‘Hello, my name is Johnny Cash’, was his standard, even trademark opening to a concert. And true to form that is the first thing you hear on the fabulous DVD. Yes I did say fabulous! I thought the 1976 Christmas Special was a little over stage managed, but this one is just great! Filmed at the Nashville cathedral of country music The Grand Ole Opry, this is a tour de force.

Produced a scant two months after the death of Elvis Presley, this is in part a tribute concert to the singer. There is something for everyone in this great performance. You can always tell when I like something, I normally watch a DVD once, and then it gets relegated to the ‘done pile’. I have watched this one at least 4 times, and I might go for 5! My wife Jan is ready to kill me, but I think that secretly she also liked it. I caught her singing along with some of the tunes. In fact she is singing ‘Frosty the Snowman’ right now!

Although this was recorded 30 years ago, it is as fresh today as it was then. His guest list is to say the least, impressive, actually I think the word awesome is a better description. Of course he is joined by his wife June Carter Cash, who is always delightful to listen to.

Most people, myself included, think of Johnny Cash as ‘Burning Ring Of Fire’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, but he has so much more in his repertoire, as this DVD illustrates so eloquently.

Among the guests are  Roy Orbison performing ‘Pretty Woman’, and true to form he has those big ole sun glasses on, lets face it, Roy would not be Roy without them. Jerry Lee Lewis plays Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On, I am guessing that because this was a TV show he was somewhat restrained, he is well dressed, and on his best behavior, the piano survives, even the stool lives! The classic performer Carl Perkins also weighs in with his version of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. The Statler Brothers help Johnny in ‘Blue Christmas’, and Roy Clark joins in for a medley of Christmas classics made famous originally by Gene Autry.

This DVD goes on the ‘keep’ pile! I just love it. You can get your own copy from Shoutfactory, because I am not loaning out my copy! I will tease you though, here is a streaming video of Christmas Time’s A Comin’.

The Man In Black, has never sounded better!

Simon Barrett


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