Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Man In Black and The Men In Blue

Candyman recently mentioned “The Johnny Cash Show” in an e-mail and after about three minutes of research I ordered the two DVD collection of the weekly variety show that aired 58 times on ABC during 1969, 1970, and 1971 and gave it to my wife for valentines day. She loves the man in black and was raised on country music so the gift was a big hit. We just got around to watching disc one over the weekend and all I can say is go out and buy it! There will be no buyer’s remorse, I promise. This set is an amazing and historically important collection of country, rock & roll, pop, blues, jazz, gospel and vintage clothing. Kris Kristopherson narrates and gives the historical background of the show and the importance of each of the guest performers. There are also comments from Johnny’s son, his make-up person Penni Lane, and others. These are not the original shows uncut but instead just some of the best musical performances. This is really a remarkable collection and here are some of the highlights from disc one:

*The first performer on the first show in June of 1969 was Bob Dylan, just three years after his motorcycle accident and only his second appearance on any stage since he crashed his Triumph two wheeler in July of 1966. (The other was the Woody Guthrie Memorial Concert in early 1968.) His solo performance of I Threw It All Away is superb if not classic, only to be topped by he and JC singing Girl From The North Country just three months after the release of Nashville Skyline. The 28 year old Dylan looks far different from the “Don’t Look Back” Bob of only a few years earlier.
*Louis Armstrong at age 68, wearing a bright blue suit, performing Blue Yodel #9 with Johnny just eight months before Satchamo would pass away.
*Stevie Wonder in an even brighter blue suit, although you can’t blame him for picking out the color, performing Heaven Help Us All.
*A relatively unknown twenty-three year old Linda Ronstadt wearing one of the shortest dresses you will ever see and causing quite an uproar with June Carter Cash since she was going “commando” under the dress, claiming “I sing better bare butted.” She was a hot little number for sure.
*George Jones in yet another Carolina blue suit.

*A young, clean-shaven Waylon Jennings. I always thought he was born with a beard.
*Tammy Wynette singing Stand By Your Man at the absolute peak of her career. There is much more emotion in the song when you watch her sing it on camera versus hearing the audio only of the Bill and Hillary anthem.

*Marty Robbins in still another open collar blue leisure suit, this time with a sweet gold shirt. El Paso is still a catchy tune even though it seems dated.
*The first TV appearance ever of James "Sweet Baby James" Taylor, back when he had hair, a lot of hair, very long hair.
*Pete Seger, who looks exactly the same today at age 88 as he did then.
*Neil Young doing a very nice but short version of The Needle and the Damage Done on extreme close up. Dude had some seriously long hair too.
*A pretty Joni Mitchell and Johnny singing The Long Black Veil.

Highly recommended for your musical DVD archives.


Candyman said...

Great review! Also featured on the dvd set are Johnny Cash performances. Some incredible performances including Hey Porter and Big River (with Carl Perkins), among others. There is also a very 'down-home' 60's style looking CCR doing Bad Moon Rising. I will wait for your excellent and insightful review on Disc 2, which I actually think is better than Disc 1 - including vintage Derek and The Dominoes, Ray Charles (unreal), Johnny and June, and the true highlight of the set for me, The Killer - Jerry Lee Lewis in a stirring performance. Johnny Cash was so gracious, honest, and humble throughout. Truly a must have dvd if you are a music fan - quality and diversity to behold.

Assman said...

You have provided me with a great service, JP. Based on your well written review, I have ordered this off eBay for 15 bucks, including shipping. Cheers.