The highlight of this CD is possibly not the Man In Black himself but a tune that later featured in Quentin Tarantino’s best film.
This CD (it was originally part of a DVD) was recorded in 1971 for Danish television, which explains the self-censoring line “son of a bleep” at the end of Boy Named Sue.
As it was television, Cash wheels out various guests and the song that we enjoyed most — and the crowd clapped the loudest to — was Flowers On The Wall, a big hit for The Statler Brothers (written by their group’s tenor Lew DeWitt), later to star in Pulp Fiction.
The show was recorded while Cash was at his peak, on top form live and with a wave of hit singles that had topped the country charts, a Grammy (with wife and duet partner June Carter Cash for Tim Hardin’s If I Was A Carpenter) and his own telly show.
But: this was live television and presumably had to fit in an hour, so it’s all smooth professional as Cash and his band, The Tennessee Three, bang out his hits, including I Walk The Line, Man In Black and Fulsome Prison. There are duets with June Carter Cash, and appearances from Mother Maybelle Carter and Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes, Matchbox), plus the previously mentioned Statler Brothers. Cash covers some tunes () and closes with some gospel (Rock of Ages, Children, Go Where I Send Thee).
There’s a bit of chat, too, though at one point he says to June: “I thought you were going to speak a little Swedish for them”, despite having earlier spoken some Danish.
Obviously these are great songs and they’re played well, but the fact that he’s on telly means it’s all very slick.