Johnny Cash: Christmas Special 1979 DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Johnny Cash: Christmas Special 1979 DVD Review

The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979 DVD ReviewThe good folks at Shout! Factory have partnered with the County Music Hall of Fame to release Johnny Cash's Christmas Special from 1979.

I was just reading an Op-Ed piece in the current issue of AdAge that described the current state of TV programming as "[r]eality TV and 'dumbed down' writing". It also doesn't seem like there has been a good Christmas show/special made in years. Cash's Christmas Specials are a warm, well-produced series of songs, biographical narrative and comedy sketches. Johnny has an obvious rapport with both his guests and the audience which makes for enjoyable watching.

For the 1979 Christmas Special, Cash and his family return to Nashville. There isn't a lot of excess dialogue on this program and, aside for Andy Kaufman's comedy sketches, the focus is on the music. Johnny sings a number of classic country and Christmas songs, both solo, with June Carter Cash and with his guests. The musical guests this year were Anne Murray and Tom T. Hall (not knowing who he is, I had to look up his bio...Tom T. Hall is an established country balladeer/singer who has also written songs for Johnny Cash, George Jones, Waylon Jennings and many others).

The show starts off with a brief comedy sketch by Andy Kaufman. Andy stays in his Latka character for most of the show but he does do a killer Elvis impression ("That's When Your Heartaches Begin") that is well received by the Nashville crowd.

Here is the complete list of performances:

Opening - Andy Kaufman Comedy Sketch
(Ghost) Riders In The Sky - Johnny Cash
Five Feet High And Rising - Johnny Cash (includes family recollections from Ray and Roy Cash)
You Needed Me - Anne Murray
That Christmasy Feeling - Johnny Cash & Anne Murray
The Ballad Of The Harp Weaver - Johnny Cash
That's Why You Have To Be You - Tom T. Hall
Johnny Cash/Tom T. Hall Medley:
Country Is/Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine/The Year That Clayton Delaney Died/I Love/Country Is
If I Were A Carpenter - Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
That's When Your Heartaches Begin - Andy Kaufman
Christmas Is - Tom T. Hall
Back Up And Push - June Carter Cash
Christmas Wishes - Anne Murray
Let There Be Peace On Earth - Johnny Cash

Click on the DVD cover to go over to Shout! Factory's online store.

Johnny Cash's Website