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Johnny Cash

The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979 DVD – 2008 (Shout! Factory)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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In retrospect, Johnny Cash's 1979 Christmas special was one daring mix 'n match of talent. The scene where Cash, Anne Murray and Andy Kaufman are all talking together comes off a little like one of those The Love Boat programs, as though producers were much more concerned with racking up Hollywood star quotient, yet not caring a lick about personality compatibility. Kaufman was truly weird. But dang if he didn't do a spot-on Elvis impression, which he pulled off during this show. Anne Murray has since been all but forgotten by the country music community, but she was red hot when You Need Me was a hit, which she is caught performing. Tom T. Hall is the program's other big musical guest and he duets with Johnny on a few of his hits, and also sings a tender Christmas Is for a few enraptured kids.

In addition to this DVD's added star power, Johnny sings a few Cash favorites, including (Ghost) Riders in the Sky and Five Feet High and Rising. To give it extra family appeal, this special also features Ray Cash, Johnny's father. Thus, even with kooks like Kaufman, this Cash gathering still feels like family.