The Johnny Cash TV Show Coming To DVD

(Sony) At 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night, June 7, 1969, the Tennessee Three struck the opening riff of “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “The Johnny Cash Show,” live from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, made its debut as a summer replacement variety series on the ABC television network. The prospect of yet another new tv variety series was still hot news in the late ’60s, and the novelty of it being hosted by The Man In Black – at the undisputed peak of newfound popularity in his career – made it even sweeter.

But the announcement that the ultra-camera-wary, reclusive Bob Dylan was to be Johnny’s guest on the first show (which was actually taped on May 1st) placed the premiere on an entirely different historical platform. The two songs performed live by Dylan were both from Nashville Skyline, his brand new April LP release on Columbia – the single “I Threw It All Away,” and a reprise of his duet with Cash on Bob’s vintage “Girl of the North Country,” which dated back to 1963, when they first met.

Those two performances, preceded by Johnny’s own “Ring Of Fire,” kick off THE BEST OF THE JOHNNY CASH TV SHOW, a long-overdue compilation of archived treasures from the run of 58 shows through May 1971. The collection of 66 live performances, hosted by Kris Kristofferson (whose “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” follows the Dylan clips), with voice-over by Will Lyman (of Frontline) has been gathered onto two DVDs and will arrive in stores September 18th on CMV/Columbia//Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

In addition to Kristofferson, the video includes new interviews with son John Carter Cash, Tennessee Three bassist Marshall Grant, Hank Williams Jr., musical arranger Bill Walker and hairstylist Penny Lane. Michael B Borofsky, who produced and directed the DVD, chose them because they were all first-hand witnesses to the action of the show, who could attest to Johnny’s determination to present something new and unique in the ubiquitous variety show genre.

For Borofsky (whose many video credits include Stevie Ray Vaughan: Live At Montreux 1982 & 1985, and Johnny Cash At San Quentin), the DVD project was a two-year labor-of-love. Since only a fraction of the 58 hours of shows would be included on the four hour DVD program, performances were chosen purely on the basis of musical quality and historicity. Therefore, some “forgiveness” must be given considering the age of the materials. Once the selections were made, the technical aspects of the restoration were met.

1. Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire
2. Bob Dylan – I Threw It All Away
3. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country
4. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)
5. Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash – Blue Yodel #9
6. Stevie Wonder – Heaven Help Us All
7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
8. Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash – I Will Never Marry
9. George Jones – Medley (White Lightning with Johnny Cash, She Thinks I Still Care, Love Bug, The Race Is On)
10. Johnny Cash – Hey Porter
11. Waylon Jennings – Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line
12. Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash – The Singing Star’s Queen
13. Waylon Jennings – Brown Eyed Handsome Man
14. Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man
15. Marty Robbins – Medley (Big Iron, Running Gun, El Paso)
16. Johnny Cash – Ride This Train
17. Johnny Cash – As Long As The Grass Shall Grow
18. Johnny Cash – Man In Black
19. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
20. Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash – Cripple Creek
21. Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash - Worried Man Blues
22. Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down
23. Johnny Cash – Old Time Religion
24. Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three – Daddy Sang Bass
25. Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters – Wildwood Flower
26. Neil Young – The Needle And The Damage Done
27. Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three – Tennessee Flat Top Box
28. Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash – Long Black Veil
29. Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three with Carl Perkins – Big River
30. Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line
31. June Carter Cash – A Good Man
32. Derek And The Dominos – It’s Too Late
33. Derek And The Dominos with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins – Matchbox
34. Charley Pride – Able Bodied Man
35. Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys – Blue Moon Of Kentucky
36. Loretta Lynn – I Know How
37. Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
38. Johnny Cash – Ride This Train (America The Beautiful, This Land Is Your Land)
39. The Everly Brothers with Ike Everly and Johnny and Tommy Cash – That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine
40. Ray Charles – Ring Of Fire
41. Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue
42. Conway Twitty – Hello Darlin’
43. Mother Maybelle Carter – Black Mountain Rag
44. Tony Joe White and Johnny Cash – Polk Salad Annie
45. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman
46. Neil Diamond – Cracklin’ Rosie
47. Ray Price – For The Good Times
48. Roy Orbison – Crying
49. Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash – Oh, Pretty Woman
50. Johnny Cash – Wanted Man
51. Chet Atkins and Johnny Cash – Recuerdo De La Alhambra
52. Chet Atkins – Medley (Country Gentleman, Mister Sandman, Wildwood Flower, Freight Train)
53. June Carter Cash with Homer And Jethro – Baby It’s Cold Outside
54. Merle Haggard – No Hard Time Blues
55. Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash – Sing Me Back Home
56. Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes
57. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, The Carter Family and The Statler Brothers – The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago
58. Roy Clark – Medley (In The Summertime, 12th Street Rag)
59. The Statler Brothers – Flowers On The Wall
60. Johnny Cash – Working Man Blues
61. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – Jackson
62. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – Turn Around
63. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – I Love You Because
64. Hank Williams Jr. – Medley (You Win Again, Cold Cold Heart, I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You, Half As Much)
65. Johnny Cash – A Wonderful Time Up There
66. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

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