Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Johnny Cash DVDs

Leon casino,

It's a coin toss, one side heads, the other tails when I watched two Johnny Cash Christmas Special DVDs. Released by Shout Factory in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame these two discs - Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976 & 1977 - would be an excellent watch at any holiday party.The kitch element abounds through the 1976 special but not really during the 1977 special, wihich includes an all-star tribute to Elvis as sung by Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. The 1976 show will probably be watched once, while the 1976 show stands up to repeat viewings.If you're a fan of the recent biopic Walk the Line, several incidents in that movie (stationed in Europe while in the service, cutting his first recoding at Sun Records) are first given treatment here.The 1976 Christmas Special starts off with Tony Orlando, and a version of Tie A Yellow Ribbon will make you cringe. Actually there's a lot to said for the fact that musicians have control in the studio but none in front of the camera. Johnny and June and even Tony Orlando look askance through this one. Here when they have to perform under deadlines the magic is gone. The rest of the show includes guest appearance by Billy Graham and Roy Clark. Fortunately a Barbara Mandrell guitar solo takes you by surprise and makes the whole thing palatable.The 1976 show was shot in Johnny's homes in Bon Aqua and Hendersonville Tennessee. By contrast the 1977 special is stage bound, but abounds in energy. Throughout the entire proceedings Cash is the man - his presence has a sincerity that you never doubt. An added plus has Cash and June performing Darling Companion, one of the best songs in their repertoire.


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