November 17, 2005

Johnny Cash and Jamaica

As moviegoers prepare for Friday's premier of Walk the Line, the biopic about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, a lot of attention has been paid to the many locations associated with the couple. We even have a very popular article here at Lovetripper about the many US locations associated with the country music duo.

But many people don't know about Johnny Cash's long association with Jamaica. The country music star was a longtime Jamaica resident, at least for part of the year. His home was Cinnamon Hill, an historic greathouse located next door to the famous Rose Hall (right). Cinnamon Hill had been the birthplace of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's father, Edward Moulton Barrett. The Barretts later went on to own Greenwood Great House, also nearby.

Johnny--like many Jamaica visitors--seemed to have a real fascination with Rose Hall, which is reported to be haunted not only by the woman known as the "White Witch of Rose Hall" but by the lovers, husbands, and slaves she allegedly murdered in the plantation house. Cash went on to write a song called the "Ballad of Annie Palmer" in the early 70s. Tours at Rose Hall end out by Annie Palmer's grave where the guides sing the song with its haunting refrain:

Where's your husband Annie where's number two and three
Are they sleeping neath the palms beside the Caribbean Sea
At night I hear you ridin' and I hear your lovers call
And still can feel your presence round the great house at Rose Hall

Cinnamon Hill isn't open to visitors but you can golf in what was literally Johnny's front yard at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course.

If you find yourself in Jamaica, be sure to ask your taxi driver to point out Cinnamon Hill, high above the main road heading east of Montego Bay. We've traveled with more than one taxi driver who pointed out the greathouse and talked about how well liked Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were in their adopted home.

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