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Here's Johnny: The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show

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Ray Charles - "Ring of Fire"
on the Johnny Cash Show, 9/23/70

One of the things the recent release of the Johnny Cash tv show on dvd reminds us is that the days of the tv variety shows and the real music shows are over. The closest thing going these days is the Henry Rollins thing on Bravo and all due respect to Henry but when you have a man with the stature of Johnny Cash running the show, it's a way different deal.

The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show reels off performances from one legend after another - a sheepish Dylan before his voice broke back, a young Neil Young with beautiful hair, and a confident and spooky Roy Orbison. Oh yeah and Derek and the Dominos, Loretta Lynn, CCR, and the man in black himself.

Shot in Nashville during 1969-71, it's interesting to see how the war and politics had made its way to country music and through the lips of Johnny Cash.

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Although there are many good, if not great, moments in the show and in this set, the one that really stood out to us was Ray Charles covering the Cash hit "Ring of Fire". Charles embraces the song on so many different layers, finally ending in a creepy whisper, in a performance that we don't see on tee vee much these days.

The fact that they shot 58 episodes gives us hope that there will be a Best Of: Volume 2 coming soon.

Roy Orbison - "Cryin"
on the Johnny Cash Show, 1969

The Best of the Johnny Cash Show
Columbia Music Video
released 9/18/07