Johnny Cash: Christmas Special 1978 DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Johnny Cash: Christmas Special 1978 DVD Review

Johnny Cash: Christmas Special 1978 DVD ReviewFor his 1978 Christmas Special, Johnny Cash moved the taping of the show to Los Angeles. It may have been the Hollywood influence but the show feels a bit more staged than it did in previous years or the year that followed.

Johnny plays a more eclectic mix of material on this show than he did in previous years. He opens the show with "Christmas Can't Be Far Away" and the other songs include "Ballad of a Teenage Queen", the brilliant "Sunday Morning Coming Down", "Fourth Man In the Fire", the forgettable "I Will Rock and Roll With You", "You're A Part of Me" and "The Greatest Cowboy of Them All".

It is the special guests and the canned dialogue that make this disc not as strong as it possibly could be. I had considered myself a big Steve Martin fan but his "Wild and Crazy Guy" sctick just doesn't seem to have aged well. I also found musical guest Rita Coolidge a bit too "adult contemporary" for my taste. What is really missing though is Johnny's warmth and personality don't come through as clearly as it does on previous shows. Johnny's all-star tribute to Elvis Presley (1977) is simply classic and his performance of "Five Foot High and Rising" (1979) is moving. Johnny just seems to be out of his natural element on the 1978 Special.

Johnny Cash fans are going to want to own all four volumes but the casual fan may be better served starting with one of the other years.

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