I love Johnny Cash, there is always a rough and ready feel to him, he exudes a dark side. So this DVD came as a complete surprise, a softer, kinder Johnny. It was a made for TV special and filmed in and around his family farm in Bon Aqua, Tennessee. The scenery is spectacular, with a backdrop of trees still laden with red and gold leaves it makes you just want to pack your bags and go visit!

The DVD really breaks down into two distinct segments, the first being an interesting though stage managed outdoor adventure with Johnny, his wife June, and Tony Orlando. The high spot being a very fine rendition of Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree.

The bulk of the DVD though is taken inside the family farm house, and what a spectacular setting, a truly wonderful building. Johnny hosts what he refers to as a ‘Guitar Pulling Session’. His invited guests each take turns on center stage. And it is quite the guest list.

A very young Barbara Mandrell plays a stunning Steel guitar in It’s A Beautiful Morning With You, the Carter Family perform In The Pines, Merle Travis introduces us to the Cannonball Rag, and Johnny and his brother Tommy show us That Christmas Feeling.

One aspect of the Cash family that I was previously unaware of was their friendship with Billy Graham, Billy Graham ends the special with a seasonal monologue A Story Of Christmas.

Yes it’s dated, well it is over 30 years old, but it certainly is a fun DVD. The mid to late 70’s were a pivotal period in the life of John and June, they had reached a wide and appreciative audience, yet had not broken through to the ‘superstar’ category. There is a delightful air of innocence about this entire special, an innocence that a few years later would forever change the image of Johnny Cash.

As the advertising slogan says for this DVD ‘Take some Cash Home For Christmas’ and I recommend that you do just that!

Simon Barrett


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