew it, they were being jetted around the country from one civic function to another to be swarmed over and photographed — and, dare I say it? — to allow the rest of us to feel virtuous by our applause. So here’s to the brave — and to having the civility not to use them for our own publicity.

I love the way the wind ruffles your hair, but I need much, much more if we’re going to have a real relationship. Write me at

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to